A couple who only intended to buy a second-hand dishwasher from a shut-down city cafe, have snapped up the entire business.
New venue The Selkie – which closed as Simpson’s Cafe during lockdown – welcomed its first diners on Exchange Street last week
Delighted owners Kelly and Paul Fairweather said that despite Covid-19, lower overheads made them decide now was the perfect chance to open a new venue.
The couple already run the Scarlet Bakery in Newport but brought on board daughter Sophie and son-in-law Robbie Jack for this new family venture.
The purchase of Simpson’s represents the first time Robbie has co-owned a restaurant, a dream of his for the past 10 years.
Robbie said: “It is a funny story how The Selkie came around. My in-laws went down to the café to buy a dishwasher and left with the whole shop.
“Kelly and Paul have both been talking about opening a café for a while and it has always been a dream of mine to own a place and while the coronavirus would put others off, the overheads were coming out really low so we decided to go for it.
“It is all new to me but we have all the family working here and while other places are closing down we wanted to be there for the community as a welcoming place that people could come and have a cup of coffee in a unique setting with a family feel.
“Myself and Kelly will be cooking, Paul does the baking and Sophie will be doing front of house. Also with the Covid-19 measures, we are working with Kelly’s cleaning company, At Your Service, who are a Covid- trained to ensure our premises are as safe as possible.
“We have been fully booked since opening and while I was a bit nervous before opening, it was a surreal experience to see everyone come in to my business and we are really confident with the food we are serving.”
The café/restaurant at 27 Exchange Street has opened its doors with a take on Spanish tapas however Robbie says they will be taking their menu in different directions, in keeping with the name sake.
He added: “The name ‘The Selkie’ is a mythical Scottish sea creature – we are all proud Scots – which is also a shapeshifter, we want to reflect that in the food, as in we’re not restricting ourselves to one particular type.
“For example at the moment we are doing Spanish themed tapas but we will move on to maybe, African themed food or Scottish themes. Also the Selkie loves the sea and one of Kelly’s loves is swimming in the sea so it was perfect.”