Anstruther Fish Bar

Visited on Tuesday 25th February, 2014

As I drove home from work tonight I realised it was still light and for once, I wasn’t on call. It was such a good feeling the last thing I wanted to do was go home and sit in the house in front of the box all night. After discussing decent places to eat in Fife recently one of my friends mentioned the Anstruther Fish Bar and ever since it’s been on my mind – yes Lock, I’m looking at you. So obviously there was only one thing I could do tonight. Yup – visit Anstruther with the sole intention of having fish and chips at that very plaice ;p.

OH didn’t take much talking round so we headed straight out. The journey to the East Neuk is always a joy no matter what the weather. Tonight it was dry and slowly turning to dusk and we decided to drive towards St Andrews so we could come back the coastal road. Just outside Cupar we spotted a few roe deer happily munching away on hmmm I’m not sure spring barley? rapeseed?  some poor unsuspecting farmer’s crop anyway. As we drove through the home of golf the St Andrews skyline looked great as the cathedral stood proud against a sapphire blue background. We also passed the sign that points you to the precise position of the Scotland’s Secret Bunker, which always amuses me. Eventually we arrived in Anstruther and parked facing the harbour.

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Anstruther Harbour

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As you enter the Anstruther Fish Bar you can tell it is used to being busy as there are shiny brass crowd control barriers in place which make you wind your way up to the counter but tonight there was only a couple in front of me. Normally you get the chance to read lots of paper clippings telling tales of all the famous people who have visited before you as you wait patiently in the queue. Then, when you climb the stairs you can see a blackboard telling you the name of the boat that landed the catch of the day. Today it was Ocean Venture. Although there is a vast menu the most popular order is haddock and chips, which I ordered 2 of. It’s £5.90 for a supper (that’s fish and chips to those of you scratching your head) or £8.25 if you want to sit inside. For the extra £2.35 you get a seat, some sauce, bread, butter and a hot drink. Unfortunately, you can’t see the waves from every seat indoors but you can from a car parked in front of the harbour 😉

I did take a photo of my fish supper but it really didn’t do it justice so I haven’t put it up here as I don’t want to do it a disservice. The haddock was amazing, fresh and succulent; the batter crisp and tasty; the chips, well the chips were better than any chips you’ve ever tasted from any other chip shop. Seriously, you really need to visit the Anstruther Fish Bar to taste them for yourself.

You should also drive back along the coast road and go through Elie to witness some wonderful sea views. Come to think of it, what you really need to do if you have plenty of time and fancy a bit of a walk (especially if it’s a nice day) is to park at St Monans and walk along the Fife Coastal path to Anstruther and reward yourself at the chippy. St Monans to Anstruther route 

I promise you won’t regret it. 7/10

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btw I tried to take a pic of the outside of the chippy but someone parked their big stoopid people carrier in front of it 😦

The Fettykill Fox

Visited at midday on Saturday February 22nd 2014

As we had nothing better to do yesterday OH (my other half) and I decided, rather than leaving Fife or travel a long distance to get something to eat and visit different bars that we would stay local and walk to Leslie. Leslie has loads of pubs so we thought we’d get something to eat at The Fettykill Fox and then make our way along Leslie High Street visiting a few of the bars.

As we walked towards the Fettykill Fox we realised quite quickly that it is really geared for people driving to it. There are no paths into it from any direction and to avoid walking over wet, muddy grass we had to walk past the building and double back down the road, which had no pavement. Considering all the problems with drink driving nowadays it seems a bit ludicrous that walking to a licensed restaurant is made so difficult.

The Fettykill Fox is part of the Vintage Inn chain. From the outside it looks like a row of 3 houses but inside it is open plan with roaring open fires and a number of wooden tables with unmatching chairs all set for meals but there was a small corner set aside where people could sit if there weren’t dining. It feels homely inside with an old fashioned feel to it. We hadn’t booked but it wasn’t busy so we were told to sit anywhere.  Once seated, we were given menus and told the soup of the day was Apple and Parsnip. We then ordered drinks and checked out the menu. OH wasn’t in a wine mood but I had a quick look at the menu and the prices varied from £12.95 to £25.95 a bottle. The food menu covered all the usual bases but there was a real focus on their James Martin pies so I decided on the chicken, pulled ham and leek pie at £8.25. OH struggled for a while which isn’t like him but as the waiter appeared to take our order he quickly chose the British Beef Burger at £8.99.

I was a bit disappointed to notice people who had come in after us had already received their order and we were still waiting but to be fair it wasn’t too long a wait. They say that when it comes to food presentation is everything. Unfortunately the dishes the waiter placed in front of us had nothing of the wow factor about them.  OH’s burger came on a plain white plate with a cereal bowl of chips and nothing else. No side salad, no pile of onion rings, no little dish of relish. Nothing. My pie came with a scattering of chips and some boring peas. I have never been so underwhelmed by a plate of food in a restaurant before. We were then offered a tray of sauces which the waiter stood guard over – maybe in case we licked the spoons? Annoyingly the vinegar was in a jug with no lid so my chips got more than their fair share of it.

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Thankfully though, I can say that the pie was tasty and flavoursome. OH enjoyed his burger and said it was a good thick, meaty burger with crispy lettuce and sweetcure bacon. So although the food didn’t look appetising it tasted good and filled us up. There was a blackboard full of delicious sounding desserts and I had noticed on the menu that you could have a hot drink and a mini pudding for £4.50, which sounded good but we decided to forgo a sweet and just asked for the bill. A quick nip to the loos was in order before heading back out into the cold wind and I found them to be clean and of a high standard which is always a welcome feature of any restaurant or pub.

It was a step up from a Wetherspoons but not too big a step. I had the impression from looking at the other diners that their lunch was probably the highlight of the day but for me it was more of a stomach liner prior to a pub crawl so happily the main event was still to come. Overall it was a good enough meal so for that reason I will give it 4/10.

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