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Be Proud of Your Teeth

The seaside town of Arbroath is famous for many reasons:

  • For the Declaration of Arbroath
  • For its beautiful and incredibly history-riddled ye olde Abbey
  • For being the home of the Arbroath Smokie, a tasty smoked fish that has Protected Designation of Origin status (just like Champagne, Parmesan and Newcastle Brown Ale) and its very own tartan!
  • For being the toon where Mothership-in-law Mary is from!

When visiting Arbroath recently I found the above was the mere tip of the tourist iceberg. There was so much more to see, like the sandwich shop called Goodfillaz and the Macdougall Dentist Surgery:

dentist.jpg

We wandered round the town admiring the buildings, many of which were made from local red sandstone. Behind the Abbey was a bustling red sandstone bowling club.

"I cannae wait to be old," Gareth said almost wistfully as we peered through the fence, "I'm totally going to bowl. Grey trousers and everything."

bowl.jpg

I took a few photos of the Abbey itself but didn't go inside. It was £4.50 to get in and we only had a tenner on us. If we went into the Abbey we wouldn't have had any money for dinner. When choosing between stomach and brain there can only be one winner.

To me the jewel in the Arbroathian (?) crown was Peppo's fish shop. In my humble and gluttonous opinion it just may contain Scotland's deep-fried Holy Grail – the Best Fish Supper in the land! In my 4.5 years over here there have been two major contenders – the famous Anstruther Fish Bar (as graced by Tom Hanks and Prince William) and the fanbloodybrilliant Ben Ledi Cafe in Callander, but I think Peppo's has the edge. Long-term lurkers may recall I moonlighted as a fish and chip shop lass during university, so whenever we're in line at a chippie I can't help provide Gareth with annoying commentary and analysis on their business practices.

  • There were good signs right from the start – a queue of pensioners halfway down the block waiting for the place to open, and a gang of seagulls loitering across the street. If anyone knows good chips, it's pensioners and seagulls.
  • When the doors opened the two charming fellas behind the counter greeted customers by name (except us two strangers, of course)
  • There were framed poems on the wall written by satisfied customers. Poems with a dozen stanzas! Now that's devotion.
  • Everything was cooked to order. Big deal! you may say, but in sooo many places over here the goods sit in a warmer getting all soggy then get resuscitated in the fryer upon purchase.
  • Most places cook chips by putting them into a basket, then lowering the basket into the oil. These chips were free range! The basket was tipped out into the fryer so they could swim about, instead of being squashed up in their metal cage. They splashed and dove then fished out once they'd floated back to the top, all crispy and perfect.
  • Once the fish came out of the fryer they stood each piece up vertically for a couple of minutes to let the excess oil drain. Such innovation!

It was bloody delicious too. Clean light crispy batter on succulent fish and chips that seemed the marry the best of Australian and Scottish chips – crisp on the outside but tender in the middle. Hubba hubba!

Fish supper at Arbroath
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About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m an author, copywriter and old school blogger. I love telling stories about life and helping my clients to tell theirs. Find out more about me and how we can work together.


30 thoughts on “Be Proud of Your Teeth

  1. Oh, I LOVE Arbroath!! We often stay at a wee cottage belonging to an ex-family member (long story)just outside Arbroath at Ethiehaven. We always always stop for chips on the way up, even though you have to fight the seagulls for them. And my kids like going on the little train on the seafront or the wee model two stroke engine bus that they sit inside behind the driver. And there’s a pub down near the harbour that used to serve frogs legs and chips followed by a brilliant invention: if your group was big enough ie four people or more, you could order the Surprise Desert. This was basically the leftovers of all the other deserts they had been serving lately, stacked on a plate and covered in cream, like a big creamy pillow on a plate. You had to dig and fish around to find out what was in there. The conversations went sort of “I’ve found chocolate fudge cake over here!” “Hang on till I finish this profiterole and I’ll be right over” Disgustingly delicious.
    Vastly under-rated wee toon in my opinion. Glad you appreciate it too!

  2. Why wait to be old :). I ate fish and chips for breakfast this morning. Although to be fair it was really dinner since I hadn’t been to bed. But…

    Love old Abbeys.

  3. Your description almost brings a wistful tear to my eye. When I first arrived in the UK, ancestral home of fish ‘n’ chips, I thought I had a treat in store. Alas, many soggy meals later… (And let us not speak of the radioactive green cludge that pretends to be peas.) Obviously, I need to move to a little town in Scotland.

