Following on from the success of their pop-up cafes and artisan makers’ markets at the end of last year Rottal Steading will be firing up the coffee machine and ovens once again this weekend.
As restaurants and cafes across the nation have been opening their doors once again after the coronavirus lockdown, the team at Rottal Steading have said they are excited to welcome food and drink fans back to their events venue.
Louise Small, the estate’s event and hospitality coordinator, says the idea for the pop-up cafes came about towards the end of last year as a way of promoting the event space and providing something for people to do during the tumultuous year of the pandemic.
Louise said: “The whole idea of the pop-up cafes stems from us having the space, first of all. The steading itself was converted by the estate owner about seven years ago with the view to having a private family party then promoting it as an event venue thereafter and for weddings.
“There’s been bits and pieces happen every now and again. The cafes aren’t profitable and just cover themselves but we see them as something nice to do in these difficult times for the local community. It’s also a way of advertising the steading to people who might not know it’s here.”
In a series
The cafes the estate will be hosting on May 1 and 2 will be the third weekend in a series that the team plans to continue throughout the year.
Louise added: “We have done two before, as in two weekends. The first one was in October and we did one at the beginning of December, for which we incorporated a wee sort of gift market with it.
“We have markets and cafes scheduled ahead for the year, because we have to get a licence and things. Due to the Covid lockdown we were just thinking ‘oh, next month’s won’t happen, and then the next month’s won’t happen’, so our next initial one was going to be at the end of May.
“But we thought this would be a good opportunity, with it being the first weekend in May, so we’ve squeezed in this extra market and pop-up. We’re actually using a chef from one of the neighbouring estates, who’s doing the food for us this time as we just didn’t have enough time to contact different people for it.”
With a background in managing local farmers’ markets, Louise knows the importance of showcasing local produce and businesses, and hopes that the continuation of these cafes and markets at Rottal Steading will carry on this idea.
She continued: “I used to manage the farmers’ market in Forfar and Montrose, so I’m trying to recreate the ethos of that in a way and what we do in terms of providing something for the local community, but also using the talents of the local people and community.
“At our previous cafes we’ve used local producers, who’ve made cakes and things for the cafe, so they’re promoting their own businesses as well.
“Going forward, it might be a mix of the two because I think it’s a good way to showcase local people and helping them by promoting their businesses. A lot of these people are selling cakes from their back door, sort of thing. So coming here to have one of their cakes is a bit of a novel experience as you wouldn’t do that normally.”
So what can customers expect who plan to venture to the steading this weekend for some tasty fare and delicious coffee?
“For the cafe this weekend, we are working with Sacred Grounds Coffee Company,” Louise said.
“They will provide their coffee beans and we grind them on the day. We’re just providing filter coffee but using their beans, though we are going to invest in one of these fancy espresso machines so we can branch out with our coffee offering!
“In terms of coming along, people can just turn up, really. We’ve got 18 tables inside, so it would seat a total of 70 people, all socially distanced. Then, if the weather’s fine, we’ve got some outdoor seating that we can put out as well. We’ve got plenty of seating so that people can just turn up.
“If need be, people can take food away with them. We’re just using disposable items, including cups and boxes and things if they did want to take them away.
“The cafes that we’ve done up until now have been really well attended. There’s maybe been a couple of tables that folk have had to wait for outside, but it seems to work. I think the space is big enough and has enough tables that there is a good turnover.”
The pop-up cafe at the steading this weekend will be open from 10am-4pm both days. The planned dates for future cafes this year are May 29 and 30, June 26 and 27, July 31 and August 1, October 16 and 17, October 23 and 24, and December 4 and 5.