There was a time when men listened for fish with a piano wire…
‘Here we are’, a sign reads at the entrance to Loch Fyne Oysters, the restaurant and smokehouse, nestled at the source of Scotland’s longest sea loch, deep in the country’s wild and breathtaking west coast. And when you get here, it certainly feels like you’ve arrived.
saintnicks went on a mission to get under the skin of Loch Fyne restaurants, getting closer to the brand we work with and are passionate about championing. And here in this whitewashed stone building, small against the towering hills, we found it.
Loch Fyne Oysters was the brainchild of eccentric local landowner Johnny Noble and marine biologist, Andy Lane, who set up the business in 1978. Loch Fyne now has over 40 restaurants in the UK, serving up fresh salmon, mussels and oysters straight from the shores of Loch Fyne, as well as a bounty of seafood from other sustainable sources.
The rich history, tradition and sense of place is what gives Loch Fyne such power. Telling their story is a vital part of bringing a brand like theirs to life.
Like the fact their oysters are famed for their distinctive sweet, succulent taste, that comes from the oysters growing at the head of the loch, where rainwater tumbles off the hills, combining with the loch’s seawater to create this unique flavour.
Men used to listen for fish with piano wire in these waters, now mussels grow in thick clustered clumps on ropes that hang 10 metres down and weigh over a ton.
Salmon thrust and dance against the current in open water pens, briefly breaking the surface in a flash of silver, their muscle and flavour building with the effort.
Fishermen soundlessly sew up scallop nets with delicate precision, on boats out on the loch, as the wind and rain whips against their faces, their fingers so cold, they burn.
Oysters, freshly shucked, shine on sparkling ice platters in the oyster bar, above a message that reads: “Oysters are the most tender and delicate of all seafood. They stay in bed all day and night. They never work or take exercise, are stupendous drinkers, and wait for their meals to come to them,” Hector Bolitho, ‘The Glorious Oyster’.
Yes, Loch Fyne has a story to tell. It’s a story that comes from the glens and burns and people of this place. And it’s a story worth telling.