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New pop-up cafe in Fife’s East Neuk to offer gourmet bakery treats made from local ingredients

Jess Rose Young at her new pop-up cafe at Bowhouse.
Jess Rose Young at her new pop-up cafe at Bowhouse.

Using produce from local producers, former head chef at Ballintaggart, Jess Rose Young, will create baked goods at her new pop-up cafe at Bowhouse in St Monans.

One of the latest ventures to open up at Bowhouse in the East Neuk, is a pop-up cafe by Jess Rose Young, former head chef at Perthshire’s prestigious Ballintaggart restaurant.

Utilising the produce from the Balcaskie Estate, where Bowhouse is based, and the other local producers who have premises on the site, Jess plans to host a cafe every Thursday to Saturday from 11am-4pm (times may differ during Christmas and New Year period) creating baked goods using the seasonal produce right on her doorstep.

Jess at work in the cafe kitchen.

She says: “I visited the Bowhouse a couple of times whilst I was still living in Aberfeldy and I absolutely loved the space and just seeing all of the producers in the one site was amazing, it reminded me of the markets you get in London but on a much more rural basis.

“I got chatting to Rosie, the market organiser, a little bit and mentioned that I’d noticed the site cafe wasn’t been used. It kind of got me thinking about all of the amazing produce on its doorstep and what you could do with it in the cafe.”

Produce featured on the menu will include organic meat from the surrounding fields of Balcaskie farm prepared by Sophie Cumber at The Butchery at Bowhouse.

Jess will also be baking fresh sourdough bread and pastries using Scotland the Bread flour, grown and milled on the estate; and using vegetables, salads and herbs grown in the fields surrounding Bowhouse by East Neuk Market Garden.

Visitors can expect a weekly changing menu, with dishes like spiced squash soup with a Futtle organic beer bread roll; pork and fennel sausage rolls; herb fed chicken sourdough sandwich with shredded sprouts and aioli; tahini blondies; or coconut and gorse donuts.

Jess added: “The menu changes weekly though I might go back to some food from previous weeks as there are some things that have definitely been going down particularly well, such as the coconut doughnuts. I made some bread rolls using Futtle’s beer too in the first week, just as a side for the soups, then last week I filled them with things like blueberries, onions and St Andrews cheddar.

“When I was at Ballintaggart I loved doing all of the tasting menus that I produced there but the thought of doing something a bit more laid back and fun is always quite tempting I think, especially when you’ve done something a bit more fine dining related.

“Then it got me thinking what could be done in the space at Bowhouse with all of the producers, from East Neuk Gardens and the brewery just on the doorstep, as well as the lovely meat from Sophie. The produce was a massive influence.”

Having opened at the beginning of December and had a successful few sell-out weekends, Jess plans to now continue the cafe through January.

She says: “I started out by selling my doughnuts on Bowhouse Link when I was on furlough. I made them one day with a couple of friends, just as something to do. Then I thought they tasted nice, so I took them round a few people to try and everyone seemed to enjoy them. So I then just thought I should try selling them. It went really well on the Bowhouse Link and I think that’s maybe what got me thinking about starting the cafe as well.

“The cafe is open Thursdays to Saturdays, from 11am-4pm, and this is just my third week. I was only chatting to Rosie and said ‘oh I think I might want to do a pop up in the cafe for December as I’m guessing it will be busy with Christmas shoppers’. This was three weeks before I opened. She said it sounded great then between the two of us we just made it happen.”

Community

With the new venture opening at the beginning of December, local support for the cafe has been “amazing”, says Jess, as she plans to continue the cafe through January.

“I’ve never done anything like it before so I just went for it and it has been going really well. I’ve managed to sell out both weekends and the local community and support around here is amazing. The East Neuk is becoming a lot more ‘foodie’ and there are a lot of people flocking to it because of that, I feel.

“Quite a few of the people who have been out to the cafe are locals and are already supportive of Bowhouse. I’ve also had a couple of people that followed me on Instagram or had come to Ballintaggart but actually live out this way.

“I’m just going to keep going with it for as long as the demand is there. I’ve just decided with Rosie that I’m going to keep it going through January. Quite a few people have asked me what’s happening and I’m really wanting to do a sort of cook school thing, which I think would be a good supplement for January, when the passing trade isn’t quite so busy. The cook school would probably be based around seasonal bakes or learning how to make pastries, like sausage rolls.

“So the cafe will definitely be around for December and January, then we’ll see what happens after that. It keeps changing – I initially just said December, then I added on January… so who knows how long it will be there for!”

Takeaways

With restrictions on Fife’s hospitality sector, Jess’s new venture, which she operates by herself, has been taking advantage of the surge in demand for takeaways.

“It’s just me working in the cafe – including running back and forth to the tables and sanitising them etc. The whole kind of takeaway service seems to be working well though because no matter what changes in terms of the restrictions, takeaways generally seem to be OK.

“There’s a lot of space outside the front of the Bowhouse as well and luckily it’s been really sunny the past two weeks, so people have been sitting outside on the picnic benches – it’s been really nice.”

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