Home   News   Article

New vegan food café and cheese deli in Inverness


By Rachel Smart

Easier access to your trusted, local news. Subscribe to a digital package and support local news publishing.



Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
Ella plans on doing workshops at some point inside Culture Cafe and Deli. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Ella plans on doing workshops at some point inside Culture Cafe and Deli. Picture: James Mackenzie.

“I just want people to have access to clean, healthy plant-based food that tastes good”, says Ella Clarke. She’s the founder of Inverness’ newest ‘instagrammable' food offering, Culture Café and Deli.

Based on Chapel Street, the zen-filled café and cheese deli officially opened last week, to provide locals and tourists with a purely vegan menu.

For 42-year-old Ella, opening a café has always been a dream of hers.

Ella Clarke, founder of Culture Cafe & Deli. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Ella Clarke, founder of Culture Cafe & Deli. Picture: James Mackenzie.

“25 years ago I fell in love with a café back home”, she explained, “It had so much community, jazz, great vegan food and amazing lattes. Ever since then I have wanted to have one of my own.

“Someone let me know that this space was coming up in Inverness, and it just felt like the right place and the right time, so I’ve gone for it.”

Café goers can expect a large range of vegan cheeses, doorstop-sized sourdough toasties, salads, burritos and soups. There are lots of cakes on offer too, that will satisfy anyone's craving for something sweet.

Ella added: “So far the feedback from locals has been amazing. People seem really positive about having something new and different in town.

“There used to be Alleycat and Nourish in the city, and Velocity has lots of great vegan options too!

“But the idea of Culture Cafe was to be the Highland's first vegan cheese deli, alongside having the café.”

All the cheeses in the cafe are made by Left Coast Culture. Picture: James Mackenzie.
All the cheeses in the cafe are made by Left Coast Culture. Picture: James Mackenzie.

All the vegan cheeses are hand-crafted by Ella's other business, Left Coast Culture, which is based in the Belladrum estate.

However, this is more than just a café for Ella, as she wants to create a community experience for anyone who comes in.

She said: “I want people to get a cosy, welcoming vibe with great music when they come in.

“I really just want to bring people together around good food!”

Ella has done exactly this already, as she opened up on Christmas day to provide a free lunch to passers by.

“We had around 40 people from all walks of life come in on Christmas for a warm meal”, she explained.

“We had been inspired to do it by Wildcat vegan cafe in Fort William, and we just thought it was a great idea.

“On Christmas, people were saying that they had never tasted food like it before! It was a lovely day.”

Culture Cafe & Deli opened up at the end of January. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Culture Cafe & Deli opened up at the end of January. Picture: James Mackenzie.

Ella has already been approached by people wanting to host dinner clubs and bookclubs in the premises too, so there are lots of opportunities for the new food establishment in the coming months.

She also has lots of plans of her own, and is looking forward to being able to open at weekends.

Ella added: “I really want to do a vegan brunch on weekends, and then also provide more of a grab-and-go section throughout the week too. People can takeaway healthy sandwiches, wraps and salad bowls.

Culture Cafe and Deli is based on Chapel Street. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Culture Cafe and Deli is based on Chapel Street. Picture: James Mackenzie.

“I also want to do workshops, and bring in more of our Left Coast Culture cheeses too”.

Culture Café is currently open from 10am – 3.30pm, Tuesday – Friday, but that should change soon. Watch this space!

People can expect nourishing, colourful, plant-based food at Culture Cafe and Deli. Picture: James Mackenzie.
People can expect nourishing, colourful, plant-based food at Culture Cafe and Deli. Picture: James Mackenzie.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More