Barry Wallace is extremely enthusiastic about Vietnamese food – so much so that at the end of last year he opened Pang on Kevin Street in Dublin. The Vietnamese takeaway offers a streamlined menu at affordable prices, and caters for college students, office workers and hospital staff in the area. According to Barry, it's been very successful in a short period of time.
"We're very busy – we've sold out quite a few times," said Barry, "People are coming back for the same item and they want to eat the same product for the same price each time."
He also attributes this to the healthy aspect of Vietnamese food, as the premise of the business is to "Be as healthy as possible for the right price". The restaurant uses free range meat and fish, and the rice paper rolls that feature heavily on the menu are gluten free and stuffed full of veg. Even the broth in their pho offering does not use stock cubes and is made completely from scratch, and the menu has several vegan dishes. The Vietnamese sandwich, the eponymous Banh Mi, has been created with local produce in mind.
Barry's involvement in the food industry and setting up of restaurants came from around 2008, where he could not "Find a job during this crazy recession, so I said I'll create one for myself". During this long process, he set up a fish and chip stall with a friend and "Within three months we had interests in Brussels, London".
Around this time Barry also did restaurant consultancies and combined, all the concepts accumulated to about 12 locations. After being pulled between several countries across Europe Barry decided it would be in his best interests to return home.
Barry's main personal favourite areas are design, interiors and branding. After visiting Vietnam he decided to set up the first rice paper roll restaurant in Ireland, reflecting these interests and current trends worldwide, which is a personal hands-on skill Barry acquired himself over a period of six months.
"I'm thinking long term - I'm not thinking about making a lot of money quickly," he explained. "I'm much more interested in a brand at a fair price that is not trying to fool anyone."
The beauty of Pang is that it is stylish, affordable and healthy and as it is located outside of the city centre the overheads would not be as high, which in turn makes it easier to return those savings to the customer.