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In my final Isle of Skye blog I’ll be reviewing Cafe Sia, a place that had been recommended to me as a sensible eating experience while in Broadford.

I’m not a great one for recommendations but the opportunity of a bit of Haggis pre-race filled me with a childish glee and you’re right I don’t normally bother with food reviews on my running blog because it’s a running blog but when somethings worthwhile, well it’s worthwhile and I think this is worth sharing.
My experience

All in all I ate four times at Cafe Sia across a four day period with the whole of Saturday being taken out by the Skye Trail Ultra and Sunday lunchtime taken out by being asleep.
The setting for Cafe Sia is a little way back from the main through road of Skye with around 60 covers. There’s some pleasant bench style seating on the exterior and the inside is an eclectic mix of dark wood and soft furnishing – it’s cosy and stylish but not at the cost of being friendly. Perhaps the word I’m looking for is cosmopolitan but that’s not right either, perhaps it’s best described as ‘uniquely itself’ and all the better for it.

When I first arrived I was offered the choice of the available tables and I took one near the rear of the building next to a door with a gentle breeze and a clear view of the kitchen. On the main bar there were staff hanging out, delivering orders and operating the large wonderful smelling coffee machine, to the far side was a collection of delicious looking cakes. I browsed the menu – supplied on a clip board – just gimmicky enough to be cute but retain its practicality. I chose the thing on the menu I had come here for – The Highland Melt and dipped up to counter to order.

I ordered my sandwich alongside a thick tasty chocolate milkshake and soon I was greeted by the sight of bread, cheese and haggis served on square slate plates with a small but perfectly formed dressed side salad. This was the Haggis elevated to a new level of delight. Being hungry I devoured the lot in mere seconds, thanked my excellent hosts and departed but I’d be back.

Post race briefing I decided I needed something for dinner before I grabbed some sleep in preparation for the Skye Trail Ultra. I did check out the fish and chip shop but didn’t fancy anything on offer – although it did smell delightful. Instead I meandered back to Cafe Sia and ordered the fabulous Raspberry Ripple milkshake and what was pleasantly misleading described as a fish finger sandwich. I sat alone outside on the decked seating area and again enjoyed the surroundings and my food. I’d only wanted something light and this was perfect just a few hours before the race.

It would be another 38hrs, a 74 mile race and a Flash Gordon adventure before I would return and it was a triumphant return. I ambled in with my hiking poles – which although I couldn’t use them in the race I could use to get me round Skye – and was offered one of the few seats remaining, it was a nice window seat with more than enough room for me to spread out and also quietly observe the busy restaurant around me. Even on a busy night like this and on my own I didn’t feel uncomfortable or unwelcome.

Service was as excellent as my previous visits and I ordered the hottest pizza on the menu with scotch bonnet chilli and spicy Scottish sausage with thick tasty tomato sauce and enough cheese to make it feel hearty. I added a large portion of potato wedges because I felt I’d earned them and an ice cold Irn-Bru (otherwise known as the drink of champions).

What surprised me was just how hot and spicy the pizza was yet retaining all the flavour I was hoping for, this was a considered flavour combination and I hoovered the pizza up with my post race runger – I knew I’d had something special, plus I’d eaten like a king for less than £20.

I went back to my accommodation that night, my hunger truly sated.

Having packed up that evening I realised that my bus stop for the journey back to Inverness started outside Cafe Sia, I therefore took the opportunity to dip inside and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. I was asked very politely if I’d mind leaving my gigantic rucksack outside in the porch area, which I happily did as you really don’t want to be tripping over bags.

I settled on the Eggs Benedict and a flat white – the smell of the freshly ground coffee had been luring me in all weekend. Of course I added in a final chocolate milkshake too and I sucked deeply on the milkshake straw and as I did the events of the weekend flooded back in my mild head freeze.

Skye had been amazing and Cafe Sia had played a significant part in that.

As you might expect giving my glowing experience of Cafe Sia the eggs benedict lived up to my expectations – they were a freshly cooked class act. I shan’t attempt to convey the taste but if I simply say ‘Yum’ you probably get the meaning. A second cup of the delicious coffee followed and my culinary journey in Skye was complete.

