“Decadent” lunch at the seaside in St Andrews is just the excellent way to devote a spring working day, discovers Murray Chalmers.

Prior to he learned the joys of country lifestyle in California, John Lydon-Rotten when declaimed that “anger is an energy”, a sentiment absolutely keeping firm for so several of us correct now.

These earlier several months would have analyzed the persistence of saints and some times it is difficult not to channel Brando in The Wild Kinds just before you even crack open your breakfast egg. What am I rebelling from? What have you obtained?

I generate this the working day following I acquired the Covid vaccination – Oxford AstraZeneca, because you check with, although our hapless British isles Governing administration look to have stopped reminding us it’s British. Curious that! My comedown nowadays includes a runny nose, a moderate headache, a standard grump and a drive for fish and chips for lunch.

In other text, not much unique to a normal midweek slump when you don’t forget that Friday exists as a principle even although it’s still also considerably off to be genuine – a bit like bars, trawling TK Maxx and the likelihood of sexual intercourse for us singletons.

© DC Thomson
Kinshaldy Seashore at Tentsmuir, Fife.

I was likely to publish about Salt and Pine on Tentsmuir beach for the reason that it sounded a bit like I could faux to be in Montauk with the Barefoot Contessa cooking up a storm in the woods.

But soon after what felt like a Sisyphean activity of really acquiring out Salt and Pine’s opening hours – I will not bore you with it but I can validate their social media does present a distinguished selection of T-shirts but no hope of nearly anything to consume – I was at last explained to they weren’t in fact open nonetheless.

Decadent notion

Fish and chips for lunch on a Wednesday seems a pretty decadent plan suitable now. I necessarily mean, it is not accurately up there with hazy reminiscences of partying with Kate Moss in the Naughty Noughties but it’s possibly as nuts as I get these days.

At the age of 61 I’ve surely figured out to take my pleasures when available. My new favourite phrase is “if God spares me” which indicates I have at last turned into my granny besides with my personal teeth, cooler specs and without the need of the directoire knickers drying by the hearth.

It was a sunny day and St Andrews beckoned.

© Courtesy Provided by Dawn Hartle
St Andrews East Sands.

St Andrews is blessed with this sort of magnificence and, just as importantly, many wonderful fish and chip spots. I commonly go to Tailend due to the fact you get precisely what they guarantee and it is basic and excellent.

Also, I have an psychological loyalty to Tailend in Dundee due to the fact it’s berthed on the internet site of the iconic Deep Sea Cafe, a fixture in the town for 77 several years, and a position I adored and however skip.

Typical Dundee

In 2014 yet another piece of common Dundee disappeared when the Deep Sea was offered to Tailend, who undertook a huge refurbishment – but fortunately 1 that worked.

It’s a really good place, and the reality I continue to get a beautifully nostalgic emotion when going for walks by way of the doors is evidence that the Proustian plan of memory is simply translatable from a sensitive madeleine cake to the fuggy, oily thump of a potato fritter.

This time, nevertheless, a close friend in St Andrews recommended Cromars which, in accordance to their outstanding web page, is “where fish meets chips in formally the greatest fish and chip shop in Scotland 2016 and 2018” (the awards arrived from the National Fish and Chip awards, so it is laudable to gain 2 times).

Cromars’ web-site must be commended for ease of use but also for the reason that the basic design and style at first concealed their shameful pun employing the term plaice even though describing their site, and that their staff are cheerily explained as “our catch”.

But hey, the sun was shining, I’d had the jab and who am I to come to feel churlish about a handful of poor fishy puns when published by these types of wonderful soles? And the employees ARE charming.

Until the shop reopens thoroughly you order and shell out on the net and accumulate from a hatch signposted by an upturned surfboard. A beach front is minutes away. Absolutely nothing could be nicer.

I had chosen Cromars because we needed to consider someplace new but have to confess that their closeness to a beach was also a guiding component.

This proximity to an alfresco lunch location lowered the transit time of foods that David maintains has to be served both ulcer-inducingly hot, or not at all.

Mental warfare

An expedition with David to get fish and chips quickly turns into psychological warfare so fraught that psychologist RD Laing could have written volumes about it.

Let me explain the seriousness of all this lest you imagine that Brexit and Covid are the only topics retaining me awake at night time.

If our fish and chips is coming from The Fifie in Newport (five minutes by automobile from our residences) you’d suppose that assortment would be rather simple. You’d be improper.

