Last week I returned from St. Andrews, Scotland, where I was participating in a summer program. While I was there, I had opportunity to sink my teeth into some truly delectable food. I will spend this article briefly describing my favorite meals and dishes from a variety of restaurants throughout the town. Here is the list in no particular order:
1. The Double Bacon Cheeseburger from Burger. (http://www.burgeruk.co.uk): If you were under the impression that tasty burger joints would be sparse in Scotland, you would be sorely mistaken. Tucked away at the end of South Street (one of the three main streets of St. Andrews), the aptly named Burger. Restaurant resided. While Burger. does dish out some delicious options such as Chicken Burgers, Mac n’ Cheese, and Chicken Wings, it would be a travesty to go and not ingest a burger. My go-to burger was the Double Bacon Cheeseburger. Nestled between the two thick, porous brioche buns were two dense, juicy patties, several generously cut slabs of salty bacon, a plastering of melted cheese, a firm quarter-inch beefsteak tomato, and several slivers of sandwich pickles. I urge you to try Burger. if you are in the area!
2. The Fish and Chips (Haddock) from Tail End (http://www.thetailend.co.uk): With a town situated so conveniently beside the tantalizingly serene water of the St. Andrew’s Bay, it would truly be a shame not to dive your fork into some of the town’s world renowned Fish and Chips. The tricky business with Fish and Chips in St. Andrews is which restaurant you choose to affiliate yourself with. The choice is typically between Tail End Restaurant and Cromars Restaurant. While you can surely enjoy both, being faithful to one restaurant can prove to be immensely beneficial in developing a relationship and bond with the chefs and staff of said fish joint. Luckily, as a result of only being in St. Andrews for about a month, I didn’t have to demonstrate my loyalty to either of the restaurants, and had free reign to eat wherever my stomach desired. The Haddock Fish and Chips from Tail End were delightful. Haddock is a flakey, white fish, and is a classic choice for Fish and Chips recipes. When fried, the pristine, snowy flesh of the fish becomes extremely moist and buttery, while the outside presents the consumer with a crisp, golden-brown exterior. The chefs at Tail End were able to accomplish just that. The hunk of crusty fried haddock was accompanied with a bountiful metal basket of “bottomless” fries.
3. The Chicken Tikka Masala from Maisha (http://maisharestaurant.co.uk): As a dining spot frequented by British Royalty and British politician Boris Johnson (along with a slew of other British and Scottish celebrities), Maisha has gained immense fame in the greater St. Andrews area. I traveled to Maisha with my old friend Nikki who happens to be a sophomore at the University of St. Andrews, and heavily recommended giving the Indian joint a try. The interior of Maisha screams authenticity in all senses of the word, and the superb cuisine reaffirmed that preconceived suspicion. The Chicken Tikka Masala was spot on. The mounds of chicken were moist and tender, and the creamy, coconut-infused masala sauce presented a mild compliment to the otherwise salty dish. An incredible sauce is able to elevate a dish to its highest level, and the masala at Maisha was able to accomplish that task with ease.
4. The Mint Chip Ice Cream from Nardini’s (http://www.nardinis.co.uk): Ice Cream without hot fudge is like peanut butter without jelly, a book without pages, or a house without a roof. Luckily, the Mint Chip Cone from Nardini’s was well equipped with an ample portion of hot fudge. While most ice cream connoisseurs expect the fudge to be served atop the cone, Nardini’s chose a different vessel for their hot fudge transportation. Before each hulking scoop is balanced delicately on the sugar cone, the bottom interior of the cone is given a hot fudge bath. This dosage of hot fudge ensures that each ice cream filled bite of the cone is met with a healthy amount of hot fudge. Aside from the glorious new age utilization of hot fudge, the Mint Chip Ice Cream was wonderfully velvety, and was an extremely refreshing treat on a hot summer’s day.
5. The Oreo/Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream from Jannetta’s Gelateria (http://jannettas.co.uk): Staying with the theme of Ice Cream, Jannetta’s Gelateria is an absolute “can’t miss” when you are visiting St. Andrews. I would even go as far as to say that it is equally important to stop into Jannetta’s as it is to visit the famed Old Course. With the motto “Four Generations, One Passion,” it is clear that Jannetta’s takes pride in their frozen creations and has spent multiple generations honing their craft. After hearing only positive things about Jannetta’s leading up to my arrival in St. Andrews, I decided to pay the joint a visit on my very first day. Ravenous after a 6 and a half hour plane ride, I needed to satiate my hunger and I needed to do it stat. As I busted into Jannetta’s fresh off the plane, with a hunger that only ice cream could tame, I crafted my order. While Jannetta’s offers a true plethora flavors, I decided to keep it somewhat subdued and order the Oreo/Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream. The ice cream at Jannetta’s is incredibly creamy and rich, and the addition of BOTH Oreos and Peanut Butter Cups truly sent this dish over the edge. I ended up returning to Jannetta’s on several occasions and obtained different (but equally delicious) flavors each time.
6. The Varona Sandwich From Rocca Italian Deli (https://www.facebook.com/RoccaItalianDeli/): Rocca Italian Deli was by and large my favorite lunch spot within the small town of St. Andrews. The tiny space in which Rocca resided was filled with only the best Italian treats. The walls were abounding with hulking bags of biscotti, mounds of delicious cannoli and other Italian cookies, while the back of the restaurant was designated for sandwich preparation. I spent most of my time in that area, and during my many visits to Rocca, I sampled three delightful sandwiches: a Julieta, a Roma, and a Varona. While each sandwich was flavorful in and of itself, the Varona was by far my favorite. A stunning Varona sandwich is built on a crusty roll, and is plentiful with a considerable quantity of Rosemary infused ham (sliced paper thin), bursting tomatoes, peppery greens, and a dash of oil. The Rocca sandwiches were so tasty, that some days I ordered more than one sandwich and saved the extra one for later (Rocca closed at around 5:00 p.m.).
7. The Fish and Chips (Cod) from Cromar’s (http://cromars.co.uk): The Fish and Chips from Cromar’s were truly masterful. The slender piece of Cod (a fish similar to Haddock, but a bit moister), was fried to a bubbly, oily perfection and served alongside slightly soggy truffle oil-infused fries. While the soft fries did detract a bit from my overall impressions of the restaurant, the fish was so well done that I began to forget about the subpar fries. The chefs at Cromar’s were able to keep the fish supple and delicate on the inside, while still maintaining a golden-hued, crispy exterior. I don’t think I could chose between Cromar’s or Tail End, but you can’t really go wrong with either choice.
Overall my trip to St. Andrews was full of great food and wonderful memories (many of which were food-centered), and I would heavily recommend making the trek.