Whaam Bánh Mì restaurant founder plans 10 sites

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Whaam Banh Mi founder Tom Barlow has spent more than a year developing his concept based around Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches
Whaam Banh Mi founder Tom Barlow has spent more than a year developing his concept based around Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches

Related tags: Street food

Tom Barlow, the founder of new Vietnamese restaurant brand Whaam Bánh Mì, plans to roll the concept out to 10 sites over the next few years following its launch in Soho next month. 

The first Whaam Bánh Mì restaurant, which will specialise in bánh mì sandwiches - a baguette type bread filled with meat or seafood, pâté, sliced cucumber, pickled vegetables, chilli and coriander - will open in Great Windmill Street under a soft launch on 30 March. 

Barlow, who worked in Vietnam for several years, spent more than a year developing the concept with Vietnamese street food vendors and British bakers before starting it out as a street food stall. He said he was now looking forward to 'getting the tastes of Vietnam to London' with a permanent restaurant site. 

"Bánh mì used to be my life blood along with cà phê sữa đá (Vietnamese iced coffee). Having always been obsessed with sandwiches and discovering banh mi, confirmed my route back to London," he said.

"2015, I really believe is going to be the year of Vietnamese cuisine. We’re riding a wave of healthier economic conditions and this couldn’t be a better time for us to start a new chain of 'fast fine' outlets". 

Expansion

Barlow told BigHospitality he already had plans to expand the business. 

"Bánh mì will soon be a buzz word around town and we’re going to be opening several outlets over the next couple of years," he said. "If we could get to 10 outlets, I’d be happy and part of this journey is to get the tastes of Vietnam to London. 

"We covered many Summer food festivals outside of London in 2014, including Brighton and Bath where customers were keen for us to open a restaurant in both locations. Apparently the UK loves Bánh mì and we love what we do."

Whaam Bánh Mì will open from 11am to 11pm with diners able to order freshly-made sandwiches from a counter. Barlow has kept loyal to the traditional Vietnamese bread which has a thinner crust and an more airy centre than its French counterpart, while fillings have been given a Western twist and include Asian barbecue shredded pork, lemongrass chicken and ginger & chilli tofu.  

The restaurant, which is designed to 'transport' customers to Vietnam with a pop art wall installation, will serve desserts and Vietnamese coffees from The Saigon Coffee Company and Blacksheep Coffee in the afternoons. 

Related topics: Business, Venues, People, Restaurants

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