The Waterfront Fishouse in Oban: ‘from the pier to the pan, as fast as we can…’
Oban is the seafood capital of Scotland and visitors should make a point of tasting some of the delicious fish that is caught locally. The Waterfront at No.1 Railway Pier is as near to the water as is possible, located in an old Fishermen’s Mission on the harbour front. The restaurant has stunning views over Oban bay, letting you watch boats manoeuvring on the very water from which your meal was caught! With the motto ‘from the pier to the pan, as fast as we can…’, you know that all the ingredients are as fresh as is possible.
Alex Needham is the chef and has been involved with The Waterfront for years. He brought out some freshly caught fish to show us some samples of the types of seafood that is landed daily in Oban. These included hake, skate and cod along with Isle of Mull scallops.
The restaurant has attractive wooden furniture with drawings of local specialties on the blackboard and a bar with bottles stored on asymmetric shelving. Before we got to enjoy the fish we indulged in a couple of oysters. As we were beginners in oyster eating Alex recommended special ways of eating them. One was cooked, making it smoothly creamy and served with chorizo and capers. The other was served raw, but taken with lemon and a dash of Tabasco. Not having eaten oysters many times I was uncertain what to expect but they were delicious. Oysters all round next time I visit Oban!
After the starter Alex returned with the cooked fish, presented attractively in a circle on the white china plate. If you enjoy seafood then Oban really is a must when you are visiting Scotland. In order to retain the character of each type of fish it was quickly cooked in either a pan or under the grill to retain all the texture and flavour.
The small ramekin contained a delicious hot salmon risotto, with parmesan and cornichons giving it an unexpected yet enjoyable bite. The hake was my favourite fish, being soft and gently flavoured compared with the more meaty and flakier cod. The skate was simply cooked and delicious, whilst the scallops were perfectly seared and had a great texture. It was all presented with a citrus cream sauce that complemented the different seafoods without distracting from their individuality.
If you think you know what Sticky Toffee Pudding tastes like then prepare to think again. The Waterfront is rightly famous for its Sticky Toffee Pudding and so we couldn’t leave without trying one. It arrived floating in a sea of caramel with a scoop of ice cream to complement the richness of the sauce. The pudding itself was light and spongy and so moreish that we devoured the whole thing in moments.
Facing west, in the evening the restaurant catches the sunset as the sun disappears behind the Island of Kerrera. The new 2013 menu has just come out and is full of delicious sounding dishes from handmade ravioli to langoustines delivered daily by ‘Gordon the Prawn’! Fishouse Stramash caught my eye.The menu says ‘…it appears to be very messy but is in reality one of the most entertaining aspects of the menu’. It is a selection of local fish and shellfish tossed in garlic, pimento, coriander and lemon with a touch of breadcrumb, baked with a garlic parmesan crust. I know what I am having next time I am in Oban!
More details and to book a table
No 1 Railway Pier
Oban – Scotland – UK
We were guests of The Waterfront, Oban
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