Café – or as we prefer to call it – a food shop with seats!
Ironically, when we first took on the restoration of The Old Woollen Mill building in Portree, the idea of part of it being a café was very far from our minds. We just wanted to bake great biscuits and bread, sell them to whoever popped up the lane, and possibly offer a cup of (decent) coffee if it was raining. Clearly our customers saw things slightly differently and over the six months we spent planning our kitchen, they were planning their next scone and jam venue.
The concept of eating freshly baked bread and drinking good coffee, while being surrounded by a lovely wide variety of artisan breads, shortbread, oatcakes, preserves and Scottish cheeses all ready to take home, made plenty of sense.
Our loyal, local customers persisted, and, eventually we gave in, and the food shop with seats was conceived and opened in early 2011. The ‘food shop with seats’ concept was developed to offer a café that did not impact at all on the production kitchen. As a result it was decided that compostable cups and plates would be used as far as possible, in keeping with our informal approach to eating, and our environmentally friendly policies. As such, all food is served in certified cups and plates, and the cutlery is either birch or corn starch. In winter, when natural composting is less achievable, the wood and bagasse is used as kindling for our wood burning stove, the only (and fantastic) source of heating for the whole building.
Seating is arranged to give everyone a little personal room, even when we are full, with big tables and brightly painted chairs. Children are very welcome, and there is a play table dedicated to the small people. During the winter our wood burner creates a warm and cosy environment, while in summer the space is light and airy.
The Skyeworks Gallery, situated above the café/food shop, provides the perfect setting for a leisurely wander around following a delicious lunch. The entire upstairs level houses the gallery, which is illuminated by natural light and dedicated to the work of local artists and makers. Our wide selection of wool and yarn, buttons, beads and other crafty necessities offer a variety choice for those of a creative persuasion.
For visitors wishing to spend some time to eat in at our café, you can choose from the following selection of tasty options!
Freshly Baked Scones – We make a variety of fantastic scones, which are served with Scottish butter and a preserve from our homemade selection.
Sweet Cranberry Bannock – Adapted from the Selkirk bannock, which was reportedly a favourite of Queen Victoria, the bannock is a sweet, dense, yeasted bread filled with dried vine-fruit.
Apple and Hazelnut filled Brioche – Our sweet and nutty homage to the delicious French bread.
Homemade soup- Our hearty soup is gluten free and vegetarian and comes served with chunks of our bread and a portion of butter.
Lunch Breads – Our signature breads are made ready to eat anywhere, anytime. Our lunchbreads are made by wrapping soft bread dough around a filling, which are then baked and served warm with the option of butter or a portion of one of our homemade chutneys.
Our lunchbreads are made with a number of different fillings such as:
Chilli venison chorizo with butternut squash
Highland beef stew
Spinach and goats’ cheese
Roast tomato and brie
Mixed green veggies and mature Scottish cheddar
Mediterranean veg stew with olives
Cheese and leek
Caramelised red onion
Sharing Boards – Scottish cheese board or Highland platters. Choose from our cheese Selection, or try our venison charcuterie, served with plenty or bread, oatcakes, lavosh jaggies, butter, chutney, jelly, fresh fruit and dressed mixed leaves.
Cakes and Tarts from our daily selection – From Chardonnay poached pear frangipan tarts to triple chocolate cake, there is usually a treat for everyone.
We always have gluten-free options, and with a little notice we can ensure that your meal is suited to your requirements.
Cold drinks, teas and coffee – We have an extensive variety of cold drinks from suppliers: Belvoir, Fentimans and Summerhouse Fizz. For those of you who enjoy a fruit infusion, we have a great selection of herbal and fruit teas to choose from. And of course if it’s freshly ground coffee you are after, we will be more than happy to oblige you.