Starter Culture: The friendly neighbourhood cheese and wine shop in Shawlands

Inside the Shawlands cheese shop and deli that transforms into a cosy weekend wine bar.

Rachna Dheer is the owner and general manager of Starter Culture, an artisan cheese, wine and deli shop that offers charcuterie, baked goods, craft beers, hampers and delicacies from speciality producers.

The shop on Pollokshaws Road transforms into a cosy wine bar from 6pm to midnight on a Friday and Saturday, complete with a selection of wines served by the glass alongside delicious charcuterie sides.

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"My background was as a chef at Babu Bombay Street Kitchen. I met so many small producers making things like chutneys, james, Scotch eggs, lots of lovely pasta and, of course, cheese” Rachna explains.

“I don’t live far from the shop, and I knew that we didn’t have a cheese shop in Shawlands, while there were two in the West End. Living in the Southside, I knew there was a gap in the market. We started as pop-up back in 2018, which went down really well - so I started the process of transforming the old jewellers on Pollokshaws Road into a cheese shop” she says.

“We opened just before Covid, so when it hit we had to become a delivery service overnight. It was a stressful time as we didn’t even have a website at that point. But because we served the community with these treats, and there isn’t and has never been a service like ours in Shawlands, the local people of the Southside really supported us.

Rachna DheerRachna Dheer
Rachna Dheer

“Through word of mouth through friends and family and the local community, we were doing around 40-50 deliveries a week, and we were able to get through. When restrictions loosened we opened up as a cheese and wine shop with support from the micro-producers I had built up relationships with from my days trawling through farmers markets as a chef.

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“Now the people of Shawlands were able to get these microbatch produce directly from local producers which they just couldn’t get before.

“Shawlands has really turned round in the last 5-10 years, it’s become more gentrified with younger people, hipsters, families from the West End moving down, and of course, the people who’ve lived here their whole lives.

“It’s a real bright mix of people. It’s what makes Shawlands great. It’s incredible place to live and to run a shop. The place is thriving with lots of new shops opening and staying open which is great.

Cafe Strange Brew helped make Shawlands what it is now, Bramble was also instrumental in building up the hospitality scene here. The thing about Shawlands is it’s independent businesses through and through

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Through My Shawlands, all these independent business owners pay a levy to help make Shawlands even better. The money put forward by My Shawlands goes towards festivals and Christmas events, murals by street artists, and litter picking to make the streets cleaner and even more beautiful.

Living in Shawlands is just fantastic, it’s so great with so many exciting shops, and loads of lovely things to see and do with a great mix of people.”

Starter Culture, 1052 Pollokshaws Rd, Shawlands, Glasgow G41 3EB

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