The Lodberries Restaurant
by Elizabeth Atia -
The Queens Hotel is located at the south end of Commercial Street in Lerwick, next to the RNLI station and standing directly in the Lerwick harbour.
Dating back to the early 1860's The Queens Hotel, owned by the KGQ Shetland Hotels Group, began life as three lodberries.
The word “lodberry” comes from the Old Norse word hlaðberg - a place where boats could be brought alongside for loading or unloading. It's now a three star hotel with 27 rooms, a bar area and The Lodberries Restaurant.
I confess that I have lived in Shetland since the Spring of 1999 and I had no idea there was a restaurant in The Queens Hotel! I knew of the bar area and that they served good pub grub. This place used to be on our circuit way back when I was a Lerwick pub frequenter in my younger years, but I had no idea that there was a restaurant until my husband surprised me by booking us a child-free night in the hotel to celebrate our wedding anniversary.
The Lodberries Restaurant is a spacious, well decorated room overlooking the Lerwick harbour and neighbouring island of Bressay. Old black and white images of the Queens Hotel in times gone by adorn the walls.
We began our evening with a few drinks in the bar, entertained by the friendly South African bartender who kindly obliged us and our overly enthusiasm on our rare, bi-annual, child-free night out in town.
After changing clothes and freshening up in our hotel room, we headed to the restaurant for our meal.
Having never heard of The Lodberries Restaurant I had no idea what to expect. Just imagine my delight when we were presented with menus with the most mouthwatering selection of meals to choose from. There were two seafood options as well as a chicken, beef, lamb and a vegetarian option (risotto).
The Lodberries Restaurant uses as much local produce as they can in their menu, from Blueshell Mussels to Bressay lamb and strawberries and pea shoots from Yell.
For starters I opted for the baked goats cheese, roasted beet root and candied walnuts with mixed leaves and dressing. Beautifully presented this dish was a superb introduction to the culinary talents of our chef for the evening, Kieran Curry.
My husband thoroughly enjoyed his Shetland mussels with white wine and garlic. The menu said that the mussels were to be served with Guinness bread (see the recipe, below), but this was absent from our table. Instead, the bread we were given was a gorgeous, dense, almost sourdough loaf. Truly irresistible.
For our mains my husband chose the steak, a perfectly medium-rare cooked slab of rump steak I could have fed my entire family with! It was served with onion rings, chunky chips, pepper sauce and a side order of perfectly tender and mouthwatering Blueshell mussel scallops.
I had the braised lamb shank with creamy mash and red wine jus. The lamb was so tender it fell off the bone, and combined with the creamy mash, the red wine jus and the fact the Prosecco was flowing - I was in foodie heaven!
I fully believe there is a second stomach for desserts. It didn't matter that we were full after our starter and main courses, we had to indulge in pudding. He had the chocolate caramel cheesecake and I had the trio of sweet things - a small slice of the same cheesecake, a scoop of delectably rich chocolate ice cream and a slice of panna cotta. The perfect way to finish off a meal.
The service at this restaurant was superb; our waiter was a very kind and friendly gentleman happy to answer all of our questions, service was at the perfect pace and the decor and lighting really created a comfortable, quite romantic atmosphere.
Our night set us back £250 for an overnight stay including breakfast, a three course meal, a bottle of Prosecco and a few glasses of wine, but I think it was well worth every penny. We don't get out very often, so it was a lovely treat for us both. For locals who want to spend the night in the hotel there is an islander discount during the low season - ask about it when you ring them to reserve a room.
The chef very kindly provided the recipe he uses to make the Guiness and Walnut Bread usually served with the mussels. I'm delighted to have found this little gem of a place in Lerwick and we will definitely be returning!
Guinness and Walnut Bread
Servings: 3 loaves
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 65 minutes
- brown flour - 625 grams
- plain flour - 310 grams
- caster sugar - 75 grams
- salt - 15 grams
- bicarbonate of soda - 20 grams
- porridge oats - 125 grams
- walnuts - 125 grams (chopped)
- full fat milk - 750 ml
- golden syrup - 110 grams
- black treacle - 220 grams
- butter - 75 grams (melted)
- Guinness - 200 ml
- Preheat oven to 150 C and lightly grease two or three loaf tins. Dust them with flour and set aside.
- Sieve the plain flour and baking soda together in a large bowl and add the brown flour, sugar, salt, oats and walnuts, mixing well. Make a well in the centre.
- Pour the milk, golden syrup, black treacle melted butter and Guinness into the well. Mix well, ensuring there are no dry floury patches remaining.
- The mixture will be wet and resemble porridge in texture.
- Fill your bread tins three quarters and bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes. You can place a small tin of water at the bottom of the oven to help keep the bread from drying out too much while baking, if you wish.
- Increase the oven temperature to 180 C and bake for a further 25 minutes, until the bread sounds hollow when knocked on the bottom.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.