Fife is having a bit of a food renaissance.
It’s something that the Philip brothers, Henry, 32, and his brother Will, 29, wanted to be involved in.
They grew up in the area, as their parents owned The Ship Inn in Elie for 30 years, before selling it seven years ago. After a spell away, with Henry working as a global ambassador for Naked Grouse whisky and William employed by English sparkling wine producer, Hattingley Valley, they recently returned to open a new cafe, the Giddy Gannet in the village of St Monans.
“We both left Elie after we finished university”, says Henry. “I moved to Glasgow and William went down to London. We were lucky enough to travel the world with our work, but both jumped at the opportunity to move back to the East Neuk to start our café. It’s been really exciting seeing all the new businesses appear over the last few years along the coast. Our favourite spots since moving back include The Dreel Tavern, Aeble (Scotland’s first cider shop), East Pier Smokehouse, Kinneuchar Inn and attending the great food markets at Bowhouse.”
The siblings already have experience of running a business. As well as helping their parents, they ran the Beach Hut Cafe in the Ship Inn’s beer garden for five summers. “This was when we really started to become passionate about coffee and dreamed of having our own place,” says Henry.
The Giddy Gannet is in the former premises of what was previously The Diving Gannet. As well as tweaking the name, they now offer a relaxed menu of pastries, cheese scones, sausage rolls, Anzac biscuits, brownies and lemon drizzle cake, along with their favourite drink.
“It was the first thing on our list and we are delighted with the beans we have chosen”, says Henry. “We’re thrilled that they are roasted locally in Burntisland by The Roasting Project. All our baking is homemade and we’re noticing very quickly that our cinnamon swirls are becoming a favourite. Once we have finished our renovations, we will expand our menu to include lots of different sandwiches, soups and more and more home baking”.
It’s currently takeaway only, but they’re hoping to soon welcome customers in from the cold. Then they’ll be able to offer more substantial lunches, like chunky sandwiches, which will feature ingredients including bread from Fife’s Barnett’s Bakery, fish from Kilnhouse and Crail’s JB Penman meat. They expect to be catering to a good mix of locals and visitors, with a fan club building already.
“Everyone has been very welcoming. It’s been lovely getting to know the locals and we’ve had very positive feedback”, says Henry. “We genuinely believe that the East Neuk of Fife has never been more appealing to visit and escape the hustle and bustle of city life. St Monans also has a thriving community of residents and it’s our aim to become a central hub for them to gather and meet up with friends”.
10 Station Road, St Monans