It’s the latest trendy address in town. Bao8, located just opposite the station, Seng Zhan’s new restaurant breaks all the codes of this bustling neighbourhood. Except when it comes to mixing genres.
Bao8 is the former Bei der Gare. In other words, apart from the location, nothing has survived of the old café. The challenge for Seng Zhan, who grew up in Luxembourg but had been a restaurateur in Arlon for several years, was to return ‘home’ and open a ‘fusion’ place.
“I’ve travelled a lot and in all the countries I’ve visited, there’s always an Asian-European fusion restaurant in the big cities. Here in Luxembourg, there isn’t really anything like it,” says the young entrepreneur. And yet we’re used to fusion cuisine in the Grand Duchy. Here you’ll find an Asian boss, a Colombian chef, a barman from Grenoble… in short, a very Luxembourgish team!
Enter a hushed, confidential atmosphere. And yet, on the plates, the emphasis is on conviviality, with dishes to share and even platters that will make your jaw drop. “A bit like Asian tapas”, compares Seng Zhan.
The king Bao
The speciality here? Bao, of course. This white, soft and fluffy Asian steamed bun can be filled with chicken, pork, beef or vegetables. It’s impossible to visit Bao8 without sampling one of these creamy treasures. The chef, Ricky Guzman, who as his name suggests is Colombian, also relies on his signature beef tataki, which we tasted: the quality of the meat does not lie. You probably won’t want to share it…
Quality above all
In fact, part of the menu is reserved for “selfish eaters”. It’s probably a good idea not to miss a crumb of these very European dishes revisited with a yuzu and shiitake sauce: Salad no Caesar, Bao chicken burger, Miso marinated salmon, etc. all of which are quality controlled: “I’m banking on the product. And we offer a fairly limited menu to ensure a certain level of quality. If there’s no salmon left, that’s the way it is. We prefer to do less but to do it better”, explains the owner.
Food and cocktail pairings
When it comes to drinks, this new spot is going to be a real head-turner: while the manager, Margaux Mérel, is well known to regular Paname cocktail lovers, behind the bar, Alexis Kuhlich and Bruno Costa have been gracing the counters of the Grand Duchy with their mixology creations. Here, their challenge will be to offer food and cocktail pairings “because a cocktail can be the perfect accompaniment to this cuisine”, stresses Alexis Kuhlich, from Grenoble.
For vine-lovers, at Bao8 you can even taste a Château Changyu Moser XV… a dry, fruity Chinese white wine with delicate notes of litchee. A must-try for the curious!
And while Rue Junck might not be to some people’s liking, Seng Zhen is adamant: “We’re working with the local business-owners community to make the place as pleasant as possible. In the evening, there will be a doorman in the restaurant, so that everyone feels at ease”, says Seng Zhen, who sees the station district as “the heart of Luxembourg, where everything comes together”.
Open from 11.30 am to 11 pm (kitchens open until 9.30 pm) Tuesday to Saturday.
8, rue Joseph Junck, Luxembourg
More information: www.bao8.lu
Photos: © KACHEN/Marc Dostert