North Berwick is a seaside town in East Lothian which brings the blood pressure of golfers to dangerously high as Muirfield, North Berwick Links, Gullane 1, 2 & 3, Luffness, The Glen, Archerfield and Renaissance Golf Clubs are all within minutes of one another. That is irrelevant to this blog post as frankly I couldn’t give a flying fandango about the game of golf. It is to do with food. As it usually is.
So there are not many days in Scotland you can sit out and lounge without the addition of thermal underwater, ski jackets, balaclavas, knitted socks and hand warmers but knock me down with a patio heater this week it was hot. Really hot. Hot to the point where if you didn’t slap Factor 30 on your face you might well be on a one way ticket to Casualty with sunstroke. What a shock. So what do us Scots do when the sun comes out ? Head to the seaside – quick and don’t spare the horses.
A quick 30 minutes train journey from Edinburgh takes you to North Berwick and a 5 minute walk from the station along the beach to the harbour will bring you to the seasonal delight enjoying its second year of huge garlicky butter success namely The Lobster Shack. A portocabin branded up and manned by a smiling band of seasonal staff smiling and working their buns off to keep up with demand. For £8.95 you get a half lobster with chips and salad in a recyclable brown cardboard box. You can sit in the small area of tables and chairs laid out to the side or you can sit on one of the dozen wooden benches that line the harbour wall to scoff the goodies. And amazingly even on a not so hot day the benches are all tucked under the height of the surrounding harbour wall thus giving a hot sunny spot where you can bask.
The menu is short an sweet. ½ or whole lobster. Crab cocktail. Fish and chips – the day we were down it was hake and it was fresh fresh fresh. AS the lobsters are consumed Sterling the proprietor can be seen swinging into view carting a large plastic container full of the next batch of clamping, strapping, struggling, dark blue lobsters fighting the good fight allowing people to select the one they would like to eat. To drink you can choose organic lemon cordial, coffee, tea, wine, or my particular favourite which we have just started stocking in Howies –Thistly Cross Cider – brewed in Dunbara mere 8 miles away. It is refreshing cidery and perfect to slake the thirst…..So in baking Scotland we sat outside amongst the clang of boat bells as the tide rose and boats in the harbour rose up to eye level, eating lobster, people watching and drinking in cider in the sun. Bliss.
Our perfect seaside day was finished off by walking over to the Seabird Centre (the nearest loo) and queuing up to buy a Lucas ice cream. There are two ice cream vans – a bright yellow glamorous painted one which I bet has a bell and a whistle too. OR and this is the one you want – a strange Pope mobile shaped white van, under played, low key and to be honest a bit ropey looking. But believe me please – steer yourself and walk past the yellow pimped up machine and queue at the funny one for in this pope mobile lurks the unsurpassable delight of Lucas ice cream. Italian, Homemade. A world beater. Quite divine. A plain vanilla cone with a chocolate flake in it will bring you back to the days when sand between your toes, a bucket and spade and a pair of knitted trunks (oh is that just my husband then) were all the rage
Podged up, we wandered back to the train station for the easy journey home, grinning. Wehad been and done the lobster shack and on some level transmogrified from blue skinned Scot into a red toasted lobsters too.
Open from now til 31st October or when the weather collapses….go……
The Lobster Shack.
North Berwick Harbour