As part of last week’s British Sandwich Week, Katherine Halliday went in search of Fife’s best lunchtime fodder.
The small, yet vibrant, coastal town of St Andrews has a wide variety of food and drink to offer its diverse and ever growing population, roughly half of whom are students. Walking through the streets one is struck by the sheer number of restaurants, cafes bars and delis. I never truly understood the extent of this until, last week, I was asked to write an article on one of the most humble and widely available of these, the sandwich, in honour of national sandwich week. Walking through the streets of St Andrews it seems that there is the opportunity to buy a sandwich at every turn and everyone you talk to has another suggestion as to where I might find the best. And so, after much research – and a lot of bread – I give you 5 of the bet Sandwiches you can find in St Andrews.
Bibis – North Street.
Bibi’s Café on North Street is one of the most popular places for locals to grab some lunch. The brightly coloured blue façade promises something unique, something different, and that is exactly what they get. With fairly basic yet comfortable indoor seating, customers can chose to either eat in with table service or take their food and drink to go – although the small café is often very busy, meaning the option to sit in isn’t always available. Don’t expect to eat your standard ham and cheese sandwich here either, this is more a hummus and red pepper or a bacon, brie and cranberry establishment, a delight for the taste buds, well filled and all freshly prepared to order. But sandwiches aren’t cheap here and will set you back a whopping £5.95! It is worth it, but be warned, some of the other options on the menu are remarkably cheaper. Those who are lucky enough to grab a table inside can enjoy all sorts of light dishes including smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels, eggs benedict or smoked mackerel pate, to name but a few. Bibi’s also has a wide variety of hot and cold drinks as well as milkshakes and ice cream – all to sit in or take away. But the real stars of the show here are the cakes. Fresh, handmade and beautiful, Bibi’ has a wide variety of home baking to offer, from large birthday cakes to tray bakes, cupcakes and scones, most of which are gluten free. Bibi’s is an excellent place to go for a treat or a quick bite to eat and is definitely one of the best places to grab a sandwich in St Andrews.
Cherries, South Street
Cherries is also a popular haunt for students in St Andrews, offering cheap yet delicious cakes, coffees and sandwiches. The indoor and outdoor seating areas are small but easily accessible and although there is no table service, the deli is still a great place to be. On my visit to the establishment the staff were somewhat short with me, the inexperienced patron that I was, but to give them the benefit of the doubt, it was a rather busy place to be. Boards lined the walls advertising what fillings and bread types were available, as well as a selection of suggested filling and bread combinations. Ultimately, however, it is up to the customer to decide what they want on their sandwich which meant I could have my tuna baguette exactly how I wanted it – plain and simple with no butter, the right amount of filling and on bread so fresh it was still warm. Cherries also offers a wide variety of home baking, hot and cold drinks and a wide variety of gluten free options. I didn’t sample any of these but I did meet one local outside who said that she went there regularly for an espresso and a bit of cake for around £3 and that I wouldn’t find anywhere better, or cheaper, in St Andrews.
Zest – South Street
Right next door to Cherries is another sandwich deli which is definitely worth a visit, Zest. The spacious indoor seating area has a friendly atmosphere and is a nice little place to eat whilst having some lunch. There is no table service here and all the sandwiches are sold packaged in a display case, although freshly made on site. The only food not pre-packaged are the bagels, which are made to order, meaning this is the only way to be flexible with your order, there was no indication as to the gluten free options here either. Still, the ploughman’s sandwich was well filled, on lovely soft bread and was a delicious way to fill my famished stomach. Again there is a wide variety of home baking on offer as well unique smoothies and milkshakes which are made to order. I was slightly disappointed on my visit here as I am a frequent visitor to the salad bar they own on Market Street, also called Zest, where you can create your own salad bowl from scratch – a healthier alternative and perhaps a little more exciting than their sandwiches, which, although good, just don’t seem to have the same… Zest about them.
Café in the Square – Church Street
The Café in the square was perhaps the biggest surprise of my sandwich quest and is definitely somewhere I would choose to eat in future. Recommended to me by a friend this establishment, located next door to the Dolls House, has an atmosphere somewhere between a family-friendly pub and a café which, it turns out, is not a bad combination at all. The food seems to also resemble this feeling, with a mix of soup, sandwiches, homemade cakes and pub grub and a wide choice of gluten free cakes and gluten free bread on offer. There is spacious seating inside and out and the staff were very friendly and attentive providing a very quick service. I ordered the very reasonably priced soup and sandwich and was not disappointed. The cup of carrot and leak soup was just the right amount, silky smooth and well seasoned, and made an excellent accompaniment to the generously filled chicken salad sandwich I had. The side salad was also fresh and crispy although perhaps unnecessary on the already full plate. Here you can choose either wholemeal, white or gluten free bread although the sandwiches do come covered in mayonnaise as standard, something I think people either love or hate. Overall though it is an excellent place to stop for a quick lunch or to meet friends for a coffee and a cake.
Gorgeous – Bell Street
Gorgeous is one of those places which is easy to walk past when you are in a hurry or new to the area, but on finding it you wonder why on earth you haven’t heard about it sooner. Located just off of Market Street, the ground floor of the cafe, painted green on the outside, is dedicated to take away orders. A display cabinet is laden with delicious looking cakes and the biggest scones you can imagine, in many different flavours, sweet and savoury, a board on the wall advertising the sandwich fillings available. Upstairs the seating area is decorated in an old fashioned style, like walking into your Granny’s living room fifty years ago – which makes for a comfortable yet interesting experience. Here I ordered soup and a sandwich again and, although the soup was good, the bowl they served it in was too big when coupled with a sandwich and I felt said sandwich itself could have done with a bit more filling. Still, this is one of my favourite places to visit in St Andrews, the scones really are that good! The staff are always friendly and helpful, the food is always tasty and the atmosphere is great. It is worth noting that Gorgeous is constantly busy, so be prepared to wait for a table if you do decide to visit – it will be worth it.
Well, there you have it, a sandwich tour of St Andrews. There are, of course many other places to visit than the ones mentioned here, some I just didn’t feel were good enough to make the list and some I may not have managed to stumble upon yet. But for now, I leave with some ideas for your next lunch date, and I anticipate Gin week – as I feel this will be a little bit more up my street!
Image credit: flickr.com/macieklew