“ Address: 3 Castle Street / Kirkwall / KW15 1HD / Scotland / Tel: +44 1856 871000 „
The Reel is a cafe in Kirkwall, the main town of the Orkney Isles, located on Albert Street next to St Magnus Cathedral.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the name, The Reel is musically themed and is also home to a music school. Scottish music is played in the cafe, and there is a piano and other instruments on display. The menus and other notices all have a musical theme. The decor is pleasantly eclectic: there are large mirrors on the walls, and benches painted random bright colours. The cafe has a reasonable amount of seating inside, but is not huge - we had no problems getting a table on both visits, although it was busy. There is more seating outside, which would be nice on a warm day (although our visit to Orkney had great weather, it was still a little too cool to sit outside!).
During our recent trip to Orkney, my parents and I visited The Reel twice for lunch. Lunch is served until 2.30pm, however on our first visit we were late at 2.40pm - but the very kind and friendly staff said they would make us lunch.
The menu is on a board by the bar, which is a little inconvenient as you have to stand and read it rather than sit at your table prior to ordering at the bar. It explains you can have various types of sandwiches, toasties or paninis with any combination of listed fillings, but gives a list of 15 "favourites" as a guide.
These favourites have the best names I've ever seen. They are mostly music related but not all. Over the course of our two visits we sample 6 different fillings between us, on white bread, brown bread, panini and toastie. This may be irrelevant but I have to share the names of the ones we had, I was so tickled by them:
Eva Three Step - brie, grape and apple
Banjo Breakdown - bacon, onion and cranberry
Tuna Shandy - tuna, red onion and cheese
Aly and Phil - Mediterranean veg and soft cheese (I also added brie to this as an extra filling)
Sweet Berry Boogie - brie and cranberry
Tutti Frutti Chicken - chicken, mango chutney and apple
One of my favourite sandwich names was actually the one I didn't get to try. On our first visit when we were late, there was one thing they had run out of - mushrooms. This meant I couldn't have my first choice of brie and mushroom toastie which was called...wait for it...Skara Brie!!!
All the sandwiches we had were delicious. The fillings and bread were fresh, there was plenty of filling in each and they were served with a decent helping of crisps. There were no complaints about any of them, not even a slight niggle - impressive given we had 6 different ones. It shouldn't be hard to get a sandwich or toastie right, but when you visit a cafe like this where they make them perfect and on such a pleasant atmosphere, you realise how mediocre some places are.
Service was good. We ordered at the bar and got our drinks there and then, with a number for our food. We didn't wait long for food, around 5-10 minutes both times. The staff were friendly and efficient, and the fact they served us food when we were actually too late makes them angels in my eyes - it was a late lunch and I was hungry!
The sandwiches were all very reasonably priced. They ranged from £2.70 to £3.15 for a white or brown bread sandwich, and a little more for a toastie or panini. Extra fillings could be added for 30p each. We also had coffees and soft drinks. On both visits the bill came to around £14.
The fact that we went back twice shows how good it was. We like to try different places on holiday, even if we find somewhere good. The day we did try somewhere else in Kirkwall, we wished we had gone to The Reel!
If you're looking for lunch in Kirkwall, it has to be The Reel.