Heather Street Food, based outside Dundee’s V&A museum will be back on Saturday, with many new delicious products and old favourites on the menu.
One of Dundee’s most popular foodie hotspots of the past 12 months is Heather Street Food, which emerged on the city’s takeaway scene in July 2020.
Based outside the V&A Museum, and at the summer plaza on the riverside, the team, spearheaded by entrepreneurs Chris Heather and Melodie Paterson, took the tough decision to close their operations temporarily at the beginning of January.
But, with demand now soaring and the easing of restrictions on the horizon, the team have found themselves in the position to reopen their food pop-up from Saturday, March 13.
Chris Heather, who adapted the business after initially starting it to cater for events and weddings, said they have lots on the menu for their reopening weekend.
He said: “We’ve been experimenting and tinkering a lot with the menu and our horsebox. We’ve done a full refit of the horsebox itself over the last couple of weeks and we plan to keep doing the hot doughnuts that were really popular last year.
“We’ve also been experimenting with different flavoured sugars, such as more artisan or unusual flavours, such as the rose petal flavour you get in Turkish Delights. We’ve been mixing in some blended, dried rose petals that we found from a great supplier – and it tastes so good! We’re going to have that one on the menu.
“There will still also be the plain sugared and cinnamon sugared doughnuts, and there will still be Nutella ones available because everyone loves Nutella.
“The bagels will be available too when we reopen as well because we stopped them last year as we were so busy we just couldn’t handle it really.”
Another offering the team is bringing back will be their specials, in collaboration with many of Scotland’s prestigious and Michelin-starred chefs.
Ahead of Saturday’s reopening, Chris revealed that they’ll be starting out by showcasing food from Michelin Star head chef Andrew Turnbull from Isle of Eriska Hotel.
Chris said: “We’re also continuing the really exciting collaborations we were doing on our specials board. This time it will be from a Michelin-starred chef from the restaurant at the Isle of Eriska hotel in Argyll.
“The head chef there, Andy, came up with a sort of Asian duck with a Japanese kenko mayo. We worked with a few Michelin star chefs last year on some of our specials so it’s good to be kicking back off with one. I was always thinking that restaurants seemed to be in competition with each other prior to lockdown, but that is the total opposite of my approach.
“It’s like when you listen to music, such as Calvin Harris’ collaborations. It’s better when he makes the music and someone like Pharrell Williams sings. I’m like that too – these chefs are 10 times better than me and I’ve got the venue, they’ve got amazing food. Also, they’re away out west and we’re here in Dundee so we aren’t even competing. I said ‘let’s just work together and come up with something cool that works for both of us’.
“So the bagels will be back, coffees are obviously going to be back on too. We’ve hired some amazing new baristas as well so we’ll be opening with a good, solid team.”
To comply with the current coronavirus restrictions, the team said that all their staff will be lateral flow tested each week, masks will be mandatory in the queue, floor markings will help customers keep a safe distance, a Covid queue marshall will be on-site at all times and customers will be required to pay by contactless payments only.
Though they can’t yet bring back their popular “Drinky Malinky” cocktail van until restrictions ease, they have plans for relaunching this, with another new venture, in the summer.
Chris continued: “We can’t do booze at the moment, that’s still off the cards, but we have managed to import this awesome little vehicle from France, a few days before Brexit kicked in.
“It was a completely crazy story, but there’s a man in St Andrews who is an antique dealer and he just happened to be in France, next to the place where this farmer had an old livestock vehicle called a Peugeot J7 van. There are lots of amazing websites these days where you submit something you need and loads of people get back to you.
“The farmer had posted on one of these sites that someone in Dundee wanted the J van and if someone wanted to courier it to the UK for them, to let him know. Then, just by chance, this antique dealer from St Andrews was there and he went and picked it up for us and got it here within two days.
“We’re going to have that ready for opening up in the summer but you can’t see any pictures of it yet – it’s so ugly right now as it’s being stripped apart in the fabricator’s workshop.
“We’re actually planning to open up a lot more in the summer when we’re allowed to do alcohol, and will have an area over in the summer plaza by the waterfront. We’ll be doing loaded fries, halloumi fries, soft serve ice cream, and we’ll have the bar open as well to do cocktails, draft beer and prosecco.”
With there being so much demand for the pop-up’s artisan food offerings at the end of last year, Chris is looking forward to getting back to serving the customers again, seven days a week.
He says: “At the moment we will just have the horsebox outside the V&A, which will be open from 10am to 6pm for seven days a week. It’s just fab to be able to open for seven days.
“We decided to open this coming Saturday as everything has just fallen into place for us to be able to reopen as soon as we can. We hadn’t expected our food to be so popular last year. It completely blew us away!
“I remember driving down to the V&A before we opened in July, which was in the middle of the first lockdown, and I was just sitting in my van thinking ‘this place is dead, why have I done this?’ as there was nobody around.
“We had a full calendar of weddings and events we were meant to be catering for but everything got cancelled. So I was thinking whether it was a good idea to just stay in one place. But the response just blew us away. I’ve never seen queues like it for anything in Dundee – it was crazy but just such a blessing. We’ve just fallen in love with the city.
“When you open something you hope it goes well but it’s gone 100 times better than we could ever hope for and that’s been down to all the people supporting us, sharing it online and telling their friends to come down – and hopefully that continues.
“We’re also going to do something on Mother’s Day on Sunday – I’ve got a bottle of Champagne and I think I might give it to the 20th mum who visits us on the day or something along those lines. I always like doing little giveaways so we’ll be continuing with those too.”