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New Seafood Restaurant Pops Up In Lerwick

by Alastair Hamilton -

Shetland’s capital isn’t short of places to eat these days, with a good range of cafés and restaurants to choose from; but now there’s something new, a pop-up, located on the upper floor of the Lerwick Boating Club.

Unsurprisingly, it enjoys a fabulous sea view but, when I visited recently with a friend, an unexpected bonus was the sight of a pod of Orcas. They cruised south through the harbour, watched from a respectful distance by a number of pleasure boats.

The man behind the new restaurant, Akshay Borges, certainly isn’t guaranteeing Orca encounters, but he is offering really beautiful seafood, fresh from local boats, beautifully prepared and simply presented.

Akshay, originally from India, first came to Shetland in 2009 to work as a trainee chef in the highly-rated Scalloway Hotel. However, nearly eight years on, he felt he needed a break from full-time chef duties.

“I decided just to take a break from working full-time. I‘ve been here so long and although I’ve seen a few places, I haven’t really discovered Shetland after eight years. So I wanted to work part time and might cook for friends.”

really beautiful seafood

However, Akshay’s reputation ran ahead of him.

“The word got around that I was wanting to do something, but not full-time, and the folk from the Boating Club contacted me.”

He came to have a look at the club’s premises “and I thought, this place is brilliant”, so he agreed to give it a go. As he explains:

“The main idea is having limited, local fresh seafood produce – crab, scallops, mussels, and a fish of the day. I get all my produce from Blydoit, so everything’s local, and if I’m using salads or garlic or herbs, I can get them from Turriefield. I get as much as I can locally. The menu is really simple, just three things.

this place is brilliant

He keeps the cooking and presentation simple, too. “I think you need to let the food speak for itself, without adding too many flavours.”

It’s clear that there’s a public demand for a good restaurant that specialises in seafood, which of course is one of Shetland’s biggest assets. Akshay says: “I’ve had a very good response from local folk, that’s the most important thing. They’ve liked it.”

So, pop-up it may be, but Borges Seafood has every prospect of becoming a permanent feature of Lerwick’s dining scene.

The restaurant is far from being the only project in which Akshay is involved, though. He is in the process of creating a new addition to Shetland’s larder, sea salt, and it has already secured a Great Taste Award. With all the approvals in place, that will be taking up more of his time. He’s also been helping out at the Shetland Fudge Company.

So, has the plan to have more time off worked out? Not so much – Akshay says that he’s actually working the same amount, or even more!

You can’t keep a good man down.

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