Review: Glencoe Cafe, Glencoe Scotland

No trip to Scotland is complete without a trip up to the Scottish Highlands. While some travellers will jump straight onto a tour bus that goes up to Loch Ness for a daytrip, I’d recommend renting a car and spending at least two days in the Highlands to truly have time to appreciate the scenery. That’s what we did – renting a cute little eco-cabin in the Glencoe/Ballachulish area with fantastic views of the snow-capped mountains and lochs.

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By the time we spent the morning driving up to Glencoe from Edinburgh, we were more than ready for lunch. That’s what happens when you stop regularly along the way at beautiful outlooks over the Highlands – lunch gets delayed and you get hungry! Luckily Glencoe Café, the only real café in the village, is open almost every day of the week, though times do vary.

Baked Potato with Coronation Chicken, 6.95 GBP
Baked Potato with Coronation Chicken, 6.95 GBP

K was after something particularly hearty, so chose the Baked Potato with Coronation Chicken served with potato chips and a salad on the side. I’d never really encountered ‘Coronation Chicken’ before, but found the roast chicken quite enjoyable with its liberally applied creamy sauce with a slight spice. It made for a particularly tasty topping for the plainer baked potato.

The café owner told us that coronation sauce is made up of a mix of mayonnaise, curry powder and a variety of other spices – you can buy bottles of it in the supermarket, but they make their own. My understanding is that it must be a purely British tradition (perhaps created around the time of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation?) because it’s certainly not something I’ve encountered in Australia before!

Carrot and coriander soup with a pesto, grilled red pepper, tomatoes and Monterey Jack cheese sandwich, 7.25 GBP
Carrot and coriander soup with a pesto, grilled red pepper, tomatoes and Monterey Jack cheese sandwich, 7.25 GBP

I liked the sound of the soup of the day, and chose the Carrot and Coriander Soup with a Cheese, Vegetable and Pesto Sandwich on the side. Unfortunately the ‘coriander’ part of the soup was hard to discern, which makes me suspect that dried coriander had been used in place of its more distinctive fresh cousin. Regardless, it was still a wonderfully sweet and creamy soup.

I liked the simplicity of the sandwich as well with its mix of fresh and pre-prepared ingredients – a tangy cheese paired with sweet grilled capsicum is hard to beat!

Highland Chai Tea (grown in Scotland), 2.25 GBP
Highland Chai Tea (grown in Scotland), 2.25 GBP

I tried a locally grown Highland Chai Tea to go with my lunch – a delicious blend with a strong flavour of cloves and star anise that didn’t overpower the tea blend itself. It’s quite a nice blend to have on its own, and improves the longer it steeps.

Vanilla Slice, 2.25 GBP
Vanilla Slice, 2.25 GBP

We finished our meal by sharing a Vanilla Slice – very different from the vanilla slices that we’re used to Australia and more akin to a chocolate cream slice. I particularly liked the biscuit base with its blend of desiccated coconut that lent the whole slice a bit of texture and flavour.

We had a funny experience while at the Glencoe Café. Seated at the table next to us was an older Scottish couple. The husband was quite chatty, telling us all about his dairy farm in the south of Scotland, debating Scottish and international politics, their trip thus far, the fantastic fishing trip he’d been on…we could barely get a word in edgewise! It also helped to confirm how absolutely terrible I am at deciphering accents – there were times when I could only understand half of what he was saying! Ah, the Scottish accent. I’ll conquer you yet…

Glencoe Café is a great place to drop in for simple homemade food while in the Highlands. If you ask nicely, they’ll even wrap up a few sandwiches for you to take away on a hike through the nearby trails. Well worth dropping in for reasonably priced grub served with a smile!

Glencoe Café is located in Glencoe Village, in the Scottish Highlands. A full address isn’t necessarily – the village is so small that the cafe is hard to miss! 

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