WE have expanded our food repertoire in the past few weeks here at Yummleys.
You can still pop in for a coffee and a slice of one of my great grandmother’s delicious and unique Swiss cakes (we are bringing her century-old recipes to a new and appreciative audience), but at weekends we are also now offering a seasonal bistro menu. It is allowing us to champion even more of the high quality local suppliers we have here in the Borders.
When I first opened Yummleys I vowed to only look outside the area for ingredients as a last resort and to put my money into the pockets of local producers rather than the faceless supermarkets and other food multis that have changed the face of not just British agriculture but the nation’s villages, towns and cities (not for the better, I may add).
I am proud that I have managed thus far to keep to my word of sourcing from a 50-mile radius of our base here in Reston for our home-made cakes, desserts and savouries. But since opening earlier this year I have been aware that there is so much more here at Yummleys that we could be doing to support our local producers and suppliers.
Marvellous as my great grandmother’s tried and tested recipes are, by their very nature they don’t usually include a great many ingredients.
This is just one of the reasons along with demand – customers have repeatedly been asking us to open on an evening – why we have launched the bistro menu.
It allows us not only to offer our diners a wider food choice on Friday and Saturday evenings and at Sunday lunchtimes, but to champion even more local producers.
We have meat from Reiver Country Farm Foods here in Reston and Farm to Freeze, which has a base in Berwick, Doddington cheeses from Wooler and fruit from Blackhouse Farm just up the road.
But the mainstay of the menu has to be the wonderful fish we are getting from Eyemouth and St Abbs. Coming from the landlocked country of Switzerland, I am fascinated by east Berwickshire’s spectacular coastline.
Sure, we have plenty of lakes and stunning scenery in Switzerland, but this area’s towering and rugged cliffs, stunningly colourful marine life, unspoilt fishing villages and sandy beaches are exhilarating, romantic and breathtakingly beautiful all at once.
The fish landed at Eyemouth is superbly fresh. It may no longer be the port it once was, but around 80 trawlers still call the harbour home and fish lover or not, it is a magical place offering an overabundance of ever changing culinary possibilities.
Any chance I get I like to head off to the coast. I have met many of the trawlermen plying these waters, and only the other day I went mackerel fishing with a good friend off St Abb’s head.
I caught about 15 mackerel (although expect that number to have doubled next time I tell the story!)
The fish being landed just up the road from us is fresh and flavoursome and far removed from the watery, pre-packaged and usually tasteless supermarket variety too many of us have become used to.
The wonderful kitchen team here at Yummleys work their own magic with the likes of seafood chowder; a sharing board of smoked salmon and mackerel pates and pan-fried prawns; pasta dishes; and specials of the day.
People complain that buying local is expensive. Sometimes it can be, but in general that has not been our experience. And anyway, surely it is worth paying that little bit extra for superb quality?
By supporting local you are reinvesting in the area – and in the case of the fishing industry, buying into an age-old part of Berwickshire’s heritage and ensuring it will be there for generations to come.
That alone should be enough to reel you in.
Oli Hofer is the owner of Scotland’s only Swiss coffee shop, Yummleys, Main Street, Reston, TD14 5JP.
Tel 01890 761 266. Website: www.yummleys.co.uk. Twitter: @yummley_berwick
Yummleys is open daily 10am-6pm. The Bistro at Yummleys is open Friday and Saturday 6.30pm-9pm and for Sunday lunches 12.30pm-3pm.