Diving potatoes into pots of stringy fondue, bursting the yolk in a shakshuka covered with feta and biting into a deep fried cheese toastie, Scotland’s newest alternative restaurant could be the gouda news you’ve been looking for.
Mechelle Clark, the owner of gourmet cheese toastie takeaway Melt in Aberdeen, has announced plans to open Scotland’s first cheese restaurant in the city.
Dubbed ‘Melt 2’, the restaurant will seat 60 to 70 customers, with a private dining area, downstairs takeaway and deli, all decorated in the brand’s signature 70s style with help from local vintage shops.
The melty menu will be dripping with gooey cheese, dishes such as lobster mac and cheese, whipped ricotta on sourdough, blue cheese salad with pecans and raspberry dressing, prosciutto-wrapped halloumi and even a full breakfast with a cheesy twist will tempt customers through the door.
It is hoped the restaurant, situated in the former Beautiful Mountain and Mamma Pizza site on Belmont Street in the city centre will be open by the end of October – just in time for some very cheesy Christmas parties.
Mechelle, who launched the business after facing redundancy in the oil and gas sector, believes the cheesy venture is exactly what foodies in the north-east are looking for.
“Cheese is endless with the kind of things you can do with it and over the years I’ve been working on recipes and playing about with ideas and looking for a site for that to happen in,” she explains.
Melt opened to the public two years ago in a tiny space on Holburn Street and attracted some criticism, people convinced the takeaway wouldn’t last a month and that customers wouldn’t fork out £5 for a bit of bread and cheese.
But the Melt team proved them wrong, their speciality toasties made with locally made sourdough ranging from haggis and bacon to mac and cheese and even dessert toastie nutella and mascarpone becoming a hit with customers.
Film star Donald Sutherland even stopped in for a bite, with news anchor Jon Snow and the First Minister also popping in to get their toastie fix.
The prospect of a cheese-based restaurant has people salivating, with a crowdfunding page hoping to raise funds specifically for the upstairs restaurant already raising thousands of pounds in less than a week.
“We’ve managed to get a good amount of money to get started but it’s a lot of work so we need that support from the public and so far they are doing that and hopefully that will continue and we will get to our goal,” Mechelle says.
Although Mechelle admits that opening such a trend-led venture could work better in a bigger city such as Glasgow, she says she wants to “be the change you see” and help improve Aberdeen’s food scene.
“We had looked at Dundee and things but we want to double down in Aberdeen really, they have embraced us so much that it would seem silly not to take advantage of that,” she says.
“Be the change you want to see, if we want Aberdeen to improve then we will have to do it ourselves and bring cool businesses to the area.”