Street food spices up canalside in Fort Augustus



A unique takeaway has launched in Fort Augustus, providing Indian food lovers with a new way to enjoy their favourite snack surrounded by some of Scotland’s most stunning scenery.

Based at Loch Ness View Point, Bhaji Bike is the brainchild of Julia Latif, one half of the successful Our House of Spice business that produces authentic Indian ready meals and curry kits. 

Open Monday to Friday, 11 am to 2 pm (weather and stock permitting), the eye-catching, bright yellow Bhaji Bike sells homemade Indian onion bhajis and mango chutney in 100% biodegradable packaging. 

The idea for the venture arose after Julia and her dad joked about selling curries from a bike when they noticed visitors to Fort Augustus were short on time and wanted something quick and tasty to eat.

With the help of Business Gateway Highland, she refined the idea and worked with Scottish Canals to secure space by The Caledonian Canal before selling her first box of bhajis from the tricycle last week.

She said: “After joking with my dad about selling curries from a bike, I woke up at 3 a.m. that night with the idea to sell bhajis instead! After creating a business plan with the help of my Business Gateway adviser, Mark Mackintosh, I contacted a family-run bike manufacturer who made the tricycle for us. Already, the bike is a real talking point and sales have been fantastic.”

She added: “After moving to the Highlands last year one of my first stops was Business Gateway Highland. My adviser’s local knowledge and strategic advice has not only helped Our House of Spice grow, it has helped the business branch out into two new markets – Indian ready-meals and Indian snacks. With our latest project, Scottish Canals’ support has also been invaluable. By allowing me access to the canalside it has given me the location I needed to get the project off the ground.”

Mark Mackintosh, Business Adviser, said: “Having already set up a successful online business with her sister, Julia came to us for strategic advice on how to grow the company and expand into new markets. With our support, she has updated her business plan and launched two successful ventures this year. Julia has ambitious plans, which includes potentially expanding the Bhaji Bike concept across the country, and with our continued advice we will help her achieve her goals.” 

The original idea for Our House of Spice came about after Julia and her sister, Nadia, took stock when a young friend passed away unexpectedly. Deciding life was too short to not do something they’d always wanted to, the sisters joined forces and launched their Indian spice kit venture online in 2012.

Earlier this year, the company scooped two categories at the National Family Business Awards 2018 – Best Small Business and Rising Star, both for Scotland.

Julia said: “Technology has helped Nadia and I continue to run the business together from two different locations, with Skype giving us an easy way to talk every day and make decisions. Our aim has always been to make cooking and eating as social as possible. We want people to buy a spice kit and get the whole family involved in making a tasty meal. If that’s not possible, people can grab one of our takeaways, heat it up and still enjoy a fresh meal with friends and family. Now, when they are out-and-about we offer them a wholesome Indian snack to enjoy together.”

Find out how Business Gateway Highland can help your business by visiting their local pages or calling 01463 898 466.

Outwith the area? Find your local Business Gateway office or call 0300 013 4753.

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If you need advice on any aspect of starting, running or developing your business, just contact your local Business Gateway office.

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