Mark Reynolds may refer to his new venture The Soo’s Lug as “the smallest bacon cafe in the world”, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in taste.
The owner of Piggery-Smokery, a bacon firm based in Alford, Aberdeenshire has been preparing to open the new venue for around a year while juggling his former role of working offshore in the oil and gas industry.
With a name inspired by the region’s farming industry, The Soo’s Lug (meaning the pigs ear), serves a range of teas, coffees and rolls jam-packed with Piggery-Smokery’s award-winning bacon.
With a capacity of just 10 (maximum), the cafe, located on the town’s Main Street, has already sold almost 600 bacon rolls.
The business owner purchased the space 12 months ago and has been working on bringing it to life in between working offshore in Albania, Russia and Greece.
Despite still not being fully complete, Mark was eager to finally open the doors of the new bacon cafe which is open from 8.30am to 5pm every Friday to Sunday.
Just last November he raised £22,500 via a Crowdfunding campaign to purchase a new slicer to help grow the business. Mark has now also invested a five-figure sum into the premises to bring quality bacon rolls to the masses.
“Opening those doors was a very nervous experience,” he said.
“But then again I seem to live on this kind of adrenalin, annoyingly.
“The Soo’s Lug was always going to be an outlet for our bacon. Previously we had folks queuing at our house door.
“Whilst this was great it did prevent some people coming up and trying it, so a wee shop on the town’s Main Street seemed like a logical idea. When a sad old shop came up for grabs we went for it.
“It’s a teeny weeny space – the smallest bacon cafe in the world.”
Keeping it simple
Mark had intended on producing an array of foods for the cafe, however, decided against it due to the shop’s size.
Locals had also encouraged him to “keep it simple but do it fantastic” with regards to the menu.
Priced from £4.50 for the piglet, £5 for the sow, £6 for the boar and £10 for the monstrous hogliath roll, customers can pick the size of bacon roll they most desire.
He said: “We offer our bacon in toasted brioche rolls from The Bread Maker and The Bread Guy with bacon and butter and salads, wraps with or without lardons, and coffee from Nakid Bean in Cults. That is designed to be the very best on Donside, otherwise there is no point in doing this – it’s got to be a fantastic taste experience.
“We make the preserved lemons and chive oils and, of course, the bacon is cured using Aberdeenshire and Morayshire pigs. All our rolls are put together on-site, but the bacon is made in my smokery at home.”
Piggery-Smokery launched in 2017 at a BrewDog AGM and Mark has been working to perfect his recipes ever since.
The bacon producer now has 16 Great Taste Gold Stars, a number that he hopes will continue to grow.
“We have a great name already for making good old-fashioned, modern bacons,” Mark added.
“We are redefining bacon as a food staple, giving it taste, texture, bite and umami-ness (meaning ‘essence of deliciousness’ in Japanese, with a taste often described as meaty and savoury).”
“Launching The Soo’s Lug has been a relief and nerve-wracking. It’s putting my bacon and my cooking skills on display. I have some really lovely staff who are into the quality I’m looking for.”