Minimal. Fresh. Inviting. These are some of the words that come to mind when you step foot into Bai Long Store. Situated on the corner of Hutt Street and Wakefield Street, this unique concept was essential to bringing back the local foodie back to the East End of town. The store has a story behind it and you feel it as soon as you walk in; Bai means White Dragon and the concept is carried throughout the store.
The tiles by the bar represent the scales of the dragon, the white walls with a subtle imprint of flames represent the fire, and on the circular details and shrubbery hanging from the ceiling represents the belly of the beast. They offer a range of branded products including tea leaves sourced from Taiwan, iced teas, noodles, chopsticks, thermoses, and even Bai Long t-shirts! We were welcomed to a long breakfast to celebrate the launch and knew this would be the new brunch spot I'd be telling my friends about, not only because of the wonderful food, but the exceptional hospitality as well.
The menu is a vision of Korean, Chinese and Japanese fusion executed by Head Chef Jay, who brought his love for Asian cuisine and perfect presentation from Melbourne to bless us with this fantastic spread. Bai Long offer breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert - don't fret if you're on the vegetarian or vegan team, these guys have designed positively delicious menus for your needs, while most of the brekkie menu is vegetarian. They also offer an extensive wine list, drinks list, coffee, hot tea-leaf ceremonies, and homemade iced tea that'll quench your thirst... but enough talk, let's dive right in.
The perfect light breakfast meal; packed with fresh fruit, puffed chia, buckwheat, goji berries and coconut yogurt, not only does it look spectacular but it tastes like the smoothie bowl of your dreams. If you wanna make this one at home you can purchase their ready-to-go Granola on their shelves!
Who knew tofu could taste so damn good?? It has the consistency of scrambled eggs accompained with poached eggs, tasty tender cauliflower, and black sourdough toast (so cool). Topped with pepper and pickled onions, this dish is an eye opener for any tofu nay-sayers. As filling and as yummy as they come.
A fresh take on the ol' mate smashed avocado! Try this fresh, healthy dish of poached eggs covered in Dukkah, tasty quinoa, fresh avocado and that delish black sourdough. Topped with apple slices soaked in apple cider, this dish has the texture and taste variety down-packed. Something for lovers of grains and zesty flavours!
Another spin on the favourite brunch classic! This was one of my favourites of the day; think poached eggs with a Chinese twist. Tom-yum hollandaise, miso eggplant, basil, coriander and soft roti takes this dish from ham and english muffins to a new level. The hollandaise is positively addictive while the perfectly cooked eggplant adds depth and flavour to the eggs, while the roti soaks up all the juices. Absolute banger of a dish.
For someone who'd rather not eat mushrooms, I'm telling you this dish was f*cking brilliant. And if you love mushrooms, you HAVE to get this! Not only was the semolina actually incredible and soft, the black sesame paste and texture of the mushrooms almost converted me into a mushroom lover. Think of cutting into that poached egg and have it absorb into the semolina, spike a mushroom with the fork and douse up the sesame, and you're in for a party in your mouth. Hat's off to Bai Long for that one.
Don't want eggs on a hot day and feel like something a little closer to lunch? This dish changes the salad game and is waaay better than a regular salad. It's got fresh shaved capsicum, zucchini and carrot, Bai Long noodles, covered in pine nut dressing – and if you want it not vego you can add duck (pictured) or chicken! I mean, if all salads were this colourful and fun to eat, we'd be eating it every day. Tasting super fresh and quite filling, you can make friends with this salad!
BROWN RICE BOWL
After a dish that radiates freshness, healthiness and deliciousness? Try the brown rice bowl, packed with brown rice (duh), avocado, multi beans, and truffle soy, you can get this dish with veges, chicken or sashimi (pictured). Definitely a belly filler packed with good grains, beans and rice that'll have you full til dinnertime. A perfect summer dish.
The pièce de résistance!! Now I know why they save the best for last... I'm coming back just for this one. If you love a sweet breakfast this is your kind of meal! Another classic turned into a brilliant masterpiece; this french toast is made with soft, beautiful brioche bread, surrounded by rosewater soaked watermelon and berry compote, dolloped with maple fraiche, and sprinkled with toasted almonds. Yum, yum, f*cking yum! We were so full at this point but I couldn't help but demolish this dish, so worth the food baby. I don't mean to be cliche but it tastes as good as it looks fellas! 11/10 Bai Long genius.
If your mouth isn't full of saliva right now you're in the wrong place (seriously how isn't it?!)
If it is drooling all over your front you NEED to hit up Bail Long Store the next chance you get!
Whether you're down for this incredible spread, wanna get some products or just keen to check out the awesome interior, they're open everyday for breakfast and lunch, and every night for dinner except Sunday night (they do need a break after all!)
Follow Bai Long Store on Instagram and Facebook for the latest updates or call them on 8232 5484! We'd like to thank our host Audriene for a wonderful insight into the story and meaning of Bai Long, and the waiters and chefs who created an unforgettable and pleasurable dining experience, we will certainly be back!
Images by Alexia Frangos.