Usually your intrepid investigator turns up fully briefed for a mission, but this time I acted on a whim and how I wished I hadn’t.
Not because the experience at the Mountain Café was bad. In fact, it was exactly the opposite.
I could happily have eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner from this gem (and you can, because they serve a full menu) but unfortunately I stumbled upon it just an hour before a dinner reservation elsewhere, which meant I had to restrict myself to cakes and coffee.
And thanks to the massive display of cakes that covered two sections of their counter, that was a tough choice.
Although not my first trip to Aviemore, I’d never noticed the Mountain Café before.
It’s located towards the far end of the main street, above an outdoor sports clothing store and is accessed through the shop’s door and up the stairs (or by a side door if it’s outwith store hours).
It was a dreich, rainy day, so wet that we decided to take shelter and have a coffee to warm up. It was then we noticed the Mountain Café.
The first clue that this was somewhere special was when we came to a halt halfway up the stairs, as people queued to get in.
Once inside, we took a seat at a table in the centre of the room.
It would’ve been nice to sit in front of the long window but these tables were full and since it was dark we wouldn’t have seen what I’m sure were the stunning views of the Cairngorms anyway.
The second clue that this place was doing well was when I made my way to the toilet and passed a wall of framed newspaper articles lauding the café’s achievements.
Once back at my seat a quick internet search on my mobile phone revealed the Mountain Café has won a string of nominations and awards, including being shortlisted for The Good Food Guide’s
Readers’ Restaurant of the Year award for the past three years.
After studying the huge selection of cakes and trying to decide which wouldn’t ruin dinner, I opted for the melting moment and a scone of the fruit variety.
I’m not sure how long a moment is, but it’s probably longer than it took me to devour this melting one. Plump, light and packed with a big splodge of home-made vanilla, this was excellent.
The scone was just as good.
Again it was a healthy size and packed full of fruit. It was crumbly without being dry and my only complaint was it might have been even better had it been offered warmed.
With that, we made our way to dinner, promising we would return to the Mountain Café in the future for dinner. And breakfast. And lunch. And another cake or three.