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Pop-up seafood restaurant opens in Lerwick

LERWICK now has its own waterfront seafood restaurant – but you might have to be quick to grab a bite.

Akshay Borges, who worked as a chef at the award-winning Scalloway Hotel until recently, launched a pop-up eatery at Lerwick Boating Club last week.

The restauranteur decided to embark on Borges Seafood – which is open for a set number of hours on select days and has limited supplies – to promote local seafood and if it proves popular, it might become permanent.

While the Da Haaf restaurant at Scalloway’s NAFC Marine Centre offers a number of fish dishes, locals and visitors alike have been somewhat mystified by the absence of a dedicated seafood restaurant in Lerwick in recent years.

After Peterhead, the town is the second largest port for fish landings anywhere in the UK.

The menu sees customers choose their seafood of choice, such as mussels or lobster, before adding a sauce and a side, while takeaways are also available.

“I think it’s been brewing for a while. I’ve been out in town on my days off and I wanted to have some Shetland seafood, but there was none on the street,” Borges said.

“I took a break from working full-time, so I still wanted to keep the passion going for making seafood and cooking.”

Most of the produce is local, with the fish, crab and lobster coming from local trader Blydoit, while all dairy produce is sourced locally too.

“I think [having a Lerwick seafood restaurant] is something that everyone has been talking about, but no-one has actually gone and done it, because you need to know your seafood and how to cook,” Borges said.

“I think someone just needed to do it, so I was like, yeah, I’ll just go for it.”

A centrepiece of the pop-up restaurant is a large world map where visitors are asked to pin where they are from, in an effort to show how Shetland seafood is having an impact on people from across the globe.

India-born Borges, who has lived in the UK for more than ten years (seven of those in Shetland), plans to keep his venture open on a more permanent basis if the popularity keeps up.

“This is just like a trial phase to see what response I get, from the tourists and from the local folk who have been helping me a lot, and if I get a good response there will be more permanent opening hours,” he said.

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