Scotsman Review
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  • Ambience - It's important that a restaurant is inviting. We rate the decor, comfort and atmosphere.
  • Drink - Is the wine or cocktail list as exciting as the food, or does it fall short? Same goes for soft drinks. 
  • Food - We judge dishes on flavour, but also use of produce, cooking skill and presentation
  • Service - The staff and pace of a meal can make or break a meal out.
  • Value - From the food on the plate to service and surroundings, we check that you get what you're paying for.
July 4, 2021

Alandas Scottish Seafood, Longniddry, Restaurant Review

We head to the beach to soak up the atmosphere and sample a taste of Scottish summertime, at Alandas Scottish Seafood van at Longniddry Bents.

Going to the seaside is one of life's simple pleasures, that feeling of complete freedom as you walk barefoot along a golden beach, the sand between your toes, or the sound of schlepping across shingle, or peering into rock pools in search of crustaceans.

I can't decide which is better, but as long as there is the sea and the sky and a far off horizon I'm as happy as the chap skipping in the bracing Skegness posters.

Life's a beach

To be honest, the beach doesn't have to be a global showstopper like Bondi or Copacabana or Luskentyre, I'm happy to make do and mend with an afternoon stone skimming a convenient drive from home base where there is ample parking and loos.

So as Longniddry Bents ticks all those boxes, that's where we are headed to join the rest of the beachgoers soaking up the Scottish summertime special holiday atmosphere on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

I'm a bit lazy when it comes to seaside activities, a sandcastle with a moat or a quick dip of the tootsies is about as adrenaline-fuelled as I can manage.

Time and Tide

Luckily there are some keen watersports enthusiasts, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, whom I can watch safely from the car without getting wet.

There are also dogs aplenty leaping around the shallow bay. I have fond childhood memories of getting a good soaking from a vigorous sandy wet dog shake, followed by a long journey home in the car.

Ah, I can almost smell the heady aroma of wet dog mixed with pungent high tide.

Looking out to sea with the trusty binoculars nature lovers might be able to spot the odd wading bird, although the wild swimmer doing Old English backstroke just offshore might just have scared them all off.

The Bents are located on the John Muir Way and form part of the Firth of Forth Site of Special Scientific Interest, and the best bit for history buffs is that there are still Second World War tank traps around to clamber on.

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All the fun of the fair

All this fresh air and exercise has myself and the elder daughter utterly famished but, luckily, there is a seafood shack plying its wares slap bang in the middle of the car park, promising a new fish and chip experience.

Result. So far it looks pretty familiar, a big old van with music blaring, then a complex arrangement of roped areas.

One to form a socially distanced queue, one roped off for customers to wait while your order is freshly cooked and then another ringfenced for the recycling bins.

Hell mend anyone who uses them for non-customers’ rubbish, I think a wartime siren might just go off if you tried.

When I get to the front of the queue and place my order, the Perspex screen and the music means I have to shout a bit.

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The menu is on the boards either side of the van but it is more than just standard fish and smoked sausage suppers.

Alandas Scottish Seafood
Alandas Scottish Seafood

There are haddock and chips, breaded scampi, crispy king prawns, salt and chilli squid, haggis and chips and Charles Macleod’s Stornoway black pudding supper, and some very posh burgers and the like.

Salt n' Sauce

All the chips are chunky and triple fried in beef dripping with your choice of condiment; vinegar, sauce, Mara seaweed, or garlic and rosemary sea salt.

The chip connoisseur, like myself, opted for the Parmesan and truffle-oil dosed option.

Well, I can enjoy the odour in the car for weeks to come as both of those ingredients packs a pungent punch.

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I perhaps should have gone for the classic cheese and chips pairing but I'm on my holidays, after all.

The offspring opted for the more traditional freshly battered haddock and chips with sauce elegantly drizzled on the top.

She scoffed the lot, saying everything was terrific. I felt bad for the fella who was missing out on the outing so we phoned him to let him know the options and he said, "Get me some crab meat and make it snappy."

We took him home some chips with Scottish crab meat and aioli, which even reheated later, did not disappoint.

Ice Ice baby

The real reason I had wanted to visit Alandas was they had a recent win in the virtual ice-cream section of the Royal  Highland Showcase.

The category attracted fierce competition from around 90 entrants. The four judges were looking for a winning combination of flavour, balance and a lovely aftertaste.

The very top award was scooped by Alandas Gelateria in North Berwick with their apple strudel ice-cream.

Alandas has this van sited at Longniddry Bents No 3 car park, plus a fish and chip shop in Prestonpans as well as the award-winning Gelateria in North Berwick.

We got this licked

By the time we pitched up at the van only chocolate and strawberry-flavoured ice-cream was left, but no matter, it was no hardship to sample both.

Verdict: creamy,  tick; cold, tick; and smooth, tick. The strawberry was more muted but the chocolate packed a flavour punch, deep dark and dreamy and would alone warrant a return to the beach to order again.

A three-stop pilgrimage might have to be arranged, elevenses gelato in North Berwick, followed by lunch on the beach, and then a fish tea to end the day. Summertime in Scotland has never tasted so good.

Alandas Scottish Seafood
Longniddry Bents No 3
EH32 0PU

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Catriona is a freelance writer based in the Scottish Borders, and a nominee for Food and Drink writer at this year's Scottish Press Awards.
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