Hieu Bui, Grilled!

Hieu Bui, 35, is the owner of four Vietnamese London restaurants, the last being the popular Cay Tre Soho which we visited last week, blog post to follow. He’s given us some fantastic insightful answers to our questions, no more words from us required…


If money was no object, where would you open a restaurant and what would it be like?
It will have many small stalls with different street dishes from different region of Vietnam. It will be like a food court in the middle, and seats around. It would be by the river, with the view of the Thames. It will serve my favourites like fresh mallad duck soup, carp soup, sashimi chilli lobster, BBQ wild boar, goat hot-pot. It will also have street food of Saigon and Hanoi, like pho, bun bo hue, beef jerky, papaya salad, fish congee, crab noodle soup etc.
It will a casual, relaxed restaurant with low tables, beautiful and chatty waitresses. A place to enjoy unusual food and street food with cooking, with heart.

If you had to eat the same meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Pho beef – but has to be the best with 12 hour cooking of marrow, with perfect beef and fresh rice noodle.

What do you keep on your bedside table?
The food of Vietnam book & british regional food from Mark Hix as I like to learn about different regions of England, and what best I can use in my Vietnamese menus. And some Hieu Bui Vietnamese beef jerky snack

When is the last time you had a Mcdonald’s or similar fast food?
10 Years ago – the only one in my life so far

What is your career Plan B?
Designing and building restaurants, be a restaurant consultant if possible

What’s your favourite thing on the menu at your restaurants to cook at home?
Slow cook Mekong catfish

Is there any food you can’t stand to eat?
Monkey brain. Some part of china and Vietnam they eat it but I can’t stand it

Do you have any reoccurring dreams?
To open a Vietnamese culture centre, big, massive one with 3 restaurants of 3 different city of Vietnam inside – Hanoi – Hue – Ho Chi Minh city

Who would be your ideal dinner date?
My wife, Hanabi, she is very funny and have a good palate

What is the one object you can’t do without?
A bottle of Vietnamese fish sauce

Cay Tre Soho – 42-43 Dean Street, London www.caytresoho.co.uk
Keu! (Banh Mi Deli) – 332 Old Street, London www.keudeli.co.uk
Viet Grill – 58 Kingsland Road, London www.vietnamesekitchen.co.uk
Cay Tre Shoreditch – 201 Old Street, London www.vietnamesekitchen.co.uk