Staff at an Aberdeen restaurant are bracing themselves in case police raid the premises
tonight - amid fears its dishes of guga treats may be confiscated.
The Scottish Government got Grampian Police to investigate the Musa in the city centre
after it put the rare delicacy of young gannet on the menu.
Ten men from the Ness district of Lewis carry out the cull 40 miles west of the Butt
of Lewis which is the last remaining wild bird hunt of its kind in the UK.
An unnamed “friend of the restaurant” - understood to have strong north Lewis connections
- gave the Musa chef a couple of birds to cook from the rationed September‘s harvest.
The eatery located in an old church on Exchange Street is offering two different
dishes of the salty delicacy with guga mousse and kelp croutons being served as canapés.
For more adventurous diners, roast guga is also on the menu.
But Grampian Police were alerted by the Scottish Government after they got wind of
the Hebridean import to the mainland.
It is understood that the complaint involves alleged breaching of the special exemption
which may restrict its distribution outside of the Western Isles.
Government solicitors are also scrutinising the legislation apparently to see if
it is legal to even give it away for free anywhere on the UK mainland.
A Scottish Government spokesperson declined to comment as "an investigation is underway."
Musa manager Jimmy Elliot said: “Police have stepped in. We had Grampian Police onto
us investigating if we are selling the guga.”
He added: “The Scottish Government asked Grampian Police to investigate and possibly
take away our supplies.”
With the cooked guga steaming hot and ready to serve at 5pm this evening the restaurant
hopes to avoid the legal threat by offering nibbles of the strongly flavoured meat
Mr Elliot said: “We got the guga for free - we didn’t pay for it and we are giving
“Hopefully that will squash any police action.”
He added: “The government have got their solicitors on the case. I may face being
Mr Elliot insisted: “We're within the law. This is an age-old Scottish tradition.”
“We're horrified at the nanny state censorship that's hit us over this, so here's
the deal - the gannet's on the house.”
Ironically, the free offer may end up being a lucrative deal for the restaurant -
uninitiated diners are likely to need plenty of beer to wash down the naturally salty
Only 2000 gugas are culled every year on the tiny island of Sula Sgeir - meaning
gannet reef - some 40 miles off the Butt of Lewis.
It is the only wild seabird allowed to be hunted under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside
Act, which forbids the killing of seabirds, but guga hunters have a special licence
from the Scottish Government.
Before the police intervention, manager Jimmy Elliot said: “This is exciting for
us. Musa has always tried to offer the exotic and the unusual, so to get our hands
on some gannet was fantastic and our chefs are looking forward to seeing what they
can make with it.
“Gordon Ramsay’s moment in the F Word when he tried gannet is still spoken about
until this day.
“Even as Gordon discovered, it’s lovely but hard to get as it is only meant to be
killed and eaten on the island.”
He added: “But not everyone can get to Lewis to try it so we’re delighted we’ve been
able to legally source some and offer it to our customers. And if it proves popular
we’ll do our best to get more in.”
Police investigate restaurant for putting guga on the menu 19/10/10