Feast It


Deeney's Scottish toasties: sandwiches for the soul

With a toastie that won Sandwich Fest 2017, a deep love of Scottish flavours and the values that surround home cooking, and even a franchise in Tokyo, Deeney’s are a wonderful brand run by people who seriously appreciate what they do.

“I love the warmth and love that you get from cooking and feeding people. It’s the way to anyone’s heart.”

If you dream of melted Scottish cheese and meaty haggis like we do, you can visit Deeney’s at Broadway Market on Saturdays and Chatsworth Road Market on Sundays. If you’re passing through Japan’s capital, pop into the National Azabu Supermarket to get your Scottish toastie fix in The Land of the Rising Sun! Can’t wait until the weekend? Or get to Tokyo? Their permanent residence takes the form of a charming cafe on Leyton High Street with a menu brimming with classic toasties, as well as some more exotic offerings, like the Hen Hoose, filled with smoked chicken, avocado, spicy mango salsa and spinach. The cafe also has a great breakfast menu with wholesome dishes like scrambled eggs, salmon and dill on sourdough toast and Scottish porridge with seeds, honey and cinnamon.

To find out more about Deeney’s and to celebrate the life of Robert Burns with something wonderfully Scottish, Feast It spoke to Carol Deeney, an inspirational street food trader and foodie entrepreneur. After spending too long dreaming of her mother’s kitchen back in bonny Scotland, Carol walked away from the nine to five corporate life to do what she was really craving…

Deeney's Logo

Carol is originally from Morayshire in North East Scotland. She created Deeney’s in the summer of 2012 in her flat in central London…

“I got a bunch of mates round, loads of ingredients and some beers to induce the creativity.”

Having grown up in her mother’s cafe in Scotland she longed to be back in that kitchen...

“Her toasties were such a home comfort for me, it was a no-brainer that I would bring something like that to the people of London.”

Deeney's 3

The Deeney’s team is made up of Carol and her husband Paddy, who hails from Northern Ireland. They work with an amazing team of staff that they’ve gained over the years and who have been incredibly loyal…

“Jack runs the street food part of Deeney’s and has been with us since April 2013. I am so grateful for his continued commitment and hard work. Deeney’s wouldn’t have grown like it has without him.”

Before the birth of Deeney’s, Carol worked for a large creative advertising agency. As is often the case, it wasn’t as glamorous as she’d hoped for and she ended up selling industrial lubricants to factory owners. Carol took her career into her own hands, quit her job and is now a fully-fledged entrepreneur…

“I am always striving to do more in business and grow different areas of the company. Talking about my adventures in business and helping others get started is one of my favourite things to do.”

Deeney's Carol

To set up Deeney’s, Carol started by exploring and researching the market, creating a blank business plan template and figuring out which of her friends had skills that she could exploit! The Deeney’s brand was built around honouring heritage, with three important values of quality, consistency and simplicity…

“I knew I had to believe in the brand and assimilate with it. A good friend told me I should be celebrating my Scottish-ness so it made sense to build and communicate a brand that I was intrinsically linked with and proud of.”

As with all ventures, there have been many highs and many lows…

“Getting the keys to our cafe in Leyton in 2015 and opening the shutter for the first time was the highlight of Deeney’s so far. A particularly bad bump in the road was spending a £6000 loan on a second-hand van which died 10 months later and was irreparable.”

Deeney's Cafe

In early 2017, Carol and Paddy were approached by a young couple from Japan who were in London to explore the street food scene and thought that Deeney’s would work well in Tokyo. In April that year they came back to the UK for training and Carol and her husband taught them all they could about the business. After a rather difficult startup process, in September 2017 Deeney’s Japan was launched as a franchise…

“It was all worth it in the end and it was a surreal moment when we saw the Deeney’s Japanese website, even our menu was now in Yen! They are building up the business gradually and doing an amazing job on representing the brand. They trade weekly out of a custom-made caravan trailer (which is very cool and we are incredibly jealous of!) The idea is that they will open their own permanent premises within the year.”

Deeney’s are total pros at catering for events... from big weddings to small office lunches they are just waiting to spread their love of great, hearty food and big Scottish flavour with everyone from the Deeney’s pop-up gazebo (they are particular partial to Burn’s suppers and ceilidhs).

“I do love a wedding as everyone is in such a great mood and I love getting a shot of a glamorous bride and groom inhaling a big Macbeth toastie!”

Deeney's other sarni

The Deeney’s menu was created to ensure that everything has a home-cooked feel to it. Nothing is fancy or false, just simple flavours done well. Carol even shared her Scottish toastie making secret with us… they are brushed with garlic butter on each side before they’re toasted!

“We try to celebrate the brilliant food that Scotland produces, we have some of the best meats, seafood and cheeses around. It also has great nostalgia for people that grew up in Scotland or have great memories of trips eating unique local recipes and ingredients.”

As well as her love for seafood and fresh shellfish cooked with butter and herbs, Carol’s favourite dish to cook in her downtime is Cullen Skink, a Scottish soup traditionally made with haddock, onions and potatoes…

“We don’t have it on the menu regularly so it’s always a great treat to get in some fabulous smoked haddock and make a big pot of it. We use slightly caramelised onions, tatties and milk with the flaked haddock mixed through.”

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Many of Deeney’s toasties are made with haggis, so we asked Carol to explain a little more about this famous Scottish savoury pudding…

“Haggis is great because the flavours are all infused for you and it’s seasoned to perfection. The meat has been cooked well and then mixed with the oats and the perfect spice mix. It’s consistency means it works well with so many different ingredients and side dishes.”

Deeney's goodbye

A huge thank you to Carol Deeney for talking to us about her fantastic business and delicious toasties. If this has given you a hankering for some bold Scottish flavour then get down to their cafe in Leyton today! Or head to Broadway Market (Saturday) or Chatsworth Road Market (Sunday). We can’t wait to see what Deeney’s have in store for 2018 and it is really a joy to watch them grow! You can book Deeney’s today for your wedding, birthday bash, office party or Burns supper! Take a look at their instagram for more mouthwatering toastie photos.