Ottimmo Bao Bao is a Japanese influenced cafe located in Uxbridge, London. I am an absolute sucker for Japanese food. I view Japanese food as a carefully crafted art as there is often a lot of care and love that is put into Japanese food. But it is always extremely pricey – especially in London! So when I discovered this cutesy, adorable and decently priced cafe I was over the moon.
With most Japanese restaurants, they generally specialise in food such as; bento boxes, donburi, sashimi and sushi. However, strangely there is none of that here! This cafe specialises in light, fluffy and glorious buns with the occasional noodle and soup dishes. Therefore it has more of a Japanese fusion type of theme as opposed to serving authentic Japanese food. But even finding somewhere with a Japanese twist was enlightening for me!
This place also serve buns in such a versatile way, there are even dessert bao buns on the menu! Curiosity sure did kill the cat as I initially thought, “How can the same type of buns be used for desert?!”. So, it is time to check out these buns and see how they match up (pun intended).
Ottimmo Bao Bao Cafe Environment & Atmosphere
This cafe is generally very small yet spacious. It is located in a very warm, cosy and small village located in Uxbridge. The building shares the same visual characteristics as the village such as the low beamed ceilings and the rustic bare-bricked interior. Also, this place never has crowds or gets extremely busy. So this is the perfect place to enjoy a peaceful spot of lunch and a nice coffee.
Duck & Plum Bun with Edamame Salad: 6/10
The salads are extremely fresh here and the dressing is out of this world. The buns are also very light fluffy and airy. The plum sauce is perfectly balanced in terms of flavour . The salad has a very nice crunch and sharp flavour (like a sweet, oriental vinaigrette). But there is one very huge downside – the buns go soggy from the sauce from the filling! This ruins the overall quality of the buns. Although the duck has a nice flavour, it is quite dry this time around.
They serve a range of fillings such as salt and pepper squid, chicken katsu and crispy oyster mushroom. The portions are a little small, but this is a one off and order error. The buns usually come with salad and a portion of sweet potato fries as a meal. To place an order you need to tick on the menu, we accidentally ordered the food separately. So make sure that you get the full package!
Miso Soup with Udon Noodles & Duck: 7/10
I love the soups from Ottimmo. The miso soup was mild yet well balanced in terms of flavour. But this time the duck in the soup also seemed overcooked and dry. However, what gives the soup most of its points is the fresh udon noodles. Believe me, you can tell when noodles are fresh. Because once you do, you’ll never return to packet ones again!
Deep Fried Bun with Matcha Ice Cream & Red Bean Paste: 10/10
At first I thought it was a little strange having buns on the menu for dessert. But it does work well! The deep fried buns worked so perfectly as they resemble the taste of hot, fresh doughnuts. You know, the nostalgic fun fair type! The red bean paste is extremely sweet, yet the matcha ice cream is very cooling which both work perfectly together.
For the price, the food at Ottimmo is generally good despite the buns occasionally going soggy. This is the perfect place for a small snack or a relaxing lunch. I would highly recommend as it is great value for money, especially for Japanese food in London. I hope that you have enjoyed my review, I’d love to hear your opinions and other hidden foodie gems that you all have discovered. Feel free to drop a comment below!
Address: 45 Windsor St, Uxbridge UB8 1AB
Phone: 01895 253049