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The Wee Choo Choo is a Big Go Go

LISTEN: Fergus and Isara McCallum explain what the Pitlochry Thai restaurant is all about

Plans for a Thai themed restaurant in Pitlochry are set to go ahead after the council approved for the idea to serve the international cuisine from inside restored railway carriages.

The McCallum family behind the ambition are restoring two passenger carriages from the age of British railroads.

Fergus McCallum, husband and father to Isara and Mia, said: “The restaurant’s core principle is to be different. It’s to be traditional Thai food, the sort of food you would get if you were a Thai person living in the Thai countryside, so genuine.

“And then, on top of that, to use local produce from Perthshire, and from Scotland, and only to use Thai vegetables only when there’s no possibility of using Scottish produce, and then to get that here as quick as possible and as fresh as possible.

“And to couple that with the whole concept of the train which is around environmental friendliness, so reusability, recyclability, buying local, trying to encourage people to come to us using the multiple sustainable transport options that are available.

“So that’s it in a nutshell, brilliant food, cooked well, authentic as we can possibly make it and trying to do as little harm to the environment as possible.”

After councillors met to discuss the plans, the majority decided to vote in favour of allowing the premises to set up shop.

Highland Ward councillor, John Duff, said: “I am pleased that the majority of Committee members recognised the economic benefits and employment opportunities which this innovative and exciting venture brings.

“I appreciate the concerns regarding the loss of parking spaces and the Committee required a developer contribution towards creating additional parking within the town which will be added to the funds which the Council has also set aside for this. 

“A lease of the ground has now to be negotiated with the Council but I wish the McCallum family well with their business.”

However, the decision was reached after concerns for the reduced car parking were raised as a result of the carriages being placed on top of car parking just off Rie­-Achan Road.

Although Mr McCallum said that as part of the dialogue in starting the business, they’ll help contribute to making up for the losses.

He said: “I personally think that people like Xander McDade and councillor Duff have really good ideas on how to create addiotnal parking spaces.

“So, they seem to have the ideas, and the drive and the passion to create additional spaces, far more than are being lost here.

“So, I totally support councillor McDade and Duff’s drive to do so and we will, as we said yesterday in the planning application, be very willing to make a contribution.”

For the McCallum’s the project is about inviting new people and new faces into the town and starting a dialogue between old and new.

Mr McCallum added: “I’m open to the understanding that what I don’t think is a problem might be worry somebody else. And let’s talk it through and let’s find something that makes them happier.

“So, that’s it, we want to be good corporate neighbours and good real neighbours.”

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