Why we’re opening a Vietnamese deli in Kentish Town


Carrots & Daikon prepares to bring pho, banh mi and fresh rolls to Highgate Rd daily. We spoke to co-owner David Chu for the exclusive first news of their plans



The idea of starting up a Vietnamese deli came about from my love of the food, which started from a very young age. My mother was born and raised in Vietnam and I grew up on her amazing dishes at home.

There really is nothing better in the world than a home-cooked meal, made fresh to order whenever you want it, and that’s what our new business – named Carrots & Daikon – is going to be all about.

We want to recreate and share those homely flavours at our deli, which is on schedule to open in early December, in a part of London where it feels like Vietnamese food is almost non-existent.

After a long search, my business partner Philip and I finally found this location in Kentish Town just opposite the Forum, formerly known as Joe’s Chicken. We’ve grabbed the opportunity with both hands and now we are busy (very busy!) living the dream.

Carrot & Daikon pickle, base for the classic Vietnamese baguette filling
Carrot & Daikon pickle, base for the classic Vietnamese baguette filling

Philip and I are both British-born Chinese and have been friends since college. We’ve worked in fashion and I’ve also had experience in food retail, whilst pursuing my own business ventures too: a market stall selling gourmet popsicles and oriental iced teas in Camden Lock Market, which I’ve run for the last three summers.

So what’s on the menu? It’s going to be very simple: everything is homemade and cooked to order. We’ll offer a range of different protein fillings such as BBQ pork, lemongrass chicken or garlic tofu to go in our banh mi (the classic Vietnamese baguette).

These come with sliced cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon (mooli), spring onions, fresh coriander, a drizzle of soy sauce and our house mayo spread, that we make daily.

If you don’t feel like eating bread then we’ll do a Vietnamese lunchbox with either bun (rice noodles) or rice, the same fillings as the baguettes, plus a side of mixed salad with a chilli fish dressing.

If you want something hot then our classic beef or chicken pho (noodle soup) should do the trick. And finally, our summer rolls will be hand-rolled every morning before opening, with pork, prawns or tofu.

Vietnamese cooking is big on flavour, big on fresh salads and big on noodle soups. Unlike many other Asian cuisines, it doesn’t rely too heavily on oil or fried dishes for flavour. In fact, it’s often considered the healthiest food in the world: the perfect balance between fresh herbs, meats and carbohydrates.

That means vitamins and minerals in abundance, a boost to the immune system and energy for the day ahead.

Philip and I believe that Vietnamese cuisine is going to be the next big thing in UK, having seen how Korean food has exploded here recently. We hope to prove that when open in early December.

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Carrots & Daikon, 10 Highgate Rd, will be open Mon – Thurs: 11am – 7pm, Fri and Sat: 11am – 9pm

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  • Susie

    Sounds awesome, can’t wait!

  • Alex Mo

    Good luck to them! I live locally and I was so relieved when Joe’s chicken was shut. The smell was just awful! I absolutely prefer a local place that serves healthy and home-made food with fresh ingredients than fried rat…..Can’t wait for the opening!

  • Natalia S

    Being part vietnamese myself I just can’t wait! Excited!

  • Dan

    It’s all about the bread! Good luck

  • Julianator

    Tremendous news. Vietnamese food is delicious and it’ll be great to have a local provider.

  • Cara

    Welcome to the neighborhood! Wishing you success

  • Lydie

    Wish you lots of success !

  • ghincheg

    I can’t wait, but 7pm on weeknights? Would love to come in for some pho after work, but that would necessitate more like 8 or 9pm closing

  • David C

    Carrots & Daikon will be opening its door on the Thursday 4th December, come down and experience a little bit of Vietnam in Kentish Town!

    • Susie

      So flippin excited!

    • David C

      Due to unforeseen problems with our ventilation fan we are forced to delay our opening to next week where we hope we can get it fixed and working the way we want it to, sorry for the delay.. We promise it will be worth the wait

  • Seth

    Can’t wait! But 7pm is far too early to close on a work night if you want to maximise numbers

    • David C

      We want to test the waters first before committing to evening service if we have a genuine demand for it.. Hope to announce our opening date in due time

  • Carly

    Are you in the old Highgate Spice shop? When is the grand opening? I am due to have baby number 3 on Friday and am really looking forward to sending my hubby down for steaming bowls of pho takeaway of an evening (agree with comments above re evening opening times, I suspect these will be your busiest hours). Will you hope to deliver in future months? Also – do you have a website? If yes I can’t find it, tried to look you up…..anyway best of luck, really excited to have you in the area!

    • David C

      We are opening Tuesday 9th December, we were love to have you over for some of our homesome pho, mother’s recipe is always the best. Yes we are at the old Highgate Spice shop its awesome now and yes we do hope we can delivery if we know there is demand for it.. anything is possible. We dont have a website at the moment but we are on all social medias Facebook, twitter and instagram if you want to follow us through our progress, thanks for the welcome

  • PrinceofWalesDaniel

    Had lunch here on its opening day and was VERY impressed. Fresh ingredients, wonderful flavours and a great concept feel to it. On this basis, it deserves to be a thorough success.