COQ ASIAN: Taylor Nesseth (left) and Thomas Raymond love a good banh mi sammich
Photos by Dan Haber
Have you ever woken up on the weekend and wished that someone would bring a freshly made sandwich and a coffee right to your door, and all you had to do was send a text, get out of bed and put on some pants (or not)?
Well, that’s exactly what the guys behind Coq Asian, a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich delivery service, have been doing Friday through Sunday all summer long. And they’re delivering iced coffee, too.
Taylor Nesseth, a native of Lasalle, ON, and Thomas Raymond, who hails from Brighton, U.K. are no strangers to the Montreal restaurant scene. They met here about three years ago, when they were working together at Réservoir, and have been friends ever since. With restaurants like Salle à Manger, Les Trois Petits Bouchons, La Montée and Lawrence on their collective résumé, they decided to take a break, travel and see what inspired them.
“We went to Vietnam together for a month,” explains Nesseth. “A big part of that trip was the food, and I think a big challenge for us was to try and do justice to this type of cuisine that we’re not fully accustomed to, even though there are elements of it that we’re more familiar with because of the influence of French cuisine.”
“I was playing about with bread for quite awhile,” adds Raymond, “so it made sense to make these sandwiches. They just taste great, and the combination of flavours — sweet, salty, savory, spicy — it really works.”
Although Nesseth and Raymond started by hosting Sunday BBQ dinners at their house that saw them invite friends over and experiment with food, they’ve grown into a small, two-man operation, making everything from scratch and even delivering it themselves, by bike, in between cooking and taking orders.
“It gets a little hectic sometimes,” says Nesseth, “to get everything served hot and on time.”
Luckily, their coffee, provided by Dispatch, is a specially brewed, cold concoction that comes in a mason jar.
Their sandwich menu, meanwhile, is constantly changing.
“We do one sandwich a week, and it changes every week, but we use organic flour,” says Raymond. “Our meat is carefully sourced, and everything is fresh. We’re involved in every element, and we don’t cut corners. Everything is made to order.”
From the meatball sandwiches they were serving during Pop Montreal to their take on Vietnamese steamed chicken with herb paste, pickled cucumber relish and fermented carrots, everything they do is more or less inspired by traditional dish. This weekend’s special? Pork belly. But get your orders in early — although they operate from 12–5 p.m., they tend to sell out around 3 p.m.
“We always intended this to be a summer thing, but we’re both really happy about how it’s gone,” says Nesseth. “Although Oct. 7 is our last day for the season, we’ve cooked together a lot, and it’s a beautiful partnership.”
“We’re pretty sure of where we want to go with it next year,” adds Raymond, “and it has to do with working with fire. It’s going to be pretty different.”
So get your sandwiches while they’re hot and your coffee before it gets too cold, and stay tuned for more from Le Coq Asian duo. They’ll be back next year for more. ■
Sandwiches from $7–8.50, coffee $3.50; until Oct. 7