In conclusion I can say, without reservation, that food in Scotland, or at least at Cafe Sia is a delight. The Isle of Skye has a little gem that is as popular with the locals as it is with the visitors such as myself. If you’re in Broadford then the foody delights at this hotspot could power you up some hilly climb, help you recover from your exertions or simply serve you some outstandingly delicious nosh.

Now importantly, while the food was exceptional there was a thing that bettered it – the service. During my various visits the service was always warm and welcoming but also professional – let me assure you many a decent London restaurant could learn a thing or two from Cafe Sia regarding service.

So what are you waiting for? I’ve given you three great reasons to visit the Isle of Skye – ultra running, great food and Flash Gordon – enjoy!

N.B. During high season its recommended to book for the evening meals but believe me it’s worth the booking. Bon appetit!

Follow Cafe Sia on Twitter at @CafeSiaSkye or visit www.cafesia.co.uk for the full menu

Toes: looks at us

UltraBoy: I can’t, you disgust me

Toes: we do so much for you

UB: but you also ruin my life

Toes: how can you say that? We drag you round races, help you stand, wiggle provocatively in the direction of good looking ladies and even curl up when you’re feeling sick

UB: All true but it’s the other things like…

Toes: like what???

UB: well I was just going to say…

Toes: oh the blisters?

UB: well for a start

Toes: your fault, inadequate preparation

UB: yes but second biggest toe grew too long which is why it rubs, some responsibility must be yours for that? A failure to stop growing is…

Toes: you’re now blaming me for growing in proportion?

UB: well…

Toes: no, no – let’s explore this

UB: I’m just saying your disgusting
Toes: so what you’re saying is that your inadequate foot preparation, your toe waxing, your near constant toenail biting, wearing inappropriate footwear and your over running are in some way my responsibility? The fact your toes bleed each night is something you think is a problem with me and not you and that you have bits of skin so hard that you have to dig them out of my like some cack handed surgeon? You UltraBoy are unreal! Long before you became a long distance runner you had the worlds worst toes – running just gives you an excuse to blame me!

UB: but…

Toes: don’t interrupt, your toes are in full rant mode – which is spectacular because we have no mouth through which we can speak but still we demand a bit more respect, perhaps even a visit to the doctor so that those ingrowing toenails can be removed, so that all that epic hard skin can be treated and so that when you look at me, when you gaze down at your two little buddies found constantly at the bottom of your legs you think, ‘they aren’t bad’.

My toes had a point but I’m a childish and vengeful and so sat in my bathroom I yanked at my big toe and pulled out the enormous heap of dead skin and nail that had been digging deep into my toe for the last three months – blood spurting across the floor I raised the sharp, tough mess of skin and nail aloft and cried a bit.

I need to go to a doctor and insist that all my nails are removed as I think this may solve a lot of my toe running problems – but it might leave them unprotected. If anyone has managed to reach the end of this blog post then I’d be keen to hear from runners who have elected to have their toenails removed on a permanent basis and about their post removal running experiences. My toes are furious I’m contemplating this but I believe it’s in their best interests.

Finally below is the sharpness that’s been digging into the side of my big toe for three months. This is fair warning – dead skin alert!!! Dead nail alert!!!!

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Doesn’t look like much does it? Let me guarantee it has hurt like a bugger every time I’ve run. My toes should be glad I pulled it out!

20140126-121925 pm.jpgThis morning was a simple three stage affair – 5km bike ride, 5km run, 5km bike ride, half of effort was very uphill and the other half was nicely downhill. The weather added in an unpleasant challenge and as the rain lashed my face I did wish I was still tucked up in bed but hey ho, all fun. Hope everyone else has had glorious Sunday running.

Additionally I’d like to say I wasn’t advertising either the colour blue or OMM today, I just chose a very OMM and blue kit!

I’m also adding a dog picture to this post because dogs make me happy, especially my dogs who were waiting for me when I got home. Cute 🙂

On a final note for this posting I’d really like to say thank you for all the support and responses to my posting about my ‘running argument’. There has been a huge amount of messages and conversation about the value of tweeting and blogging about running and the need for community. Needless to say I won’t be leaving the blogging and twitter community, not because I think I’m something special, but because you guys are amazing and being part of this wonderful community is helping drive me on to a successful. 2014.

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