Last weekend we spent a really enjoyable two days North of the border in Scotland with fellow Globetroffers T&K. From Yorkshire it’s a good three hours to Glasgow, then we travelled a further two and a half hours to Argyllshire on the western side of the highlands – so it’s no quick jaunt but the scenery really is stunning up there and the lochs and mountains are a wonderful backdrop to any foodie adventure.
As it turned out, the hotel Groupon deal we bought was a hit and miss affair, with the emphasis on miss – though I have to say we’ve not laughed this much in ages. We were on a trip down memory lane as it was a hotel we’d previously visited twenty-three years ago as callow twenty somethings…would the hotel have changed and would we notice the difference?
Well, yes and yes.
But this post isn’t about the hapless Fawlty Towers style service we endured and the random nature of the hotel food, but the sublime lunch we had at the original Loch Fyne Oyster Bar and restaurant, which is conveniently situated right on the banks of the loch.
We decided to dine out on saturday lunch at the first and best version of the Loch Fyne chain – streets ahead of its chain brothers and sisters by the way – as our dinner the previous night had been deeply traumatic!
Anyway, the Oyster Bar is actually a very large wood built restaurant with a lot of covers and masses of spankingly fresh fish. We were in heaven. This is a proper foodie destination with quality shellfish, fish and other delicious highland fare. J and I opted for a dozen mixed oysters which included Fyne natives – all remarkable. T&K had the soup from the specials board which far from being dull delivered rich comfort. Mains for us were lobster for me with chilli, garlic and coriander (had to be done) and mussels for J (ditto) with sea bream and salmon fulfilling their destiny for T&K. It was all beautifully on point and the service was impeccable too.
It might be in the middle of nowhere but it’s very much a destination.
We washed all this down with a couple of bottles of house (French) chardonnay, light and unoaked and although everyone complained they were stuffed, my lunch was so light I could have scoffed a pud but decided it would look greedy. This was seafood of the highest order, right up there with Hix or Stein in Cornwall, and proof that when your ingredients are as good as this, just keep it simple and you will delight the crowd.
And we were delighted. Heading back to the Flowery Twats hotel, we were ready to face the vagaries of the evening meal safe in the knowledge we’d had a marvellous lunch.
Well worth the detour if you’re in the (rather large but very dramatic) neighbourhood.