'You should have booked' we were told 'it's tiny'. But ever hopeful we drove along the coast road in search of the Seafood Temple. Maybe it was the driving rain that had stopped eager lunchers from walking along Gallanach Road, for when we arrived, much to our amazement and delight, there were a couple of tables.
Our informant was right, however, it is tiny. Not more than 20 covers. A few tables on the lower level and a small raised dining area at the rear – but all having the most amazing views out over the water to the island of Kerrera.
Way back in the 1930s the building was a public loo but after a labour-of-love conversion and a lot of beautiful local oak it was transformed. The restaurant was taken over in 2011 by owner and chef Eilidh Smith. She wasn't on duty that day but two of her beautiful and delightful colleagues were.
Fellow diners were a young couple, four ladies who lunch and a family party of four. Apart from the music there was silence. It was almost unnerving, but it was when three steaming utterly delicious large bowls of pea and rocket soup with chunks of terrific bread were put in front of us (£4 each) did we realize why. It was confirmed further when we were eating the crab salad, lobster and langoustine dishes (my seven langoustines, salad and bread £12.50) – if we chatted no way could we fully appreciate the fabulous food. We shared a meringue dessert piled high with cream and cascading fruit.
Evidently Eilidh's ethos is 'fresh & local' so although she endeavours to offer a reasonably wide choice by its nature that is not always possible. However, of one thing she is adamant no frozen fish will be used. (Meat dishes are on the menu too.)
As we drank our coffee the glorious aroma of something chocolatey being baked wafted out from the tiny, tiny kitchen – that evening's diners were in for another treat.
The Seafood Temple Restaurant | Dungallan Park | Gallanach Road | Oban, Argyll | PA34 4LS. Tel: 01631 566 000. www.obanseafood.com