I ALWAYS think you can tell a lot about a café by its range of customers.
And the tastiness of its scones, of course.
We’re making a pit stop in the lovely town of Pitlochry en route to Inverness and have been advised to refuel at Escape Route.
It belongs to the bike hire shop beside it but the café is its own entity.
And it’s clearly very popular with a nice, relaxed atmosphere.
We find all sorts of folk inside – toddlers, teens, young families, grannies, wee dogs and even some leather-clad bikers.
Quite a few, including the young family to our left, have clearly just been out cycling.
I have no such excuse for working up an appetite, although Pitlochry is such a lovely picturesque wee town to explore by foot, especially the walkway along the River Tummel up to the Pitlochry Hydroelectric Dam and its famous Fish Ladder that helps salmon swim upstream.
But when have I ever let my non-existent calorie deficit stand between me and a cake display?
Escape Route has a whole cake counter laden with homemade chocolate and blueberry cake, huge tea loaves, carrot cake, lemon drizzle, shortbread, oatmeal cookies and some monstrous scones.
Looking at the menu chalk board, I find myself oddly craving a haggis baguette with cheese while my companion plays it safe with a tomato and cheese toasty.
Both taste very nice (my baguette seemed freshly baked) and are served with a delicious side salad and coleslaw by cheery servers.
I had already clocked there could be a potential scone shortage so I snapped one of the three left when ordering our lunch.
Smart move, as the burly bikers opposite us later nabbed the others.
My scone is a whopper, not too dry with the odd sweet hit of sultanas and raisins.
It’s a wee bit crumbly and the crust a touch soft, but very tasty nonetheless.
We also share a generous slice of lemon drizzle loaf, which is beautifully moist with just the right level of tartness.
I’d love a second trip to the cake counter but I’m totally stuffed!
It’s easy to see why Escape Route is a popular stop for tourists passing through and locals alike.
The cafe itself is bright and airy with fun and eclectic décor, chunky wooden tables, bright orange chairs, a log burner in one corner and lots of cycling paraphernalia.
They’ve frugally used bike parts from the workshop to decorate.
There’s wheels on the wall wrapped in fairly lights and their take on a stag’s head – a bike seat skull with handlebars for antlers.
You could almost call it, ahem, be-spoke!