Ex-China Crisis member Andy hoping for hit after swapping pop for coffee shop in Hawick

Andy Steele at Hawick's Borderville vegan cafe.
Andy Steele at Hawick's Borderville vegan cafe.

A professional musician is hoping he has a culinary hit on his hands after opening a vegan cafe in Hawick.

Andy Steele was a long-time member of China Crisis, touring extensively with the Liverpool pop group in their latter years as a keyboard player, and he has also released three solo albums of his own music.

Andy Steele at Hawick's Borderville vegan cafe.

Andy Steele at Hawick's Borderville vegan cafe.

The 50-year recently moved to Hawick after his partner Rachel took up a post as a drama teacher at the town’s high school.

The couple, parents to a three-year-old daughter, Gracie, have just launched a vegan cafe, Borderville, at the town’s Bourtree Place.

Andy has put his music on the back-burner for the time being as he pours all his energies into making the new venture a success.

He said: “We started off doing this vegan thing from a market stall in Alnwick, where there was a food festival.

“The last one we did was in December and it was so cold I thought ‘I’m not doing that anymore’, and that’s when we moved indoors and found the premises in Hawick when we moved here.

“The idea was to do something that was a little bit different, to do the vegan thing, the plant-based thing and the gluten-free thing wherever possible. In fact, I think there is only one thing on the menu now that has gluten in it now.

“There are a lot of coffee shops in Hawick, and wandering up the High Street I don’t think Hawick needs another coffee shop – that’s how it seemed to me – and I thought if we are going to do this, let’s do something completely different and prepare fresh, healthy food which is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free.

“That was the angle. It was different and something Hawick didn’t really have.

“The response has been great. In the few weeks we have been doing it, the Facebook page has been getting lots of attention.

In the meantime, we try and keep the menu ticking over and see what works and doesn’t work.”

After releasing solo albums of his own songs, Andy ended up playing piano in restaurants to earn a crust and decided it was time for a change of career.

He added: “I decided it was a young man’s game.

“I was playing piano for a restaurant chain, and there was a lot of travelling and Gracie had come along.

“I’d had enough in the end, but I’ve found out that Hawick has a lively music scene, so I might get involved at some point in the future.”

China Crisis, led by vocalist Gary Daly and guitarist Eddie Lundon, enjoyed UK chart success in the early 1980s with the hits Wishful Thinking, Black Man Ray and King in a Catholic Style (Wake Up) and still tour to this day.