  4. I once read that the adjective for Arbroath is “Aberbrothic”. Not sure whether it’s true, but it does roll off the tongue rather nicely.

  5. I thought you were calling someone “testy” there, and looked for the grumpy comment above.

    D’OH.

    Mmmm…I need to find BETTER chippies next time I’m visiting. I really miss the vinegary brown sauce, but not the soggy chips.

  6. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one that does the commentary thing. I’m an ex cafe waitress, and an ex shoe sales person, and my other half always has a quiet giggle when as I analyse the service…

  7. As an ex-barista, every single time I buy a coffee, my boyfriend has to wait for the verdict. Flat whites aren’t flat enough, beans are burnt, milk is watery, etc. Thing is, I wasn’t that good myself.

  8. Well, the son’s girlfriend comes from Arbroath, or near there, and I had always imagined it as a bit grim – never having been there. Sorry, Arbroath! We will now go, on your recommendation.

    By the way, K says she hopes you got her email this time.

    Love the dentist sign. We once had a dentist called Mr Ow. Really! Well, not really – he was a Chinese chap and didn’t spell it like that. But that’s how it was pronounced.

  9. Are Scottish fish n chips different to English ones…you have brought atear to my eye as I remember FnCs inthe Old Dart…..yumm

    and btw, Arbroath also has a not very good football team lol

    Great posts…thanks

  10. cherie – that’s classic. i was pretty rubbish at frying fish, too 🙂

    Nice one Steve… hehe 🙂

    Isabelle – Mr Ow! Ha! I replied to K’s email, yep 🙂

  11. Mein gott in Himmell, woman, you have me drooling on my keyboard over some fish and chips!

    My cardiologist will seek you out and hunt you down, like the scurvy dog ye be…

  12. Mein gott in Himmell, woman, you have me drooling on my keyboard over some fish and chips!

    My cardiologist will seek you out and hunt you down, like the scurvy dog ye be…

  13. Lawn bowls is becoming a younger person’s sport. Warn Gareth about wearing whites! Maybe sit him through “Crackerjack”, a very funny Mick Molloy movie, before he commits fully.

  14. Well, the son’s girlfriend comes from Arbroath, or near there, and I had always imagined it as a bit grim – never having been there. Sorry, Arbroath! We will now go, on your recommendation.

    Love the dentist sign. We once had a dentist called Mr Ow. Really! Well, not really – he was a Chinese chap and didn’t spell it like that. But that’s how it was pronounced.

  15. I haven’t read anything about your work lately. The last thing I remember is about the 2 hour lesson on the copier…hilarious by the way…Do you still have an office job? Or have you quit to write full time?

  16. All this talk of Arbroath but nobody has yet mentioned Arbroath 36 Bon Accord 0 (the biggest winning margin in first class football, at least it always used to be in my boyhood, I’ve a feeling the Australian national team may have recently broken the record when piling on the goals against some nearby tiny island. There you are Shauna, another Scotland/Australia connection for you, you can have that one for nothing…

  17. Ahh Jonathan, Gareth just saw your comment and chuckled at the memory of that scoreline 🙂

    Jessie – It’s a long story, comrade, but I’m trying not to mix work and blog too much for Dooce-ian reasons 🙂

  18. I have o say I have never been a fan of the Scottish, or for that matter English, fish n chips.

    The fish can be pretty good but the chips, well it’s those ladds that let the side down.

    Terrible aneamic looking oily wee swines.

    I used to go to a Chippy in St Kilda, on Acland street, and they used to knock out brilliant chips and all the fruits of the sea, fried.

    The salmon fish cakes were to die for not from, like most UK ones.

    Having said that I do have a place in my heart, that is lining the aorta,for Gizzi’s grill chips in a glasgow roll and smothered in salt and vinegar.

    taste of childhood.

    Weegies, shortest life expectancey in Europe, how?

  19. Oh my, fish and chips… if I could ontl find fish and chips somewhere here in Lyon, fish in batter, not crumbed…

    And no one seems to understand my pinning for hot, moist, salty flake ‘n chips wrapped in butchers paper. Or believe that fish and chips can be good for that matter.

    Next trip home, the first thing I’m going to do is head out to Bondi for real fish on chips on the beach.

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