Vietnamese cafe launches in Castle Mall, Antrim

Vietnamese cafe launches in Castle Mall, Antrim
Staff John Smyth and Leah Watson at Banh Boy Antrim - a new eatery which opened in the Castle Mall Shopping Centre on Friday.

A new Vietnamese-style coffee shop has opened in Castle Mall, bringing a taste of Southeast Asia to Antrim town and creating three jobs.

Banh Boy Antrim will offer diners a Northern Irish spin on the traditional banh mi – a popular Vietnamese sandwich – using local suppliers to create a hearty baguette filled with savoury and fresh flavours. Also on the menu will be TikTok favourite Vietnamese Coffee, a sweet treat customers enjoyed free of charge on the first day of opening.

The 28-seater café is located on the ground floor of the shopping mall, opposite retailer Poundland, and is the latest concept from restaurateur Gerard McQuillan who has enjoyed previous success with Freight Belfast.

With its relaxed, casual dining atmosphere Banh Boy Antrim will be the first food offering to open in the centre since the start of the Covid pandemic and marks a real step forward as shoppers return with confidence to Castle Mall.

Creative flair

Known for his creative flair and ability to fuse street food with fine dining, Gerard McQuillan has a proven track record of transforming unoccupied spaces into cutting edge restaurants and cafés. Mr. McQuillan has said Banh Boy will not only provide a fun environment for people to eat and drink but will also add a vibrant, cosmopolitan dimension to Antrim town.

“Right across Northern Ireland there is an increasing appetite for world cuisines and the demand for authentic street food shows no signs of disappearing,” he said.

“What makes Banh Boy Antrim so unique is that we’re putting our own spin on the sandwiches and visitors can expect to see all of their local favourites on the menu in a totally new and creative way.

“We are excited to begin this new venture and believe we can add to what is already a thriving café culture within the town. After months of planning and menu preparation it’s been great to finally open our doors and bring these dishes to life. We’ve had a really positive opening weekend and now look forward to building on this over the weeks and months ahead.”

New era

Pamela Minford, Centre Manager at Castle Mall said: “Banh Boy Antrim is the first in what we hope is a series of exciting announcements for Castle Mall and marks a new era in what we expect to be a significant period of transformation for the centre.

“We’re pleased to be able to offer food and drink once again to our customers and wish to extend a warm welcome to Gerard and the team as they officially open their doors. Having just relocated our Asian supermarket to a larger unit, we know there is strong demand for world cuisines here and are confident that Banh Boy Antrim will be a hit with local shoppers and add to our overall visitor experience.”

Shoppers will also have the chance to visit a Christmas pop-up store which has also opened at Castle Mall. Full opening times and details of other recent changes within the centre can be found at .

To keep up to date with the latest news from Banh Boy Antrim or see the full menu, follow banhboy_ni on Instagram.