[Dropcap]W[/dropcap]e were lucky to get the chance to catch up with Rod Nisbet, Food & Beverage Manager of The Royal Exchange Coffee House at The Real Mary King’s Close and asked him a few questions on life on the High Street…
How long have you been at The Real Mary King’s Close and what experience did you bring to the position?
I joined the team back in April having previously worked with the team to cater for events including the Close’s 10th Anniversary Celebrations and Burns’ Night. I have worked in catering all my life mostly as a chef but also in different aspects of the sector meaning I have a range of experience both in the kitchen and at a management level.
Tell us about your role at The Real Mary King’s Close
As the Food and Beverage Manager I can be found in the kitchen on most days. I arrive at work when the birds are singing and start by making the fresh soup of the day, baking baguettes and doing the preparation for the day ahead. Other elements of my job include arranging the rotas, ordering in fresh produce to ensure our food is as fresh as it can be and managing the new team to guarantee that our customer service along with the food is in line with the 5* attraction we are part of.
Talk Us Through The Theme/Idea Behind The Royal Exchange Coffee House.
The name of the new café makes reference to The Royal Exchange Coffee House which operated between the mid-18th and early 19th centuries and could be accessed via what is now the Quadrangle of the City Chambers. It actually sat at the top of Mary King’s Close. This choice of name highlights how we strive to keep real social history at the heart of the guest experience at The Real Mary King’s Close.
The Royal Exchange Coffee House is a place where Edinburgh residents and visitors to the city can escape the hustle and bustle of the Royal Mile to enjoy a relaxing coffee and bite to eat in the historic setting of the Burgh Courtroom. Our aim is to offer our visitors the real taste of Scotland. To do this our menu consists of Scottish favourites with a twist showcasing locally sourced produce. My plan is to change the menu seasonally to ensure our food offering reflects the seasonality of Scottish produce.
Three Words To Describe The Food At The Real Mary King’s Close
Fresh, local and fun!
What is your favourite dish on the menu and why?
I love the steak baguette; it’s full of flavour and a little bit different. It’s almost become signature dish of mine; wherever I have worked I have brought the steak baguette to the table and it has always gone down well the staff and customers alike. I think that this dish will be the most popular dish on the menu.
What do you love most about your job?
What I love about the job is that it gives me the opportunity to be creative with the menu. I also have the opportunity to meet new people whilst working alongside those who I’ve known for years. As The Real Mary King’s Close is a 5* internationally renowned attraction, I meet a diverse range of visitors from all over the world on a daily basis. Being in a position where I can introduce guests to new culinary experiences and food they have perhaps never tasted before is fantastic! I am hands on in the kitchen but I have also been very involved with the creation of the café itself which means I’ve been able to see the café grow and evolve. This is a long-term project with lots of potential and I am very excited to see what the future brings. This is an opportunity for The Real Mary King’s Close to make its culinary mark on the Royal Mile.