To say I enjoy food is something of an understatement. I live for food. I’m always trawling recipe books and websites. Most of my favourite TV shows and YouTube channels focus on some aspect of food or cooking. I’d almost be inclined to call myself a foodie.
To say I enjoy seafood is even more of an understatement.
Coming from a fishing town on the west coast, it’s practically illegal to not enjoy seafood. It’s a staple. The produce is incredibly fresh and always great quality. Oban has as many chippies as it does supermarkets and there are only 8,500 locals to feed year-round.
When I first started going off meat, my parents made me a deal. I could only stop eating meat if I stopped being so picky with my vegetables (although I still hate broccoli and cauliflower) and kept eating fish. It was a little arduous at first, but with a great cook like my Mum, and the produce as great as it is, I was soon converted back to my pescatarian ways.
I’ve been a pescatarian for years now, and adore playing around with recipes, substituting meat for fish and shellfish, to see what sort of textures and flavour combinations work.
So, yeah, seafood is pretty darn high on my Food Loves list. And good seafood is my fave way to celebrate.
On Sunday, my family and I went to Leftfield for lunch to celebrate my Dad’s birthday.
It’s a lovely restaurant in Bruntsfield. Bright and open with large windows, it has a real Scandi feel to it. The decor is inviting and the music was a golden selection that included Nina Simone and he Isley Brothers. Basically, I loved it.
Their Sunday lunch menu is really lovely. It’s small, but there really is something for everyone and the flavours are adventurous. Dad and I both opted for starters – he had the chicken pate and I opted for the vegetable pakoras which was light, warmly spiced and completely scrummy.
Their specialty, though, is a seafood platter (although it needs to be ordered 24 hours in advance) which Mum and Dad ordered unbeknownst to Zoe and I at the time.
Now, being an Oban girl, I’ve been spoiled most of my life with great seafood and often lament to Mum and Dad about how it’s just not the same in the city. Leftfield, however, knocked it out the park.
Every element was prepared differently, and it’s clear chef X knows what he’s doing. Barbequeued crevettes, scallops with curried aubergine, tempura oysters, clams with a delightfully fresh salsa, and that’s just for starters. Mammoth langoustines, melt-in-the-mouth fried squid and half lobsters with claws to boot were waiting to be demolished.
The marie rose dipping sauce was a wonderful accompaniment for the langoustines and the salsa gave the barbequeued prawns a real tang. The lobster claws were my favourite though – scoffed down with gorgeously golden chips and a fresh, herby salad.
I can’t get over how delicious everything was. And how brilliant the service was, too. At £25 a head, this incredibly nostalgic taste of my no-longer-home was an absolute bargain.
We all joked that it was such a shame the next family birthday wasn’t until mine in November, but I’m sure we’ll find an excuse to return for the seafood platter – every day’s worthy of a celebration, right?