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  • Writer's pictureSharon Wilson

The Real Food Cafe, Tyndrum


This iconic roadside pit stop is in Tyndrum, the busy gateway to the Highlands. 

Mr Bite and I have driven past the cafe many times and admired its facade so it was great to get the opportunity to review it.

Those of a certain vintage may remember the cafe as a Little Chef but the present owner Sara Howard took the reins 19 years ago. 

Tyndrum is a vortex of coach parties, bikers, families, dogs, cars, and walkers and although The Real Food Cafe is always busy it manages also to be an oasis of calm. Large windows expose nature (there’s a row of bird feeders outside) and muffle the outside commotion. If you suffer from overwhelm it’s a good retreat. 

Fish 'n' Chips features traceable fish, cripsy fluffy chips

Mr Bite observes that the haddock is MSc certified and a chalkboard above the fryers and hotplates identifies the  Langsoy Trawler in the  Barents Sea, Spitzbergen (Norway)  as the vessel we can thank for today’s catch. 

Provenance joins traceability in the cafe’s portfolio of ethical standards. The beer we drink is from Loch Lomond Brewery; a  Blonde and Bonnie and a Southern Summit complement our food.

First up are Jalapeño Bites;  a mix of cream cheese and chilli peppers with a chilli sauce piques our appetite. They are light and crispy as all dishes are served to order. This is noted with Mr Bite’s Fish and Chips also. Not only is the dish award-winning but the café is a Coeliac UK Accredited Caterer, with an A grade rating for its gluten-free fish and chips. 

Vegans and vegetarians are also catered for. 

The menu features homemade soup, Scotch beef and venison burgers, Scottish salmon, home baking and organic and fair-trade coffee. I choose the Salmon Salad with fish from Letterfinaly Smokehouse near Fort William. Serious contenders are a Chip Butty (only £4) and Fish Chowder. 

Service is outstanding and there is a prestigious listing on ‘The Best Places to Work in Hospitality’ Awards 2023, run by The Caterer magazine. The awards identify and showcase the Top 30 operators who lead the way in people engagement and workplace culture.

We leave with a doggy bag of sausage rolls and home-baking (Haggis and Pork Sausage Roll was declared third best in the land at the annual ‘Great Sausage Roll Off’ competition held in London in February). Jeremy Vine “loved it”. 

I can’t see us ever driving past the Real Food Cafe again without succumbing to its siren call of temptation. 

Oh, and speaking of doggies there is a dog and boot washing station at the entrance to the Cafe. But, it’s not just a dog-friendly cafe it's an everyone-friendly cafe. (S. Wilson) 

Real Food Cafe - Tyndrum, Crianlarich, FK20 8RY - 01383 400235

Closes 9 pm.

Mountain view

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