They say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” We’re not in Rome, we’re actually in Oban, seafood capital of Scotland and, to be more precise about our location, we’re at Ee-Usk, which claims to be the ‘seafood capital of Oban’ and so, we are eating seafood. Oysters, Mussels and Lobster to be precise and my mussels are the most delicious I’ve ever tasted. My husband, Richard’s waxing lyrical about the oysters he’s eating and we’re enjoying the sunshine and a glass of prosecco. What could be finer?
It’s only the second time in my life I’ve eaten lobster – and the first time paying for it myself – but it is so readily available here in Oban so as to be affordable and it’s too good an opportunity to miss. The flesh was sweet and succulent and I soon got to grips with the claws (if you’ll pardon the pun). (This beauty was £26.) Oh, and if you were wondering about the name of the restaurant, ‘Ee-Usk’ – it means ‘Fish’ (Phonetic Gaelic).
Our trips often focus on food, and foodie experiences, which is why we’ve decided to holiday on the west coast of Scotland, where we’ve come in search of great dining experiences like this one.
We’re staying at the Loch Melfort Hotel, just south of Oban and we seem to have brought the weather with us. Two locals have already told us that this is the sunniest week they’ve had since April so, I think we’ve timed it just right.
“Oh, wow!” I exclaimed, when we entered our room. “What a view!” Loch Lomond was the first Loch I’d seen – (we’d stopped off there on our journey) and now, here I was with Loch Melfort on my doorstep.
And here was one of our neighbours.
The hotel is a great agritourism destination: as well as the cattle, the owners, Callum and Rachel Ross also have chickens in the grounds, supplying the eggs for breakfast. Food is clearly important at the Loch Melfort hotel and whether you’re dining in the AA 2 Rosette Asknish Bay Restaurant or the Charteroom II Bistro, there certain to be something to tickle your taste buds. In the Bistro, I had the Loch Melfort Langoustines grilled with butter, followed by a delicious hand-thrown pizza that would not have been out of place in Rome. The following night, whilst trying not to make eye contact with the handsome chap in the photo above, we had their ‘Aberdeen Angus Beef Fillet Steak served with Home-made Chips, Crispy Onion Rings and Roast Cherry Tomatoes’.
Formerly, Arduaine House, the hotel adjoins the magnificent Arduaine Garden, now owned by the National Trust for Scotland. We enjoyed exploring the garden yesterday and although the weather was a little cloudier, the micro-climate in the garden meant we were warm and we were quite sheltered, despite the breeze coming off the loch. The garden has a stunning collection of ferns and, if you visit at the right time of year, the stunning azaleas and rhododendrons will be in flower.
With the great weather holding, we enjoyed a lovely day driving round Loch Leven, stopping off at Glencoe, Ballachulish and Kinlochleven. We even enjoyed a spot of sunbathing.
Our next stop is Mull. Will this glorious weather continue? Let’s hope so.