The new city centre site of popular restaurant Vietnamese Street Kitchen has finally opened at Birmingham’s iconic Bullring after months of setbacks due to Covid.
Family owned and run, the new Vietnamese Street Kitchen restaurant joins the existing Resorts World venue and replaces the Brindleyplace venue that closed in autumn 2020.
After initially being set to open last November, Operations Manager Oliver Ngo has had to wait a further 5 months to swing open the doors to his new Bullring site – one of the few independent hospitality venues part of the famous shopping complex.
Set over 2 floors, including a relaxed upstairs bar as well as large dining space downstairs, there’s a heated outdoor terrace and over 140 covers available once restrictions come to an end in June.
Guests can enjoy authentic Vietnamese cuisine as well as cocktails and takeaway options in a vibrant, colourful setting inspired by the family’s heritage.
A huge £350,000 renovation was completed late last year to convert the space previously occupied by the Handmade Burger Co into the new venue, with interior work by Faber Designs – also behind Land and Kilder.
The new venture has created around 30 jobs for the city, while retaining staff from the former venue, too. Outside dining and takeaway drinks will be available from April 12th and inside dining is set to return on May 17th. Takeout is already available via delivery apps including Deliveroo.
Oliver says the move is a dream come true for him, having hoped to open at the Birmingham landmark for some time.
“We are beyond excited to finally open Vietnamese Street Kitchen at Bullring and Grand Central. It’s been a worrying 6 months but we’re delighted to finally be at this point.
“We’ve opened up the kitchen, built an outdoor terrace, and turned the upstairs into a funky cocktail bar. We’ve had to do a lot of work to bring the unit up to standard, but it’s now a bright venue that’s well ventilated, spacious and Covid secure – keeping our customers safe is our main priority.
“This is our flagship location now – all of our dreams and hard work put into one space. We’re now at a site that’s big enough and central enough to bring our food and hospitality to Brummies on the biggest scale possible. We’ve put all of our money and effort into this venture and it has to work – there is no Plan B, we’re all in.”
Oliver says while they’re ready to open for April’s lockdown easing, the last few quarters have been up and down, to say the least.
“It’s been a real rollercoaster getting to this point. We had certain grants to help us but payment delays made life very difficult at times. Schemes such as ‘Eat Out To Help’ out did help drive customers to our restaurants but then sudden lockdowns and restrictions really affected stock, cash flow and bookings.
“Some days I woke up feeling on top of the world and others I woke up wondering why I put myself through this, but I know I’m following my dreams and I’m certain the restaurant is going to be a firm favourite for shoppers and visitors to the city.
“I’m Birmingham born and bred and love this city – I want to contribute something outstanding to it as well as showcase the joy of Vietnamese food. Guests can expect fresh food, innovative drinks and friendly service, whether they’ve popped in for a long lunch or an after work happy hour cocktail.”
So, what’s the plan for the immediate future? He says it’s all about adapting and growing.
“Being able to trade and build on the momentum we have is key now – we’ve come a long way over the last 3 years. We are here now and we will just continue to serve authentic high quality Vietnamese food with amazing service.
“It’s been a stressful year, there’s no denying that, but we’ve adapted to each rule change and I will always do everything I can to keep our staff in work and our customers accessing our food. I’m optimistic about the April / May openings.
“We have retained 7 members of staff from Brindleyplace (that would have been made redundant without furlough) and on top of that we’ve employed 15 front of house positions, 8 bar staff and 5 chef roles from all backgrounds. Our team consists solely of local people and I’m really proud of that.”
Oliver says cooking was always a passion in his family and recipes for popular dishes (such as his grandmother’s spring rolls) have been passed down through four generations, giving Vietnamese Street Kitchen a totally unique menu.
The focus of the menu is sharing: street food and small plates create a Vietnamese tapas-like experience for customers. Loved classic such as warming Pho and Bun Cha Ha Noi are available too.
Vietnamese Street Kitchen is open now for takeaway and is due to open properly to both daytime and evening guests on Monday 12thApril for outside dining. Guests can enjoy 2 for £10 cocktails, and there are vegan, halal, and gluten free menus available as well as the regular offering.