By Roz Skinner
Great coffee and excellent sandwiches – this is what Deli Gasta is all about!
Set in Broadford, the Deli is the latest venture of James Robertson. Although he is known for his gloriously-scented Skye Candles, James says that he has long felt the need for a nice deli and café space.
“I felt there was a bit of a lack of places to go in Skye for a light lunch,” James explains. “In the cities, you’ve got so much choice for where to go for breakfast, lunch and everything in-between, but here most places tend to focus on evening service. I also wanted a coffee shop that stays open later in the summer, so that it can be somewhere tourists or locals can go, or a place for people to meet up with their friends and not feel too pressured to drink.”
The Deli operates in what used to be the Isle of Skye Serpentarium, previously operated by Catherine and Alex Shearer. “I acquired the beautiful building in December 2015, and spent quite a bit of time getting it exactly the way I wanted it to look,” says James.
James has transformed the space – adding a takeaway section on the left-hand side of the building, and a sit-in area with tables, chairs and gifts to the right. Remnants of the building's history as a mill are still evident in the main eating area.
“One thing I definitely don't want to do is go down a restaurant route,” James states. “There are some amazing restaurants in Skye already and we don't want to compete with them. We want to be a place that specialises in light bits, cakes, sandwiches and great coffee!”
James' plans for the Deli do not stop there. He aims to have an alcohol licence and hopes to offer wine and cheese boards in the future, to entice people to mingle a little longer. Also in the pipeline is the addition of WiFi. “I want to offer a fast connection, so I am waiting for fibre to be installed. At the moment, it’s too painfully slow to offer to customers - our till operates online and we need that to work first and foremost!” laughs James.
Situated next to a river, Deli Gasta’s outdoor area is a peaceful place for guests to sit with their coffee and sandwiches. “As it's such a stunning place to sit out and take in the view, I will be adding more picnic tables for when the weather is good,” says James.
In the spring. Deli Gasta is open from 8:30am to 5pm. “We aim to be open later in the evenings, come the summer,” says James. “We want people to feel relaxed when they eat and drink – not feel worried about closing time.”
Deli Gasta was chosen for various Gaelic connotations. “It's quite an unusual name, but we've had a good response,” says James. “We do get people who think it says 'Deli Pasta' and come in wanting Italian food! However, in Gaelic, the word 'Gasta' has a number of different meanings and one of them is 'Splendid.' I think Splendid Deli sounds good and says a lot about what we are aiming to do.”