The Harbour Cafe at Venachar Lochside (Callander)

Location: Callander, Scotland
Address: Trossachs Leisure Ltd (FK17 8HP)
Type of Meal: Lunch

While travelling with Discreet Scotland, our guide stopped by The Harbour Café located in a secluded area overlooking Loch Venachar.  Whether you sit inside in the dining room or on the patio, you get to take in the spectacular view, as shown from the picture below.

The Harbour Cafe provided me with the opportunity to try another Scottish delicacy the cullen skink (£5.50). The best part is the fish broth base bringing such a rich seafood flavour to the soup.  With the addition of smoked haddock, potatoes, leeks a dash of white wine and cream, there’s also a smoky and hearty feel to the cullen skink. Although it looks like chowder, the consistency is thinner and more like broth; so, it’s not too heavy. Some may find it a tad salty, but it was perfect for dipping the hunk of fresh Scottish bread into. The Harbour Cafe gives a pretty substantial portion so that the cullen skink is a meal in itself.

Their cheeseburger (£9.45) was also delicious and the first I've had in Scotland which was flame broiled – something about that charred smoky taste is what makes the burger.  Sitting on a soft toasted bun, there is a layer of tomato and onion relish which mellows everything out and adds a hint of sweetness. Accompanying the burger were some of the most amazing chips (fries) - crispy, fluffy and just the perfect amount of salt all fried up to a beautiful golden colour. 

As you walk in, you're tempted by freshly made bakery items on display. One guest got a scone and noted it was one of the best he's ever eaten.  For dessert, I had a bite of the lemon and ginger cake (£2.95) which was very moist but the frosting a bit sweet for my taste.

Venachar Lochside was a great place - beautiful views, laid back service and delectable food at a reasonable price.  Special thanks to Matthew at Discreet Scotland Tours for introducing me to this wonderful place. 

Overall mark - 9 out of 10

Like the blog? You can now follow me on twitter for notifications -

Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!