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North Berwick's best cafes, restaurants and food businesses

It’s time for a foodie day trip to this East Lothian town

Published: October 22, 2021
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Don’t save North Berwick for the summer.

It has loads of atmosphere in the colder months, when wild swimming becomes an extreme sport and the Bass Rock is topped with snow as well as guano.

We’re also big fans of its food businesses.

Interspersed by charity shops, there are plenty of couthy cafes, like Buttercup Cafe, and Tea at Tiffany’s. There’s also Alandas, who are opening a branch in Edinburgh, indoor market Why Not?, The Puffin for fish and chips, Fenton Barns Farm Shop and the Scandinavian homeware and accessory shop, Norden, which sells our favourite Lakrids liquorice. So many places, though the below venues are probably our current favourites.

Bostock Bakery's cakes

Bostock Bakery, 42 High Street, North Berwick, www.bostockbakery.co.uk

It’s easy to get carried away when you enter this shop, which has a second branch in East Linton, as it smells so beautifully of coffee and pastries. There’s bread stacked up against one wall, with varieties including their sourdough, country white and bagels, as well as various cakes in the window. A visit is always a highlight of our visits to NB. Prepare to queue.

What should I order?

Their bostock - a slab of brioche, covered in frangipane and flaked almonds - is boss, as are any of their pastries, from croissants to cinnamon knots. Also, their gummy pastel de natas are as good as the ones in Lisbon. Otherwise, they’ve gone very autumnal, with recent menu additions including seasonal sausage rolls, pecan tart and croque croissant.

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Steampunk Coffee, 49a Kirk Ports, North Berwick, www.steampunkcoffee.co.uk

This dog-friendly roastery and cafe has had a recent makeover and streamlined its menu. There’s now a neon bicycle by Solas on one wall, plants, new seating arrangements to take advantage of the log burner, and the concrete floor has had the kintsugi treatment with a seam of gold. They’re also currently running occasional Steampunk Sessions, with live music. If you’re Edinburgh-based, you’ll regularly find Steampunk popping up at Stockbridge Market.

What should I order?

A flat white, of course, and take away some of their freshly roasted coffee to brew at home.

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Whitekirk Hill

Whitekirk Hill, North Berwick, www.whitekirkhill.co.uk

Although it opened just before lockdown, this venue has quickly found its feet now that restrictions have been relaxed. There’s an on-site spa, beautiful new self-catering lodges, a play barn and also a family and dog friendly restaurant, The Orangery, with an outdoors area, The Walled Terrace. The food that’s served is comforting and familiar, with macaroni cheese, burgers and other stuff to pad your bones against the chill. As this venue is outside the centre of NB, you’ll need to drive or taxi.

What should I order?

They’ve just re-launched their Sunday Lunch menu, available from noon until 6pm in The Orangery, with two courses for £22.95 and three for £27.95. Dishes include a haggis bonbon starter, a roast beef (and the trimmings) main, and desserts including sticky toffee pudding or a chocolate cheesecake.

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Drift, Quarrel Sands, North Berwick, www.driftalong.co.uk

There are no better views than the ones from this clifftop cafe, which is housed in an up-cycled shipping container next door to a horse trailer that serves takeaway coffee and cakes. It’s the perfect walkers pit stop, if you’re tackling the hill down to Quarrel Sands, and, like so many other North Berwick venues, you can take your pup

What should I order?

Due to popular demand, they’ve just relaunched their brunch menu, which is served from 9.30am until 3pm daily. It includes kippers with lemon, caper and parsley butter, and bread, or rye and spelt granola with caramelised plum, honey and yoghurt. There’s also an autumnal lunch menu, available from noon until 3pm, which includes their excellent Scottish smorgasbord of cheese and charcuterie, or roasted pumpkin and root vegetables, warm lentil salad, wilted greens and walnuts.

The Lawn

The Lawn, Marine North Berwick, 18 Cromwell Road, www.marineandlawn.com

Owned by US company, the Marine & Lawn Hotels and Resorts, the executive chef at this hotel is Chris Niven, of Masterchef: The Professionals 2017 fame. He looks after the food at The Lawn, with its view out to the golf course, and The Bass Rock Bar & Lounge. They only opened last month, so you could be one of the first to christen their plush dining room banquettes.

What should I order?

Skip breakfast on the day of your visit, so you can make space for Tweed Valley beef, oyster, caviar and potato, followed by a whole plaice to share, with caper, sea vegetables and IPA sauce, then chilled hay rice pudding, strawberry, verjus and basil. We also like the sound of a side dish of crispy pomme Anna and salt and vinegar. They’re also soon to launch an afternoon tea.

Herringbone, 1 Westgate, North Berwick, www.theherringbone.co.uk

You’ll find a second branch of this restaurant, bar and cafe in Edinburgh’s Goldenacre, but this is the seven-year-old original. It’s roomy and bright, and the sort of venue to keep everyone happy, from kids to nonagenarians. They’re currently offering live music on Sundays.

What should I order?

Their autumn menu includes za’atar salmon with warm Mediterranean salad and feta, as well as a North Berwick Distillery Gin cured salmon with pickled shallots, chilli and rocket. They’re also big on cocktails, and usually have a pitch at Edinburgh Cocktail Week. Try the Gin & Juice, with Tanqueray Rangpur Gin, Cointreau, passionfruit, pineapple and orange.

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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