Food Drink

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An organic bakehouse has opened in of all places - Glasgow’s East End. Words: Barry Shelby

hink ‘organic bakery" in Scotland and one‘s thoughts

probably focus on Edinburgh first. Consider Glasgow

and inevitably the West Iind comes into view. But think again. The two New Zealand—born entrepreneurial new bohemians behind the Tapa Coffee & Bakehouse see their destiny in Dennistoun. And in time sooner than many expect their presciencc will likely pay off. This liast Iind neighbourhood is the new frontier. where a growing number of artists and creative types move in every month.

With partner Virginia Webb. Robert Winters had schemed to open a bakery in Glasgow for about three years. Both have Scottish ancestry. though his family ties are more direct and recent: Winter‘s father was born in Renfrewshire. Like many who come to Scotland voluntarily. this pair see potential that natives might miss. Leaving aside Dennistoun. Winters says: ‘A lot of people have asked why Scotland'." lIe answers (without a hint of sarcasm): ‘This is the land ofopportunity.‘

For Tapa. that has initially rung true. When they opened two months back. Winters and Webb didn't know who would come. But a core clientele was quickly built. ‘I’eople like good food.‘ he says. And Tapa‘s meat-free goods are inexpensive: basic organic loaves of rye. wholemeal or sourdough are only 95p. Sandwiches go from £l.5() and soup starts at £1.65. Only a cup of cappuccino seems to push the market rate at £l.4(). But then Tapa roasts it own organic arabica beans from co-operatives in South America. Imagine what would be charged for that in Hillhead or Stockbridge'.’ If anything. Winters has been told the food is too cheap: something he takes as a “Glaswegian compliment‘.

Baking is becoming something of a lost an. Winters has not always been a professional baker but he‘s always had a penchant for it. ‘You either have an aptitude or you don‘t.‘ he says. ‘I do.‘ His wholemeal loaf is light while the sourdough is incredibly moist with a week-long shelf life without any preservatives. But every day involves experimentation.

Good raw materials and patience are the keys. he reckons. ()rganic llour comes from nearby Greencity. ‘But the magic ingredient is time.‘ he says. 'It is what allows flavours to develop.‘ Indeed. the industrial. high-speed milling of grain generates such heat that minerals are literally destroyed. Winters is not the type to reintroduce them with artificial additives or improvers. What he wants to use is stone ground flour that's milled so that the natural goodness is sustained.

The curious name of the shop comes from a traditional south Pacific textile. an example of which hangs at Tapa. It serves as a metaphor for the business. Making of the cloth is a communal exercise that brings people together. Webb says. So Tapa Bakehouse. with its lone table that needs to be shared. does something similar. It‘s not all been smooth sailing in the community. however; someone persists in throwing 'I‘apa‘s pavement board into an empty lot on Duke Street. But as the retail business beds in. Tapa plans to expand the range. They may even begin to suss the restaurant/wholesale market. 'It was a relief getting the doors open.' Winters says. ‘Now we have to make it a success.‘

Tapa Coffee & Bakehouse, 21 Whitehall Street, Glasgow, 0141 554 9981. Open Tues-Fri 8am-6.30pm; Sat 8am-4pm. Closed Sun 8: Mon.

Sideliislies News to nibble on . . .

I ROGUE RESTAURANT IN Edinburgh is doing more to lure budget-minded diners, having decided to cut prices by as much as 50%. Now starters - such as the smoked chicken, avocado and bacon salad - should cost no more than 25 while main courses like fettucine bolognese are priced between £6 and £11. ‘lt’s the same food,’ says owner David Ramsden. ‘The only difference is in the price.’ At the same time, Ramsden has said a redesign is on the way as well. It promises to ‘funk up’ and introduce colour to the monochromatic dining room.

I LE SEPT FRENCH BISTRO is new trading on Hunter Sguare. After 20 odd years further up the Royal Mile. the management wasted little time converting the former Rocksalt (and Bann UK before that) into its Gallic creperie.

I NEARBY, THE RECENTLY opened branch of Bauwaus on South Bridge has closed along with the flagship in Queensferry Street. A new owner may still revive the gourmet hot dog formula. In New Town’s Hanover Street, it looks like Juniper can be added to casualty list, too. Although a sign on the door says “closed for winter break', the message to anyone phoning the place (‘the number you have called is unavailable’) indicates that the problem might be more permanent.

I IN GLASGOW. THE NEW residential development at Partrck Cross will have another Candy Bar as its ground-level commercial tenant. Property agents Creew LLl-i says rental offers over £95,000 were sovight: ‘We are delighted to have acl'iieved a letting to an innovative and successful Glasgow operator.‘ The first Candy Bar opened in Hope Street and a second one trades in Edinburgh on George Street.

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