How much do you pay for a regular sandwich or baguette at a central London cafe? I say regular but even the fancy pants ones aren’t really that special and you can be paying nearly £5 for one. That’s what annoyed me about lunch options when I used to work in central London. It was either a cardboard sandwich from Tesco, a mayonnaise full small portion from Pret or a nicer albeit a lot more expensive option from Leon.
I don’t work in Shoreditch or anywhere near but as I am always on the look out for amazing new places that are opening in London, I took a trip down to Kêu!, the new Vietmanese Banh Mi deli from Hugh Trung Bui of Cye Tre and Viet Grill fame. Now I do have to say that I have been doing a bit of freelance work for a friend of a friend on the launch of the deli but my trip was completely independent to this. The concept is simple – to provide a delicious and authentic, good quality Banh Mi sandwich at great prices and that is just what Kêu! does.
I recently got sent the Encyclopedia of Sandwiches and after flicking through a couple of times, I finally stopped on the Banh Mi sandwich as it looked utterly delicious. I’d much rather a baguette than a couple of slices of bread any day and the fragrant ingredients looked so enticing.
I am aware of other London Banh Mi offerings but I have never got around the trying them before. I did however have a sneaking suspicion Kêu! would be great, partly because I love Viet Grill and Cye Tre and partly because I knew the deli would be a whopper design wise as it was designed by David Archer – the man who designed one of my favourite London restaurants, Busaba.
Upon arrival, the deli didn’t disappoint. There is a range of Vietnamese goodies to purchase, including Kewpie mayonnaise (apparently the best in the world) and my favourite bottles of chilli sauce. Bags of Caravan coffee are also lined up behind the coffee machine, looking gorgeous.
I’m really glad that Kêu! decided to go with Caravan coffee – great locally roasted beans. Those of you who saw my recent post on Caravan coffee will know that this will hit the nail on the head for me. Coffee can be let down immensely if it is not made well but I was happy to find that it was at Kêu!, the flat white was smooth and creamy. This means that even if I’m in the area and I’m not hungry, at least I’ll know where I can go for a good coffee. There aren’t any sweet treats (apart from the morning croissant) yet but I imagine these are on their way.
So let’s get down to the food. The menu is the perfect size, with 5 fixed Banh Mi fillings and a different special each day, plus a range of Vietnamese salads and lunch boxes. Not content with trying one flavour, we opted for 3 Banh Mi baguettes to share. The special of the day was Crispy Duck, which was an absolute delight. We also opted for the Kêu! classic, which is spiced belly of pork with ham terrine and chicken liver pate. The final one was lip smackingly good, my favourite, the BBQ mackerel, which comes with lemongrass, daikon and coriander. Seriously, it is DELICIOUS.
The baguette is not just delicious because of the fillings, the bread also has a very large part to play. Hugh has teamed up with the esteemed Sally Clarke and her head baker to create the most delicious, crispy but light and airy artisan sourdough baguette. I nearly died and went to heaven.
All of this happiness only cost a mere £4.50 (per Banh Mi) – now, you compare that to one of those cardboard baguettes from the central London cafes I was talking about earlier and you’re laughing. Literally, I was laughing.
I went in the first week of opening and everything was perfect – and in the words of D Reem ‘Thing’s can only get better’ so I am already eagerly awaiting the next move from Hugh.
332 Old Street