The humble bun is a delicious commodity, which, up until recently, had been unfortunately overlooked in this age of Dominion Road dumpling wars. Situated in between dumpling heavy weights Barilla and New Flavour lies Bun Hut, an unsuspecting looking shop that offers something that the others lack: buns.
Not quite a dumpling, not quite a bao, these steamed buns ($4 for 5; $7 for $10) tread the line between the two, possessing the best of both. Their slightly thicker exteriors are a textural delight, both soft and slightly chewy at the same time, without distracting from the lush, tasty filling inside. Becky and I have a penchant for the combination of pork and fennel and ordered a plate of five, however Bun Hut offers a number of other fillings if aniseed isn’t to your liking.
Bun Hut, which on first glance appears more like a bakery than restaurant, has a large glass display cabinet at its counter, containing filled pancakes and some unusual looking desserts.
There are a number of long, communal tables to seat those who are dining in, a surprisingly trendy arrangement which could well make an appearance in the Tumblr of accidental Chinese hipsters. Its menu boasts an extensive array of dishes, from filled breads to gruel, casseroles and noodles. And everything is ridiculously cheap. In addition to our pork and fennel buns, we ordered a plate of dumplings ($9 for 20; how could we not?), a roast sesame pancake stuffed with stewed beef ($3), noodles with pork mince ($8) and fried noodles with shredded pork ($8).
The roast sesame pancake was similar to the chilli-licked lamb pitas one can get across the road, with the added benefit of sesame seeds sprinkled on top. The dumplings, as all dumplings in this area seem to be, were delicious and the going rate more similar to what it used to be like before everyone knew about dumplings. The pork mince noodles were an interesting concoction, sprinkled liberally with crushed peanuts and served with preserved mustard greens (the Chinese’s answer to sauerkraut); though deliciously savoury, the mustard greens were a little more potent than what I’m used to. James’ fried yellow noodles were alarmingly greasy and not particularly special.
I’d like to return to try the different steamed buns, bready-items and main dishes, of which the stir-fried tofu with minced pork mince in a spicy sauce amongst many other dishes catches my eye. But if trawling through the list-like menu sounds too arduous for you, sitting down at dinner and pointing to what your neighbour orders might do the trick too.