Families rushed out to try the cafe at the Cairn O’Mohr winery after the owners made a last-minute announcement on social media that they would be opening for the weekend.
After posting on Facebook The Pickled Peacock would be opening for a soft launch, sisters Linsay and Holly Duncan never imagined that they would have hundreds of families turning up to get a slice of the action.
The new venue, which is based at Cairn O’Mhor winery in East Inchmichael, Errol, welcomed around 200 families across the weekend, selling out on Saturday.
The Inchture sisters couldn’t believe the response and said they were “overwhelmed” by the support shown by the local community.
Linday said: “We’ve taken over the cafe at Cairn O’Mohr winery and had a soft opening weekend. We sold out on the Saturday and thankfully we realised we needed to make a lot more for Sunday. There were just queues all around the winery. It was amazing!
“We had around 78 families on the Saturday and on Sunday we had 125. It was brilliant to see so many people come down to support us. We didn’t even advertise it either. What happened was on Friday night we posted on Facebook to say we’d be opening for the weekend. We weren’t supposed to be opening but we were ready and thought let’s just go for it. ”
Working as a tour guide at the winery for the past seven years, Linsay is delighted she and her sister have managed to secure the cafe space for their business and are looking forward to working closely with winery owners Ron and Judith Gillies in making the combined businesses a destination for all to visit.
“I had been the tour guide at Cairn O’Mohr for around seven years. My sister Holly and I knew there was potentially an opportunity on the horizon so we put a business plan in last year and it was accepted by the owners. They wanted to create this destination area,” said Linsay.
“The big thing with the location at Cairn O’Mohr is that it is a winery and we really wanted to celebrate it. We didn’t want people going in and doing a tour and then going to a cafe which had no association with the winery, so it has worked out perfectly.
“We’re originally from Inchture so it is so nice to have our own business locally. This week is our first week operating which is really exciting.”
Open seven days a week from 10am to 4pm to coincide with the winery opening times, The Pickled Peacock boasts 55 covers indoors with around an additional 40 outside. For now, the business is operating as a takeaway in line with Scottish Government restrictions as a result of the pandemic.
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Linsay added: “We can seat 55 indoors and we’ve created a snug, too, which is a small area which can be booked up. We have outdoor decking with tables and chairs and that holds around 20 just now.
“In the spring we’ll have a big gazebo going up which will hold another 20 so we’re well suited for outdoor and indoor dining – when we can finally do both.
“The plan is in summer to open in the evenings. We’re going to run secret supper clubs and we’ll have a different chef come in weekly and cook. We’re not going to tell anyone the menu, we’re just going to ask people for their dietary requirements. They won’t really know what they are signing up for to be honest! This will all tie in with winery and tastings.”
With a wide range of dishes available, all focused on showcasing Scottish produce from Dundee and Perthshire, Linsay and Holly have put a spin on the takeaway menu, offering up street food dishes.
“We’ve got everything from toasties, pulled pork and beef brisket with tatties as there’s a lot of tattie farmers around here and all of our produce is either from Perthshire or Dundee so we’re using as many local businesses as we can,” said Linsay.
“We’ve also been using some of the wines in the cooking and it has been giving it some lovely flavour. It is a showcase of Scottish food and drink and for the takeaway just now we’re focusing on street food, and when we move indoors again we’ll introduce charcuterie, cheese boards, hot cheese skillets and that sort of thing when we can. We’re trying to ensure the dishes complement the wines and the cider Cairn O’Mohr make, too.
“We also offer free soup for under-fives and, being a mum, I’m really aware that we have to make the kids feel welcome. The winery offers non-alcoholic wine and people will take their children to the cafe so we need to make sure it is appealing to them. There’s a playpark for the kids as well so there’s plenty to keep them busy.”
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Looking to organise wine tastings and pairing evenings, not to mention offer tasting flights which will see customers enjoy a range of the Cairn O’Mohr wines and ciders, Linsay and Holly can’t wait for the day they can finally open their venue indoors.
“A local craftsman has made us cider paddles and wine boards and they are made using the wood from the Inchture Church so it is all reclaimed wood from the local area,” added Linsay.
“We’ll have cheese, chutneys and that sort of thing for people to try alongside the wines and ciders. We’ll have information cards for people to read more about them too. You don’t have to go on a wine tour as such, although it is great fun. You can also get a bit of an education in the cafe with our cards. There will be four different ciders or wines to try and they will be very seasonal.”
And why The Pickled Peacock?
“On the Cairn O’Mohr bottle there is a peacock and they used to roam the land here. They’ve now moved to other lands but we wanted to keep the theme and Holly and I get called ‘wild burds’ by our friends so we thought The Pickled Peacock would work perfectly for us. It is somewhere to come and have fun and it is all about feeling good, chilling out and treating it like an extension of your own home.”