Once Mom had gotten her St. Andrew’s sand, we jointly decided to get back in the car, drive south to the little East Neuk fishing villages and find the fish and chips place both Rick Steves and a friend of my mom’s had recommended – the Anstruther Fish Bar.
Of course, we followed Kevin’s GPS driving … and it (again) took us off what appeared to be the main route through ANOTHER 1-lane “road” through a field. And this time we DID run into another driver coming straight toward us.
I have no idea what the protocol is, but she had a tiny pull-out – so she pulled off to the side, partway into the field, to let us pass.
Yes, I DO mean a 1-lane road.
After that, we found our way to the road the Anstruther Fish Bar was on, but couldn’t find the building. I don’t know what the GPS was telling him, but Kevin led our car first north a mile or so, then south … all along the same small road. Yes we had found Anstruther – and it was, in fact, a TINY fishing village. We had found the road it was supposed to be on, and we even had the address…
… but, bizarrely, the buildings on either side did not appear to be in any kind of numerical order …. 36…. 47…. 25…. 19…. ??
And, believe me… it’s not as though we were misreading them. The road we were on was gain one lane. Or, rather, slightly wider than one lane but that INCLUDED cars parked on either side at intervals.
There would be a car parked on the right, half on the sidewalk…. And once we had gotten around it there would be a car parked on the left, halfway on the sideway only 12 or 15 yards down the road…. And then, of course, once we got around that, there’d be another car coming in our direction …. But once they saw there were 2 cars on our side, they would actually have to back up a ways so we could get through.
Combine all of that with the big Mercedes Andrew was driving, still trying to understand the building numbers and at one point a man in a ladder, painting the second story shutters ….. it was insanity! And hilarious!
Not to worry …. We eventually found the Anstruther Fish Bar.
For a small town, the restaurant took up 3 store fronts.
It is set up kid of in the style of a diner – our waitress wore a paper hat and everything – with a small ice cream counter near one of the doors.
We got there around lunchtime and it was quite crowded…. In addition to a few families, we also saw several high-school-age uniformed students (presumably on their lunch break) as well as a group of old (old old) people who appeared to be all there together.
We finally were seated, but only by breaking up our party to a table of 2 (mom and dad) up some short stairs and a table of 4 (me, Andrew, Kevin and Chelsea) down near the ice cream counter.
All 4 of us ordered the “special” : Haddock fish and chips …. According to everything we had heard, as well as all the signage on the outside of the restaurant, this was the best fish and chips in the UK.
Apparently all restaurant meals include a drink and bread and butter … so we all got cans of soda… AND each got a single slice of white bread – straight from the bag…. Sliced in half and served on a small Styrofoam plate.
It was absolutely one of the STRANGEST things we were served the whole trip!
Also, I don’t really understand why ….
As I said, the restaurant was pretty crowded that day … and there was a man with a video camera who appeared to be getting some kind of stock or ambiance-type footage of the restaurant on a busy lunch. We soon found out he was taking footage for the website!
He ended up filming quite a bit of our table … when we were served our fish and chips in particular. I’m SURE it’s because we were pretty much the only table of young people in the whole place.
Andrew and Kevin kept joking about giving each other high-fives over the food and other such cheesy ridiculousness and hopefully have that footage used on the website.
Apparently the Anstruther Fish Bar has been dubbed the best fish and chips in the UK … buy no less authority than the Scottish Tourist Board and others.
… but I wish I had had fish and chips somewhere else to compare it to.
It was just fish and chips to me …. Along with that bizarre slice of bread.
Once we were done with lunch, we (obviously) got some of their homemade ice cream and went outside to eat it …
As it had started raining again…. We stayed in front of the restaurant, under the eaves, eating our ice cream.
While we were standing there, a big van (12 or 15 passenger) with the word ‘Ambulance’ painted on the side double parked right in front of the restaurant.
A group of old people started to cross in front of us and line up to get in the van. And I’m talking REALLY old. The kind of old that when they walk by their eyes are glazed over and they wouldn’t hear you talk to them because they have to use all their energy to stay standing up …
So, as they passed us, one of the younger ones (maybe only 85 or so, in the blue sweater in the photo below) saw Dad – of white beard and bald head – and said to him, “Hey, come along with us!”
Andrew said it sounded like they knew each other and had been talking earlier – but that is NOT the case. This adorable old man just took the chance that Dad had a sense of humor and poked a bit of fun at him!
Hilarious and awesome and we couldn’t stop laughing!
Finishing our ice cream, still laughing at Dad being invited to join the Ambulance, we hopped in the cars and headed back to St. Andrews….