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MacCallum's of Troon Oyster Bar

Harbourside, Troon, Scotland, KA10 6DH, United Kingdom

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This seafood restaurant would be in the running for a least attractive restaurant location award, despite being near the sea. You approach it through a grim, grey bit of Troon and drive through an industrial area past a timber yard. The restaurant building is a converted hydraulic pump house, and there is an associated fish and chip shop next door for those who do not wish to linger. 

The red-brick building has bars on the windows and sign “Oyster ar” (sic), which does not inspire confidence as to the owner’s grip on building maintenance. The room inside is casual but pleasant enough, with no tablecloths but a high ceiling and assorted nautical pictures on the walls. From the window you can see a fish market, though this fairly small market deals mainly in langoustines, most of which are apparently pre-bought and head off to the continent. This unpromising location apparently has a good local reputation and indeed had plenty of diners when we visited.

There was a short wine list with no vintages listed, starting at £14.95. Domaine Defaix Chablis was £27.95 for a wine that costs about £12, and Lucien Jacob Peuillet was £45 for a wine that sells in retail premises in the £14 - £21 range, depending on vintage. I drank water at this lunch.

Langoustines with garlic butter (£8.95) had several small langoustines served in their shells, cooked a little too long and whose delicate flavour was drowned out by a vivid green garlic sauce, served alongside some token salad leaves (barely 11/20). Smoked salmon may have been home-smoked but it did not have particularly good flavour, and was served with capers and more of the sort of salad you might see at a 1970s carvery. 

Haddock and chips (£10.95) featured good haddock but a poor, pale and soggy batter, along with tartare sauce out of a jar and hand-cut double cooked chips that were a long way from crisp (10/20, a waste of decent haddock). The best dish by a long way was baked halibut with asparagus with a caper and tomato dressing (£15.95). Although the skin was burnt, the actual flesh of the halibut was nicely cooked and the fish itself fairly fresh. Sadly the asparagus was poorly prepared and not well cooked, while the dressing lacked flavour, but at least the generous slab of halibut was good (12/20).

Service was distinctly slow but pleasant enough. The bill came to £26 a head for two courses before tip and with mainly water to drink. Based on this experience it is hard for me to grasp why this place is so popular with the locals.

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  • Alastair Reid

    We ate there last night. A superb meal - probably the best fish meal I have ever had in Scotland. Every dish was served well and the quantities were just right. We all had different dishes ranging from Cullen Skink (a traditional Scottish fish soup) to bream to langustines to lemon sole with queenies and other dishes. The waitress was pleasant, knew her menu and fish well and easily identified the dishes which would be a problem for one of our party who needed to be gluten free. She got the chef to slightly change the recipe to suit our guest who was delighted. The sweets also were tasty - one of our number is an icecream affcionado who reckoned it was especially good. Overall an interesting blend of fish dishes and Scottish traditional and new recipes. At about £35 per head for three courses including wine this is excellent value as well. The decoration of the restaurant with plans, models and pictures from the Americas cup is particularly interesting and far from the usual bland decoration of a seafood restaurant. Highly recommended

  • Name unavailable

    The Fish & Chip Shop next door called 'The Wee Hurrie' It is the best in Scotland. Awesome Monkfish and tempura Squid. Missed a treat.

  • Ashley Hildebrandt

    Your comments are a sad but realistic assessment of what used to be an excellent fish restaurant. I think we last ate there a couple of years ago and were disappointed by the worse-than-lacklustre cooking. On previous visits - an enquiry brought forth that it was a new chef - MacCallum's had been excellent, some of the best fish I have eaten. I suppose that's what can happen over time and when chefs change...

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