On a recent trip to St Andrews, I was in the mood to explore some other villages in the surrounding area. One that stood out for me was the pretty village of St Monans on the East Neuk of Fife, a little over 12 miles south of St Andrews. St Monans is the smallest of the East Neuk fishing ports, filled with 17th and 18th century colourful homes wrapped around the harbour.
The village itself is reaped in history and can be dated back to the 800s, when it was called Inverie. Legend has it that in 875 St Monan was buried at a shrine and the village was then renamed after him. By 1200, the small village was a bustling fishing port.
Along with the houses and main harbour, the village is home to the ruins of Newark Castle, constructed in the 13th century and is where King Alexander III of Scotland spent some of his childhood. The 18th century St Monans Windmill is also a must visit where you can view the disused salt pans which were used dating back to the 1700s when salt production was one of Scotlandâ€™s largest exports.
St Monans is the perfect destination to explore the local area, and of course get a bite to eat within the famous East Pier Smokehouse. East Pier is situated right by the harbour in a beautifully blue-painted building which means that the smokehouse’s seafood offerings canâ€™t get much fresher. From whole lobster, langoustine, sardines, mussels to tempura prawns, in my eyes they can do no wrong.
Made fresh to order, East Pier Smokehouse have daily specials depending on availability and season. Order at the till, take a number and find yourself a table in the numerous seating areas. I quite liked sitting up on the terrace watching the crashing waves while we ate. It can get a tad chilly as the day goes on but luckily, I spotted a basket of blankets. Very thoughtful.
Sadly when we arrived, they were fresh out of the special of day, lobster, so I ordered Alder-smoked Prawn Tempura which came with an Asian dipping sauce, salad and chips (Â£12.50). Deliciously plump prawns and a flavoursome sauce. I wanted to eat this all over again.
Ross devoured Pan-fried Sardines in a smoky garlic butter with picked rhubarb, potato salad and green leaves (Â£12.50). Stealing some of my chips, naturally. They were great chips.
You can tell that the team behind East Pier Smokehouse care about the produce they cook with and it is no wonder that hoards of others agree. They let the Scottish seafood shine and to me, thatâ€™s perfection.
If youâ€™re in the mood for a road trip, definitely head to St Monans and check out East Pier Smokehouse while youâ€™re there. You wonâ€™t be disappointed.