Cooking up a new taste

The Vietnamese Bistro, Cedar Square, Blackpool. Owners John Benson and Thuy Danielle Benson.
The Vietnamese Bistro, Cedar Square, Blackpool. Owners John Benson and Thuy Danielle Benson.
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Partners John and Thuy Danielle Benson enjoy Vietnamese food so much they’ve opened their own bistro to share the experience with everyone else.

The Vietnamese Bistro in Cedar Square, Blackpool, has already proved a hit with discerning diners as well as being an addition to the town centre’s burgeoning coffee society.

“We want people to know that they don’t have to have full meals – we are just as happy to be seen as somewhere to enjoy coffee and cakes during the day but with the spin that we are the only place in town serving Vietnamese coffee.”

It’s also the only place serving genuine Vietnamese cuisine – all freshly prepared from a small but interesting menu.

“We have kept things down to firm Vietnamese favourites so that we can guarantee everything is cooked to order just as it would be at home,” says John, who looks after the front of house whilst Thuy does the cooking. We didn’t want to be greedy so we’ve kept the seating down to a comfortable level and the menu down to what we know will prove popular.”

They got the idea several months ago when they saw a gap in the dining market and having first looked at Lytham eventually settled on a former hairdressers in the new look Cedar Square.

“We thought about just a coffee shop then realised that there isn’t anywhere on the coast providing Vietnamese cuisine – plus cakes made by my mum!,” said John.

So between them they came up with a menu which includes speciality dish rice pancakes, sweet and sour squid, noodle soup with fillet beef, pork with duck egg cooked in coconut and traditional Vietnamese beef lagu stew.

Several of the dishes are so fresh that advance booking is recommended.

“Because we are cooking to order it’s often best to let us know an hour or so before so that they can be prepared individually,” says John.

The bistro has yet to have an alcohol licence granted so customers are invited to take their own drinks along for a small corkage charge.

“People don’t seem to mind that – and it saves them money at the end of he day,” said Thuy. “We are already getting people coming back because they’ve enjoyed it so much.”

The Vietnamese Bistro is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to late and Sundays from noon. More details from (01253) 624006.