Plate With A View: Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, Argyll, Scotland
Saturday 22 May 2004
The whole world may be at a Loch Fyne Oyster Bar these days (there are about 25 in the UK), but Gordon Brown and John Prescott went back to basics and pulled in at the original one, in Argyll, for their recent political powwow.
The whole world may be at a Loch Fyne Oyster Bar these days (there are about 25 in the UK), but Gordon Brown and John Prescott went back to basics and pulled in at the original one, in Argyll, for their recent political powwow. The restaurant, which began as a humble oyster farm in the late 1970s, has already been dubbed the new Granita, after the Islington eaterie where Blair and Brown are thought to have made their secret pact in 1994. In reality, it's anything but. Where Granita was all about style, Loch Fyne is pure substance. Inside the small, whitewashed building, simple freshly cooked food is served, in sensible portions, on solid wooden tables.
You don't have to be an oyster fan. The seafood side of the menu ventures as far as moules marinières (with mussels fromthe adjacent loch), kiln-roasted salmon and chilli-dressed tuna, while steaks and sausages offer meatier comfort food. Oysters voluptuous enough to make even a politician blush are about as gimmicky as it gets.
Like Gordon himself, it's of a peculiarly dour Scottish beauty. Drive down from the aptly named Rest and Be Thankful pass, and the view empties as wide as a growling stomach; below you, on the far shore of the loch, is the small huddle of buildings that includes the restaurant. In summer, sit by the glass windows in front and watch a pale sun skim across the loch. In winter, snuggle up in the cosy back section, using the soft grey mist outside as your excuse for whiling away the afternoon.
About £25 a head for a hearty three courses with coffee but not drinks.
Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, Cairndow (01499 600236; www.loch-fyne.com) open 9am to 8.30pm daily in summer
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