Looking out over the Sound of Kerrera from Oban
Soup
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 WHERE TO FIND GOOD SOUP IN OBAN
QUAICH CAFE, QUAICH VILLAGE STORES, KILMELFORD
Kilmelford sits on the A816(T) road, about 14 miles south of Oban. I didn't manage to get here during my day in Oban, and the Quaich Cafe has been recommended to me by soup-slurper Anne. She describes their soup as 'the proper stuff - made from scratch', which sounds good to me. The Quaich is, of course, much more than just a cafe. It's a little nugget of homeliness that binds the tiny hilly community in which it sits together. As well as the cafe, there's a post-office, and a village store selling arts and crafts and all manner of bits and bobs, many of which are edible. Places like this are worth their weight in gold. Forgive the lack of hippos, but I can only award a hippo rating if I've personally visited a place. My instinctive gut feeling is that the Quaich will be a three-hippo job. (May not be open in January and February.) [Check out the Quaich Cafe's website HERE]
POPPIES GARDEN CENTRE, SAULMORE SHORE
Poppies Garden Centre has its own soup-making cafe where you may slurp soup and soak up panoramic views of castles, islands and mountains. It is located about 3 miles north of Oban, at the edge of Dunstaffnage Bay. So, it looks like this is very much an area to make for during your stay in Oban. For around this small piece of shoreline you have Dunstaffnage Castle and its ancient chapel, spectacular views, and soup to slurp. What more could a man want? I did not manage to get here during my day, and the lesson to be learned here is that if you're visiting Oban, then book in somewhere and stay a full week. Or two.
BOSSARDS PATISSERIE, 1a GIBRALTER STREET
I missed Bossards Patisserie during my day in Oban, but inside they have a coffee shop that apparently makes and serves two gallons of soup every day, presumably not to the same customer, unless it is a very large and exceedingly satisfied customer. They are also 'the only patisserie in Oban producing and baking our own bread rolls and large selection of cakes.' Certainly something to bear in mind when you're in Oban.
THE KITCHEN GARDEN, 14 GEORGE STREET
Hiding in amongst all the regular eating and drinking establishments on Oban's George Street, facing Oban Bay and the Sound of Kerrera, is this Delicatessen and Coffee Shop. The eating bit's upstairs, where you may slurp 'Tomato' or 'Golden Vegetable' soups, but it is the downstairs deli that is a bit special. Shelves are filled with jars of jams and chutneys and all sorts of yummy stuff, and I can guarantee that you will not be able to leave without making a purchase of some sort. [Check out The Kitchen Garden's website HERE]
LITTLE BAY CAFE, 9 STAFFORD STREET
The Little Bay Cafe is an outstanding small cafe that specialises in sandwiches with every filling imaginable. Given that Oban sits by the sea, or the Firth of Lorn (which I'm sure is the sea - it has all the normal sea-like attributes, like being wet and fetching at sunset), their range of sandwich-fillings includes fish and shellfish. You can, for example, buy a sandwich filled with  'West Coast Crab, Cucumber and Little Bay Sauce' or 'Smoked Mackerel, Cherry Tomato and Horseradish.' Their soups are just as exciting. There's usually two on, like 'Smoked Haddock Chowder' or 'Tomato and Pepper'. The Little Bay Cafe is a gastronomic oasis.
RATING
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£75 per annum