Scotland is great at a lot of things. Deep frying and inventing shit, to name a few.
But few things made in Scotland can stand up to the pure beauty of a full Scottish breakfast. Square sausage, bacon, eggs, potato scone, baked beans and black pudding – there’s next to nothing that combination can’t cure.
With a few hours to kill on a midweek morning, I find myself at Loch Lomond Shores, hankering for a proper feeding. The Balcony Bar and Grill looks welcoming enough and promises “panoramic views” of the loch. With a slight mist over the water and sunshine trying to break through, it’s a day to take in the sights while eating.
I’m torn between the Full and the Ultimate Scottish Breakfast, the latter offering twice the meat. I opt to keep it tidy and order the smaller version along with a latte.
Asking the waiter to hold the mushrooms (I hate the filthy fuckers), he offers to give me something extra instead. “A second piece of sausage maybe?” I know right away me and this guy are gonna be pals.
I take a table right at the window, thinking it’s a little too chilly to sit outside. And the views are indeed amazing.
My coffee comes out and I ask for some sweeteners, which the staff reveal they don’t have. This is the only negative point, and it’s all too common in the UK. Establishments need to realise there are many reasons a person might want artificial sweetener – from weight loss to diabetes or simply because they prefer the taste. And a wee dispenser of 3000 sweeteners costs next to nothing.
I’m so used to this oversight now that I don’t mention it and sip at a hot drink that could have been far better with a pill or two of that sweet, sweet chemical.
The breakfast follows a little bit later, and immediately I’m relieved I didn’t choose the Ultimate version. This is a big old portion, and I’m delighted to see they haven’t measured a tiny amount of baked beaks out. It’s pretty much half a can, which is exactly the right amount that you can put some on your toast and have some with every bite of sausage.
And the black pudding is of the Stornoway variety. If you’ve never had it, stop what you’re doing right now and go get some. It makes every other black pudding scurry off in fear.
So with the food winning top marks, I look around the place and can see it’s slick, clean and modern and it’ll be hella busy on a Friday or Saturday night. The staff are chatty and I even get a brief, helpful history lesson.
And if the dinner matches up to the standard of the breakfast, I know I’m gonna love my next visit to The Balcony.