And what a year it was…
Whilst I am writing this on our mini winter break (finally finding time to blog), I feel proud looking back on these past 13 months and what we have achieved in the short space of time since opening. In this blog, I just wanted to highlight some of the fun and interesting things we got up to, the amazing people we’ve met, lessons we’ve learnt on the way, our failures and successes and what you could look forward to at C+D in 2016.
The people we’ve met:
Without a doubt, beside from my college friends and family members who have been on this C+D journey with me from the very beginning, there are a good couple of people who have helped us in abundance in getting us to where we are now and I just want to mention them briefly on here and to say thank you for their support.
Our first mention goes out to the guys at the Kentishtowner, Tom and Stephen who have helped us launch C+D from the very beginning before we even opened up shop. If it wasn’t for their article they published online about us (See here), a good month before we opened I don’t think we would have been half as busy as we would have without their help. So for that I still thank Tom and Stephen whenever I bump into them because of how their article created the initial buzz and rush for our new deli business for us to build upon. Check out the review they wrote about us (See Here)
Our second mention goes out to Joel and Susie, married couple and owners of the Grafton pub and now the Gispy Queen, because of their continuous support they've given us since we first opened up. For me, it was very unexpected to see a fellow business owner take their time out to visit a newly open place and give words of support and guidance from out of nowhere but that was what Joel and Susie did for us. They shared their experiences with us, gave us advice and told us to we had a good concept but we had to keep working hard at it. Thank you for the help and guidance Joel and Susie.
Here is the part where I am just going to drop names because there are too many people to mention that has really kept us going and was a good company this whole year. So here are some of the people we would like to thank, Tom from Camden New Journal, Khrista mother of two and a film producer, the lovely couple Rich and Klara from TwoDoorsDown, Ed music producer who works next door to us, Sarah from SK Vintage, Kish Radio DJ, Johnny from the O2 Forum, William from Ladies and Gents, Will from Clapton Craft and many many more. But rest assure we love and appreciate every single one of our customers and supporters and we hope to continue to grow our business and to make you guys and everyone in Kentish Town proud.
The yummy food we’ve ate in 2015
Volunteering at KTCC
Back in February 2015, we was given a warm welcome by the brilliant folks of North London Cares in Kentish Town Community Centre. We were invited to give a mini presentation about what it was like living in Vietnam, what the culture is like, what types of food they eat and lastly some phases in Vietnamese which they got each phrase spot on. They got to sample some of our chicken pho that myself and Helen brought over for them to try before they had a go at making their own summer rolls. We had so much fun and as you can see in these photos that they were huge rolls! Overall, we were impressed with their rolling skills for beginners.
Big shout out to Laura and her team for the great work they’ve been doing for the elderly neighbours of K-Town those past few years, they've really built a strong sense of community that you don’t often see in the capital. We hope they continue the hard work and that their team grows because we can see the difference they make to the lives of the elderly and the young neighbours of the community. No one should feel isolated and alone, so the work Laura and her team is doing to combat this is truly inspiring and amazing, we are so proud that we could be a part of their activities this year and we hope we can do more in 2016.
Alma St Fair
On June 5th, we took our street food outside of C+D HQ and into Alma St Fair in Kentish Town, it was our first time venturing out and we are happy to report back and say it was a huge success. Initially we only sold our Vietnamese baguettes (banh mi) and our handmade summer rolls but as the day went on, we quickly sold out of our baguettes. Never did anticipate what we would do if we sold out our baguettes; we quickly shifted our menu from banh mi to bun cha box (grilled meats, bun rice noodles, salad and chilli fish sauce) and continued selling those till the end of the day.
We had so much fun doing the fair, the whole team and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and chatting to new customers who may have never heard of us before and existing customers who came over to show their support as well. Overall, it was a brilliant day, sun was out, tons of people, great music and entertainment acts on show and not least there was a wide selection of different foods to try. Well done to the organisers for planning this year’s fair, it was an amazing event and we hope to be invited back to do Alma St Fair 2016 for more delicious Vietnamese Street Food!
Trying out Breakfast
Some of you may or may not remember that back in October 2015, we decided to trial our new breakfast service for a short while. Although it may have been a bit short lived, we decided to end the trial as we wasn't fully prepared. As much as we didn’t want to disappoint those we did come in to try our breakfast offering and said they liked it, we had to take the decision to stop doing breakfast so that we can rethink and plan better for the next time we try do something familiar again in the future. It was a great learning experience and we're glad we give it a good go at trying something different.
Birthday Dash at C+D
Like any birthdays, we had to celebrate in style. We had ours on the 9th December and offered 50% to all our customers on that day. We wanted to thank everyone who has supported us throughout this year and possibly to reach out to those who may have never had our food before but had a reason to with our little offering.
And what a day it was, our till malfunctioned at the start of service (everything had to be calculated by calculator), we forgot to stock up on tomatoes (ran to get some) and we had to go to the bank for more £5 notes mid service. But even with all those problems occurring at the start, we still had a lot of fun doing it and safe to say we made it out alive in one piece. The shop was packed and the line went outside, we had everyone on deck and we delivered our delicious Vietnamese food to the masses of Kentish Town. Thank you to everyone who showed up that day, it was hectic to say the least but it gave us all a great feeling of satisfaction that we were able to pull in the most of customers we’ve had ever during a lunch service.
Plans for 2016
In 2015, a lot of our focus has been to settle down the business, establishing effective and efficient systems, creating a team culture that embodies what we believe in and getting our homemade Vietnamese street food out there for everyone to try and taste. With 2016 just around the corner, we are planning to up the ante, unlike 2015 where we were just starting ourselves off, discovering and learning on the way, 2016 will be about putting everything we’ve learnt into practice and to roll out a number of new lunch, dinner and drinks options that is sure to excite those who already love the Vietnamese food at C+D.
We’ve got a variety of healthy and low fat options coming for lunch whilst our dinner service will see a revamp of the menu with some new Vietnamese starters and mains coming soon. 2016 will also be the year when Carrots + Daikon launches Saturday Brunch and the possible return of our All-You-Can-Eat Bun Cha Night which was very popular with the locals the last times we hosted the event.
For me personally, this whole year has been a bit of a blur but a good blur, we been through a lot this year and have had a lot of highs and downs but this thing we have here at C+D have been a truly amazing experience and a massive learning curve so far and I couldn't have imagine we would have ever achieved what we have when we first started (e.g. Runners up at the Timeout Love London Awards in Kentish Town & Tufnell Park).
So for that I am so proud of the solid team we have at C+D, our loyal customer base, our meat and vegetable suppliers who have provided us with quality produce this whole year and lastly to everyone who has helped and supported us throughout this amazing first year in trading. Thank you all so much for your love and support, we promise that there will be more fun and interesting things to come from C+D in 2016 and that this journey is still only the beginning of an epic long journey we hope you would continue following us on.
Thanks so much for reading
Co-Founder of Carrots + Daikon