LANGOUSTINES

Enough of that Scottish scenery, shows us some crustaceans, you cry. Possibly.

Ellenbaich‘s days producing slate are long gone, it’s tours and long lunches now. And garden ornaments.

We’d booked tea (or is it High Tea ?) for 17:30. I know, I hate myself. Looking across the stillness, I wondered how many other folk would actually be in the Oyster Bar.

Possibly not as ancient a pub as Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, or even Nottingham BrewDog, I thought.

We paused to admire the outdoor museum of Covid Compliance (I assume).

It’s important this stuff is preserved for the nation, as we won’t believe this in 2022 when all the pubs are closed.

Unexpectedly, the Oyster Bar was packed at 17:31, with a pubby feel rather denied us as we were escorted to the restaurant via the lone Fraoch handpump.

Scotland was an expensive trip, so it’s just as well we camped, and we went a bit mad in the Oyster Bar.

The menu had posh stuff like Steak Pie, Hunter’s Chicken and Macaroni Cheese (the Scottish national dish), but we went for Oysters and Langoustines as we know you like to see ethnic cuisine.

In 56 years my experience of oysters had been limited to a lone specimen served for a quid in Ma Boyles near Liverpool docks, but these may have converted. It’s the Lee & Perrins, I think.

My request for “A pint of Fraoch, please” was met with “A full one ?”, which turned out to be confirmation I wasn’t a half pinter, not whether I wanted a top-up. It’s the little linguistic oddities that really make pubgoing so vital.

Fraoch’s heather ale is an odd choice for your lone handpump, a bit like just having Plum Porter Reserve or Old Tom on the bar, and it was fine rather than stunning. I may never encounter it again, I thought, wistfully.

And as for the langoustines, last sampled in that Russian Tavern on Bute that won awards but served the worst pint of 2007, anything that you need a surgical instrument to eat is dubious.

The service here was cheery and professional and personalised, and the atmosphere enhanced by a young group who said they “couldn’t see beyond the 3 cheese pasta“. Or the Old Mout. Someone asked for a pint of Irn Bru. Really.

Mrs RM asked to “share the fudge brownie“. As it turned up just as she headed for the Ladies, I made darn sure I actually got a share.

Not TOO far to waddle back to the hotel, luckily.

6 thoughts on “LANGOUSTINES

  1. Last had Fraoch on handpump in the Castle Vaults, Shrewsbury in the late 90s. Still get through a bit of it in bottle though.
    I’ll be in that area the week after next. Were the langoustines VERY expensive?

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      1. Ferry to Aberdeen, where we hope to be getting a new (to us) car. Then driving in one car or another to Oban.
        I would take Doom Bar if there was nothing else but Jarl would be favourite.

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  2. Likely about then when I last had Fraoch. I dragged my mother into the Corn Exchange (Spoons) in Arbroath & insisted she had a taste – I think she was polite and pronounced it not too disgusting ( paraphrase, I think, “Not bad” was the, damned-by-faint-praise, expression) – probably because it doesn’t really taste like beer.

    Or at least, what one thought beer tasted like in those days, compared with today’s craft offerings which, though agreeable enough beverages, tend to be a whole different flavour profile; I mean frankly if I wanted a glass of grapefruit juice, it would be a damn sight cheaper just to buy a litre carton from the supermarket!

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    1. Totally agree with you about the grapefruit juice. And although the Williams Brothers are among my favourite brewers, I agree with your mother about Fraoch. It’s not disgusting, but it’s also not very interesting, and I find it a bit too sweet – almost like lager, really. Although to be fair, I’ve never had the cask version, only bottled.

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