Tourism Retailer of the Year at Orkney Tourism Awards 2023. Orkney Sheila Fleet is one of Scotland’s leading jewellery designers of silver and gold with intricate enamel work and gems. She has several retail outlets dotted around Scotland (check out the weblink to find one near you). Many of her designs reflect her love of the island’s nature (flora, fauna and seascapes) along with the ancient history of the isles. Sheila also transformed a former Church on Orkney into an amazing Café.
The Kirk Gallery & Café is at Tankerness, eastwards on Orkney’s Mainland, only a few minutes from Kirkwall. The church (or Kirk as we Scots call it) is beautifully restored with a stunning showroom for Sheila’s designs and a superb café where local produce reigns supreme. Their tempting menu caters for a wide range of dietary requirements, served on bespoke crockery and including some by Sheila’s niece, Susan Walls, and on sale in the Gallery along with a range of creative ceramics, weavings and paintings.
With seasonal soups and tasty beremeal bannocks, a range of light bites, mouth-watering dishes, pies and tempting home bakes there are difficult choices to be made. There’s Bere Benedict: the local ancient grain baked into a fine bread topped with butcher’s ham, poached egg and a rich hollandaise sauce. Hasselbacks are another popular specialty here, with local bacon, seasonal themes, Orkney cheese and a drizzle of sour cream. The Orkney crab pictured was also irresistible. The menu suggestions are absolutely delicious, with a map included to illustrate where on the isles the produce has come from, so if you are visiting Orkney this café is a must.
They also stock our book, “Meadows: The Swedish Farmer & The Scottish Cook,” pictured here beside a glorious scarf, coincidentally called Summer Meadow, and one of a range of scarves designed by Sheila, reflecting her heritage.
We took over a dozen food-loving Swedes from Slow Food Scania (pictured with Sheila) on a trip to Orkney and they still talk of their experience years later they had such a wonderful time – the seafood dish and North Ronaldsay Pies at Sheila’s Kirk Cafe are now legendary.