A RESTAURANT that is a popular stop-off for holidaymakers and even politicians bidding to become prime minister has been given a make-over.

Loch Fyne Oysters, which lies off the A83 at the northernmost tip of the Argyll loch, has been transformed inside by its owners and re-opened yesterday.

Inside, driftwood, sea-blue paintwork, whitewashed walls and contemporary furniture have replaced the old heavy pine features.

Gloomy booths have been removed and three small rooms have been knocked down to accommodate a brand new state-of-the-art kitchen.

The fresh new look heralds a dramatic change of direction for the eaterie at Cairndow after an extensive upgrade costing tens of thousands of pounds under the joint guidance of Virginia Sumsion, niece of the late founder Johnny Noble, and newly-appointed culinary director Roy Brett.

Brett, who trained with celebrity chef Rick Stein in Cornwall and at the Dakota hotel in South Queensferry before opening his own Edinburgh seafood restaurant Ondine in 2009, has devised a new menu that will showcase seafood sourced not only from Loch Fyne but also from surrounding waters at Tobermory, Oban and Islay. A high-powered internal barbecue grill and new plancha stove will be used to introduce new flavours influenced by Middle East and South-east Asian cuisine – though the classic Loch Fyne cullen skink will remain the signature dish.

Vintage and modern artwork, including a range of antique oyster plates collected by Johnny Noble, who founded the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar with marine farmer Andrew Lane in 1980 and died in 2002, will grace the walls of the new-look interior.

The old wooden ship at the entrance has been removed, and a new oyster bar area has been created and named Noble's Oyster Bar.

When Johnny Noble died, the business moved into employee ownership then was sold to Scottish Seafood Investments in February last year following a £1.6m operating loss in 2011.

In 2004, political intrigue was on the menu when then Labour Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and Chancellor Gordon Brown met in the car park in Mr Prescott's ministerial Jaguar as rumours abounded of a plot to replace Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The Loch Fyne Oyster Bar at Cairndow is a separate operation from Loch Fyne Restaurants, which has 44 outlets throughout the UK.

"I think there will be quite an emotional response to the new look because of the focus on Johnny," said Ms Sumsion.