Angel to welcome London’s first Scottish deli

Picture this. Freshly baked morning rolls filled with Arbroath smokies or bursting with the finest Aberdeen Angus topside, steaming bowls of cullen skink and scotch broth, aromatic haggis with tattie mash, all rounded off with buttery Ecclefechan tarts, a slice of Dundee cake and the fudgy wonder that is Scottish tablet.

All these Caledonian delights and more are set to come to St John Street with the arrival of ‘The Shoap’ in late summer.

The Auld Hag logo – a haggis-cum-Scottish granny creature

Its founders Gregg Boyd and partner Maddi Simpson started their business ‘Auld Hag’ during the 2021 lockdown, cooking up delicious fare from their flat before making bike deliveries, selling at food markets and pop-ups, and catering for the Scottish government at Scotland House in Blackfriars. Their passion for unleashing Scottish cuisine could not be contained and their dream to open a permanent site is now on the cards.

Named ‘The Shoap’, as in ‘shop’ in Scots dialect, the store is due to launch at 406 St John Street, EC1V 4ND, and will open Monday to Saturday, 8am to 8pm. The couple are now crowdfunding to make their dream a reality and have until July 12 to raise £40,000.

Gregg Boyd outside The Shoap’s new location

Glaswegian Gregg (pictured above) said: “When I moved to London I couldn’t believe Scottish food wasn’t readily available. Where could I get a roll and square sausage or a Scotch pie or a can of Tennents? Where was all of our incredible produce like cheese, soft fruit, seafood and beef? This is where the idea of Auld Hag was born. After a series of weekend markets and pop-ups, we realised there was more to it. There was a need to support the suppliers we had forged relationships with and in turn, find new ones. There was a need to show people the soft drinks made using Scottish soft fruit; the chocolate made in the east end of Glasgow and all the home comforts us Scottish folk miss away from home. There was a need for The Shoap”.

Scottish lamb shoulder burger with mayo made with lamb fat + garlic, plus salsa verde + pickle

The couple is aiming for an earthy feel with the store, using natural materials, wood and exposed brickwork. “Like being in a farm shop in the Highlands but you’ve plonked it into Islington,” explained Gregg.

The Shoap also wants to champion small Scottish producers and hopes to welcome them down for tasting nights and special events.

The roster is set to include:

  • Coffee from Caora Dhubh Coffee Company on the Isle of Skye
  • Beer on draft and in cans from Scottish breweries including Newbarns, Overtone and Simple Things Fermentations
  • Soft drinks from Rapscallion, a Glasgow-based brand which uses Scottish soft fruits such as raspberries and blueberries
  • Bare Bones Chocolate made in the east end of Glasgow
  • Cheese from IJ Mellis cheesemongers from Edinburgh
  • Charcuterie using Scottish pork from producers such as East Coast Cured in Leith
  • Preserves, jams and marmalades from the Isle of Arran
  • And of course Mackie’s crisps, haggis, square sausage and Stornoway black pudding
Haggis, fried tatties, crowdie (soft cheese), St Andrew’s cheddar, beef + chicken gravy

If you would like to support this *braw new venture, visit The Shoap’s Kickstarter page here. You can also follow their progress – and dribble over some mouthwatering delights – on their Instagram page @auldhag_

* Braw = excellent/great/pleasing

Images from Auld Hag instagram + The Shoap Kickstarter page