Anstruther is famous for its fish and chips, but if you’re after something more refined, the town is also home to the superb Cellar restaurant
It’s August, which means it’s time for vast swathes of Edinburgh’s middle classes to decamp to the East Neuk of Fife for their holidays. Long days to be spent on the beach or the golf course followed by long evenings in quaint seaside hostelries, such as Elie’s recently revamped Ship Inn. There’s fish and chips for supper, of course, but also, more than ever before, fine dining too.
The Cellar in Anstruther, tucked away in a lane behind the Scottish Fisheries Museum, has been a fixture in these parts for decades. For 30 years it was owned and run by Peter Jukes and enjoyed a reputation as one of the finest, most reliable, fish restaurants in the country. When he died in 2013, however, the restaurant’s future was thrown into doubt.
Cue the arrival, last year, of 31-year-old Billy Clockwise from top: Wooden beams and an open fire give the Cellar a cosy atmosphere; just two chefs prepare the entire menu; a great deal of artistry goes into making the food look as good as it tastes. Boyter, an Anstruther native who, following a spell at Martin Wishart, had spent seven years at the Balmoral in Edinburgh, the last two as head chef of Number One, the grand old hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant. Boyter promised that he would serve the same standard of food in Fife as he had in the capital, just in a smaller and more relaxed setting.
It would be an exaggeration to say the Cellar is now a shoestring operation, but with just two chefs in the kitchen and two front-of-house staff, it’s certainly pleasingly low key and intimate. There are only seven or eight tables and the room, as t he restaurant’s name would suggest, is low-ceilinged and oak-beamed. It feels a little like a secret discovery, the preserve of those in the know. However, the quality of the food – and, indeed, everything else about