The Bango Banquets at Espressini have rocketed in popularity and are selling out repeatedly. We sat down with Howard Sellers, Bango founder, to chat to him about Bango Kitchen and the upcoming Banquets.
Tell us about Bango Kitchen…
Bango came about to fill a gap in the market for inventive, healthy and convenient food. There’s so much rubbish in food these days – sugar, fat, preservatives, etc. – and people are becoming increasingly aware of it, so I wanted to provide a healthy and fresh option that is pretty unique in Falmouth. Generally I’ve found that if people like sushi, they really love it, so I’m starting to build up a bit of a following and getting some regulars at the shop.
The word Bango rolls off the tongue and sticks in the mind. It’s become synonymous with the product in Falmouth, and has several translations, one of which means ‘flavour’. The logo is part of the word ‘fusion’ in Japanese. I really like that it looks like a house – it suits the street kitchen style we’ve gone for. The great thing about the logo is that even as the brand grows we can remember that it originated from this little place.
I’ve been so lucky that the guys at Brothers Pizza have allowed me to use their shop when they’re not open – I owe them all a big thank you, without being able to use their shop and prep kitchen I’d have struggled to get established in the way that I have. They’re open Tues-Sat, 5pm-10pm, so it has fitted in really nicely with their timings too.
What’s your mission?
I really want to raise awareness for healthier lunchtime options and to try to get people more excited about lunch – to a wide extent it’s a lot of pasties and sandwiches in Falmouth! The other element of it is that there seems to be an increasing amount of people with intolerances – such as lactose or gluten – and special dietary requirements, so sushi is an option for an awful lot of people who can’t have the usual lunch fare. We’ve got vegetarian and vegan options; there’s quite a limited availability for vegetarians and vegans at lunchtimes so I’m glad I can provide some fresh, exciting food.
We’re also trying to be as environmentally friendly as possible with my packaging and cutlery (which is compostable / recycled) and I use the highest sashimi grade fish from a local supplier.
How/Where did you learn?
It all started in my hometown of Truro where I worked for a very talented chef who had travelled around most of Asia and then returned and set up Stingi Lulus. It was during the early stages of fusion cookery and we did really great bento and sushi. I’ve always enjoyed that style of food and found it exciting; there’s a slight element for me of having something that no one else has and it being exclusive! I’ve taken what I learnt during my time at Stingi Lulus and shaped it to fit the style of food that I wanted to produce at Bango Kitchen.
What’s your background?
I’m Cornish born and bred! I grew up in Truro and have lived around Falmouth since my early 20s. I spent 5 years away working on a super yacht and at a ski chalet before coming back and settling in Mylor. During my time on the yacht I spent a lot of time making sushi as the owner was obsessed with it; he and his friends would fish off the back of the yacht and hand me the fresh fish to make into sashimi.
I spent some time in Asia and Australia and essentially just ate my way around which was a huge inspiration for me and for Bango Kitchen. I try to get up to London regularly just to eat Asian – there’s so much talent out there!
After getting back to Cornwall I worked at The Cove in Maenporth. During service we would have lunch and dinner specials and I used to try to get an Asian influence on the specials menu as much as I could, because it’s something different and if done well, it’s really delicious and fresh.
Tell us about the Banquets…
The Bango Banquet is a 6 course, pan-Asian banquet of tasty surprises. I like to keep the menu a secret until the moment that the plate is put down in front of you – in true banquet fashion.
I’ve found that if you give people options they might not taste it, whereas the banquet style is great because it gives people the opportunity to try things they wouldn’t necessarily have had before. Everybody knows the sushi and dumplings from the shop and expects those, so surprising people with a banquet menu is great fun.
The banquets are a very sociable, relaxed event with big, shared tables. I want it to be good value for money and the food standard is very high for the price. It’s for the people of Falmouth and it’s for people to enjoy! Espressini lends itself perfectly for the kind of event I want to put on and guests really enjoy the atmosphere.
The next Bango Banquets will be on Saturday 30th April and Saturday 14th May. Keep any eye out for ticket announcements, the banquet on the 16th April sold out in 48h, so act fast to avoid disappointment!
Find the Bango Kitchen pop up shop at Brothers Pizza, 19A Killigrew Street, Falmouth, from 12pm-3pm, Wednesday-Saturday for sushi, dumplings and broths.