First of all, it’s a two-guy work to make confident that not a whisper of chilly air will get into that food items just before receiving it household.

Fifteen minutes ahead of departure the oven goes on and the plates go in. Salt, the most affordable form – in no way Maldon or Blackthorn – is ceremoniously positioned on the desk up coming to malt vinegar. No cutlery at any time. The fanciest additions to this meal will be two parts of kitchen roll as napkins, and even they are generally an affectation also far. The scene is established.


Driving to the chippie the rigidity gets palpable. Will there be a parking place in the vicinity of plenty of? Dare we park on a double yellow just to achieve individuals vital several extra seconds? Is tonight fritter night time? What exactly is a pizza crunchy and is that quantity of calories even lawful?

I child you not when I say that I’m left in the car or truck with the motor functioning while David goes in to get our prize catch (of course, I know my plaice and I’m way too considerably of a delighted sole to protest). All those essential seconds of reigniting the engine will have to not be lost even if we’re defying all rules of social, societal and environmental etiquette. Please never snitch on us to Greta!

For a instant Steppenwolf’s legendary rebel tune Born To Be Wild, exactly where you “get your motor runnin’ and head out on the highway”, is reimagined on Newport High Avenue, albeit by two old crocks with a blended age of 123. Don’t mess!

© PA
Usain Bolt.

Usain Bolt

There follows a dash from the chippie to the vehicle worthy of Usain Bolt at his most effective, and then a dash household which feels like there must be a legislation versus it – assume Concorde but trapped in the physique of an old VW with 60,000 miles on the clock and a radio continue to defiantly tuned to Rinse FM from when it was stolen from outside my home in Walthamstow.

In St Andrews the travel to the East Sands was a doddle and we established up base on the wall overlooking the bay. It was best and also no avenging seagulls came near to heighten my Hitchcock paranoia – my genuine nightmare!

The meals was great. My scampi supper (£12.30) was just the form of comfort foodstuff I essential when you come to feel a little bit invaded by an injection but decide to have food in its place of Dairy Milk.

The scampi had been fried to perfection, the coating crispy, dark and hugely moreish. Major part as well! Ace chips, amazing tartare sauce and a can of comprehensive body fat Coke ended up the decent accompaniment while my jubilant temper could have simply swung to some chilled Chablis experienced I not been off the booze.

David’s vegetarian black pudding supper (£7.80) caused a split in the ranks when he pronounced it a bit disappointing. I disagree, but then I’m not vegetarian and it was not my lunch. I imagined the black pudding tasted fantastic, with a wonderful piquancy and depth from the spicy onions, so we agreed to vary.

One detail to point out in this article is that Cromars do have other vegetarian possibilities available but they are all quite hefty – things like macaroni cheese, brie wedges and vegetarian sausages. Due to the fact they now do a tempura prawn dish (£9.60) I would maybe give some tempura greens or some thing a small lighter for vegetarians (Dean Banking institutions at Haarbour, for illustration, does an great sesame tempura veg for £8).

© Sutton Hibbert/Shutterstock
Deep fried Mars bar.

To share we experienced some wonderful mushy peas (£1.90), two pickled onions (70p) and a potato fritter (80p).

For dessert we had a deep-fried Mars bar due to the fact neither of us had tried just one, irrespective of it remaining an virtually legendary effortless target for those wishing to poke pleasurable at Scottish delicacies. As such it could only genuinely be some thing of an anti-climax because it tasted quite considerably equal to the sum of its parts.

Squidgy Mars bar and batter

There was no revelatory minute exactly where I thought that anyone experienced reinvented the culinary wheel but, at the similar time, there wasn’t an “is that all there is?” second possibly. It tasted of squidgy Mars bar and batter, although I do really feel it would be very best eaten straight from the fryer, the searing warmth of the oil threatening instantaneous blisters on the lips which the melted chocolate could do practically nothing but salve.

I be aware that as a extra elitist choose on the concept Nigella Lawson introduced the strategy of deep-fried Bounty bars with pineapple in her reserve Nigella Bites. I have not tried this but obviously the mixture of coconut and pineapple is a very good just one and in her intro Nigella does say that the pleasure of the deep-fried Bounty is higher than the Mars Bar. Because I would rely on that female with my life, I consider her.

Her recommendation of a deep-fried Cadbury’s Crème Egg for Easter looks influenced.

Appear on, Cromars – give it a go!

Cromars, 1 Union St, St Andrews KY16 9PQ. Tel: 01334 475 555


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