The Mountain Café in Aviemore is so popular that customers queue down the stairs and out onto the street!    Have you not tried it yet?

Until a few weeks ago, our answer to that question had always been  “Not Yet!” as we were always dashing north or south and never had time to stop.

This trip was slightly different as we were already fashionably late, we had a long journey ahead, tummy’s would be rumbling later so a 45mins stop wouldn’t hurt!

The Mountain Café is situated in the centre of Aviemore above Cairngorm Mountain Sports and has   a small car park outside.  There is also a large public car park across the road, so you should have no trouble getting parked.

When we arrived about 3.30pm on a Monday afternoon the queue was right down the stairs, but with excellent queue management, it did move quickly. We actually quite enjoyed our time on the stairs as there’s lots and lots of business cards and flyers plastered everywhere to keep you occupied!  We had planned a massage, mind and body balancing classes, organised photography classes, hired a mountain bike and booked an outdoor instructor for the weekend!! After about 15 minutes wait we got a table for two and couldn’t wait to peruse the menu to see what delights were on offer.  Our outdoor instructor for the weekend became a distant memory!

Despite notices up advising of new staff being trained, everything went very smoothly with no delays with either our order being taken or our food arriving.

The restaurant has built an amazing reputation over the last 10 years, winning lots of awards including being shortlisted for Scottish restaurant of the year in the Good Food Guide 2013. In summer time they have tables and chairs out on the balcony and in winter time the log burner will be on to keep things cosy, so the ideal stopping off point at any time of the year.  There are beautiful views towards the Cairngorms from the windows and balcony.

KJ, the head chef and owner who is originally from New Zealand prefers food to be simple, fresh and full of flavour rather than fussy and over complicated, and the menu certainly follows this ethos.

Mountain Café also won  “Best Café in Scotland” at the 2014 Scottish Baking Awards and it really is no surprise when you see the display of homebaking on offer.  At one end of the restaurant there are well over 20 cake domes filled with every cake you could imagine from New Zealand to Scotland!   Lots of folk were purchasing cakes to take home, so if your belt cannot cope – remember this is always an option.

I decided to have a chicken cranberry and brie panini with salad (£8) and Raymond had halloumi flatbread salad – grilled citrus, chilli and mint marinated halloumi cheese, mixed salad, homemade slaw, honey and mustard dressing and seasoned fries (£10)

We found both meals to be absolutely delicious, with good quality, extremely fresh ingredients and very pleasing flavour combinations.  Portion sizes are very good and it feels good value for money.  The menu has a good range of options and the café also has a separate breakfast menu which is served from 8.30am until 11.30am.
After almost licking the plates we decided that our bellies were too full for cake.  With straining belts and time against us we decided to make tracks back home leaving us the perfect excuse to return.
Although we have passed by many times before without stopping, we will certainly make sure that we have a wee bit “mountain café time” built into our future journeys up or down the A9.
The Mountain café have an excellent website that can be accessed here

The Mountain Café

111 Grampian Road
PH22 1RH
Tel:01479 812 473