The Oyster Shed, Skye (Scotland)

In my review of my tour at Talisker I said that the best reason to go to Carbost on Skye was not to visit Talisker but to eat at the Oyster Shed on the hill above the distillery. This is the rare statement that is both hyperbolic and true. Hyperbolic because I know that for any whisky geek who has not already been to Talisker, going to Talisker is the main reason to go to Skye period, no matter what anyone says; true because, well, it’s true. It’s just a large shed a mile past and above the distillery; the seafood it serves up is simple and straightforward, but it’s pristine and eating it outdoors with a view of the hills and the loch is heaven. 

For those who came in late, Skye was our second stop on our visit to Scotland. We stayed in Drumnadrochit for two nights and then drove to Skye—it’s not a very long drive and even with an unplanned long stop at Loch Clunie along the way we were in Skye before lunch. We dropped off our bags at the b&b and headed off to Carbost. After making a quick tour reservation at Talisker we drove up to the Oyster Shed and spent a nice hour and a half there. We were lucky to be there between bouts of rain and it was just lovely.

At Talisker they go on a lot about terroir but if it’s true terroir you want, it’s the Oyster Shed that delivers. Their oysters come in daily from their farm on Loch Harport, which is the loch you look upon from their outdoor “picnic” area; and the rest of the seafood is local too, I believe. They do carry a lot more than just oysters and indeed a lot more than just seafood. We were there for the seafood, however, and made pigs of ourselves. The boys shared excellent smoked salmon and very recently dispatched langoustines and the missus and I each had a mixed seafood platter and a dozen oysters. The oysters were great—all were the one variety they grow (Pacific oysters, if I recall correctly)—but the rest was excellent too. In fact, I think my very favourite item may have been the smoked halibut in the seafood platter. They smoke all their seafood themselves. There’s also an outdoor trailer/shack where the hot food is prepared: chips and steamed mussels most popularly, judging by what was on other people’s plates.

This was the beginning of a good few days of excellent seafood consumption in western Scotland and proof, if any were still needed, that Scotland is a good place to go to eat and that you can eat very well on Skye without going to one of the two Michelin-starred restaurants on the island—speaking of which, the Oyster Shed is one of the suppliers to the Three Chimneys. And the people there are as friendly as can be. I asked if I could buy some bread (not on the menu) for the boys to eat with their salmon and langoustines and the young woman behind the counter went and got me some bread from the hot food shack and refused to take money for it. The gent who was shucking the oysters enthralled the boys by waggling a live langoustine under their noses (he’d overheard them asking me if they were in fact still alive) and in the process cost us a lot of money as we then had to order langoustines for them at pretty much every meal on Skye.

We took our food out to the communal benches and tables at the side of the shed. They were still wet from the last rain shower but there are napkins there to wipe them down with. You can get condiments from inside—a dash of Tabasco and a squeeze of lemon is all we wanted on our oysters—and you bus your own disposable containers. There’s a sink by the benches to wash up after dealing with your shellfish.

See below for pictorial evidence and scroll down to see what’s coming next.

Oh yes, prices are very reasonable as you may have seen in the slideshow. The oysters are just £1 each! And though we didn’t, you can bring your own alcohol. I don’t drink during the day but a little nip of Talisker 10 with the oysters would have been perfect.

Tomorrow: a quick stop at Caol Ila. I might have another Skye meal report over the weekend; if not, next week for sure. Thanks for reading.

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