Ullapool seems impossibly high up in the top left corner of the map of the UK, so it was from there I decided to get the ferry to Stornoway, Lewis. It’s a small picturesque harbour, sunny on the day I visited.
I’d heard of The Seafood Shack, a restaurant run by Fenella and Kirstie, two local fisherman’s wives. A couple of years ago they published an award-winning cookbook, their original take on fish cookery.
It is a shack, a white-washed shabby chic wooden counter where two girls that look like twins but aren’t, serve the menu of the day. Kirstie came down from her office to chat to me and I ordered the tempura battered haddock in a wrap with salad. The fish was fresh, flaky, the taste of the sea with a creamy citrus mayonnaise. It’s locally caught, meaning it doesn’t go down to Billingsgate in London and then get sent back up again to the place of origin.
You don’t have basics like fish and chips, I say. ‘We decided never to have chips on our menu. Plenty of other places do that’ Kirstie explained.
They are only open April to October and take the winter off to recover from the summer season. Both women have young children, so they are juggling! Kirstie is a true Ullapool local while Fenella comes from Achmore, just a few miles south towards Mallaig.
Since they first opened in 2016, they’ve been awarded several accolades: BBC Food and Farming ‘Best Street Food’ in 2017, the Jane Grigson Trust award for best new food writers in 2020, and appeared on TV and in articles.
It’s lovely to see two young women being celebrated for entrepreneurship and the food is absolutely stunning. Worth the trip!
At the entrance Rhidorroch Distillery is a pop-up shed serving cocktails from a local gin makers. Gin and tonic pairs beautifully with fish!
This was part of my camper van trip which I booked with CamperDays . This is my idea of a superb road trip: driving around tasting food and drink, using local ingredients to cook. Their vans are available to rent from £120 a night, sleep up to six people, have a gas stove and oven, a fridge, heating, and electricity.