Best Cel­lar

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

Scottish Field - - RESTAURANT REVIEW - WORDS THE MYS­TERY DINER IL­LUS­TRA­TION BOB DE­WAR

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

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