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Ullapool venue rated as a world beater for food

By Mike Merritt

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Arch Inn
Arch Inn

A DELECTABLE dish at a Wester Ross eatery has earned it a place alongside the world’s top food experiences, according to famous travel brand Lonely Planet.

Eating langoustines at The Arch Inn in Ullapool was one of 500 food experiences from all around the world to be praised by the travel guide publisher in its latest Ultimate Eatlist.

It was ranked at 221 and co-owner Rob Hicks said the accolade had come as a "complete surprise".

He buys his langoustines from local fish merchant Stephen Cooper, who is supplied by Ullapool’s creel fleet.

"The langoustines are the best in the world – and you couldn’t get them fresher anywhere in the world, straight from the sea to the plate," said Rob.

"It is really is incredible we have made this list – to be one of only six places in Scotland as well. It is amazing.

"It was a complete surprise when we found out we were on it. The response has been fantastic.

"It has been a busy summer anyway and it is night and day from what the area was like ten years ago – it is very exciting times.

"People are holidaying more at home and the NC500 has helped put a spotlight on the area.

"And as for the langoustines we just cook them simply – they are so good you just don’t have to do anything to them."

Praising the delectable langoustine dishes, the Lonely Planet entry said Ullapool was the perfect place to tuck into them.

"The pretty little fishing village of Ullapool hugs the shores of the beautiful Loch Broom and introduces travellers to the wonders of the Summer Isles and Outer Hebrides," the entry reads.

"Despite its small size, it receives plenty of visitors eager for the stunning scenery. Fuel up loch-side with a pint and a plate of fresh langoustine, served with garlic butter or a squeeze of lemon.

"In summer, the outdoor tables that look out over the water are buzzing. The langoustine are straight off the boat (you can even watch the fishing vessels returning to shore) and the beer flows freely. If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself here for a lot longer than you’d planned."

And it said ‘the’ place to eat them was The Arch Inn.

Elsewhere on the list, fish and chips was the UK’s top entry at 31 – and one of the highest-ranking food experiences in the world, with the experience at Stonehaven particularly recommended.

Sampling delicious pintxos along the grid of narrow streets in San Sebastián’s old town was named the best food experience in the world, followed by curry laksa in Kuala Lumpur and sushi in Tokyo.

Twenty-nine of the 500 experiences can be enjoyed across the UK and Ireland, and include smoked salmon in the Outer Hebrides, ranked at 39, and chicken tikka masala in Glasgow listed at 450.

Each entry in Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eatlist details the experience, the culture behind it, and what makes it so special.

The book also includes favourite food experiences as nominated by 20 of the world’s top chefs and food writers, from José Andrés to Andrew Zimmern.

Lonely Planet asked its food-obsessed writers, bloggers and staffers to name their favourite, most authentic gastronomic encounters.

A team of expert food editors were aided by a panel – made up of chef and TV presenter Adam Liaw and food blogger Leyla Kazim – that evaluated the entries according to the taste of the dish, its cultural importance, and the special atmosphere of the location.

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