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The Hungry Highlander

Home > Scottish Highlands > Food and Wine | Fish and Chips | Cafes | Burgers | Restaurants
by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce (subscribe)
Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at:
Published November 25th 2017
Better Burgers in Beautiful Ballater, Breamar, Balmoral
Any trip to Scotland by a foodie must of necessity include some form of haggis and 'a supper'.

On our recent trip through Scotland, it was top of the list which included, Scottish salmon, venison and Lorne sausage, clootie dumpling and, if we felt brave enough, maybe a deep-fried Mars bar.

We arrived at Braemar in the Highlands on a lovely sunny day with just enough cloud to make the sky interesting.

Hungry Highlander, Ballater, Balmoral, Breamar, Burgers
Ballater from the Hungry Highlander (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)

In the middle of this tiny village Ballater, host to the Braemar Highland Games, we found the Hungry Highlander, a takeaway that specialises it seems in various 'suppers'.

'Supper' in Scotland for those not in the know, means 'with chips'.

Hungry Highlander, Ballater, Balmoral, Breamar, Burgers
The Hungry Highlander, Ballater (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)

We ordered off the chalkboard menu - a Haggis burger supper for me ($8.25) and a veggie burger for Angela ($8.25). These we chose from beef, chicken, venison and a range of puddings - black, haggis, red, white and black haggis.

Hungry Highlander, Ballater, Balmoral, Breamar, Burgers
The chalkboard manu (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)

I asked about deep-fried Mars bars, but the lass behind the counter, in a broad brogue, told me that didn't make them as they had a tendency to explode in the fryer and make a terrible mess.

We ate outside at the garden bench tables with a glorious view of the village and surrounded by a troop of Germans on a motorbike tour of the Highlands, all wearing expensive leathers, riding beautiful machines and lead by a tour guide sporting a St Andrew's flag on his helmet.

They were tucking into haddock, scampi and sausages with gusto, although lord knows what they made of it.

Hungry Highlander, Ballater, Balmoral, Breamar, Burgers
Haggis burger supper (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)

The food was delicious, by British standards a trifle on the expensive side, but tasty and filling, which after all is the point of good, solid food in a cold climate.

Haggis, for those that may not be familiar with this delicious treat, is a savoury pudding containing sheep's pluck (heart, liver and lungs); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt, mixed with stock, traditionally encased in the animal's stomach, but now more usually an artificial casing, like sausages.

With uncharacteristic restraint, the Larousse Gastronomique says "Although its description is not immediately appealing, haggis has an excellent nutty texture and delicious savoury flavour".

Hungry Highlander, Ballater, Balmoral, Breamar, Burgers
Haggis burger supper (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)

It's a very ancient dish, probably of Scottish origin, but not certainly, unlike Lorne sausage which definitely is - and that's basically meatloaf.

All the food we ate in Scotland tended towards the stodgy, but tasty. Portions were always generous, and the breakfasts were spectacular, running to pork sausages, bacon, pudding (black and white) hash browns and eggs - fried, scrambled or poached, frequently with a side order of grilled mushrooms and a mug of steaming tea for the equivalent of about $7.

All in all, we were most pleasantly surprised, having been told the food would be awful, expensive and boring. It was nothing of the sort and we had a wonderful time. the food excellent and the people welcoming.

Highly Recommended.
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Why? Good freshly cooked Highland delicacies.
When: Thursday to Sunday 4am to 7pm
Phone: 44 1339 741304
Where: 14 invercauld Road, AB35 5YP Ballater, Aberdeenshire
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