East Coast, Musselburgh review: Does this restaurant serve Scotland's best fish supper?

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East Coast
We sit in for a fish supper at East Coast, Musselburgh

Once upon a time, I’d get a fish supper treat on the way home from school, panicking as the precious newspaper-wrapped parcel cooled, and it remains my comfort food genre of choice. Also, as an Edinburger, of course I douse my suppers in mouth-puckeringly vinegary sauce.

I have so many favourite Scottish haunts, from Anstruther Fish Bar, to Fochabers Fish Bar and The Bay in Stonehaven.

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However, I’ve never tried this family business, which has recently been taken over by Riccardo and Gabriella Pia.

Fish supper at East CoastFish supper at East Coast
Fish supper at East Coast

Among many other awards, in 2022, it bagged one of the 50 best in the UK for the third year running by trade publication, Fry Magazine, and, this year, was awarded number one fish and chip shop in Scotland, in a list compiled by Betaway.

When we visited, we were in the six-year-old seafood and grill restaurant, which is adjacent to their older takeaway for those who are eating on the hoof.

Although there was a very slippery floor on our visit, as if it had been buffed with deep fryer fat, this place doesn’t have the canteen feel of, say, Anstruther Fish Bar, as the space and the menu has a more sophisticated Italian vibe. There are wooden partitions to divide the space into rowing-boat-sized sections, and we bagged the window seat, though there’s not the most exciting view out to the local hairdresser, Head First.

We dived into lunch, with starters of crab toast (£13.95) and mussels (£11.50).


Named after the nearby harbour, I’d gone for the Fisherrow garlic, tomato and white wine sauce with my bivalves, though you can also have River Esk, with cream, shallot and white wine.

The broth was buzzing with heat and garlic, and contained about two dozen bouncy butterball mussels, with two slices of sourdough on the side. I was very happy.

In contrast to this vibrant dish, the crab toast was a bit meh.

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The bread was good, but, according to the menu, the chive and micro-herb-strewn meat was clad in mascarpone, chilli and lime, though we could only taste the cheese and it needed something to pull it back from ascetic and forgettable food limbo.

For main courses, I was the lucky one on fish and chip (£17.50) duty.

I was sold on this course straight away, as they offered me a little bottle of brown sauce - yes, please - and included the bonus ball of a peony pink pickled onion on top. I reserved it, for a post supper palate cleanser, as is my wont. If they’d also chucked in a gherkin or an egg, this course might’ve bagged them my first 10/10 in 18 years of restaurant reviewing for The Scotsman.

The twice cooked chip-shop chips were fat and fluffy-centred and the sea salted battered haddock was copper-coloured and craggy at its extremities. I soaked every inch of its surface with sauce, as if slathering on my sun protection cream on the beach. This dish came with a small pot of mushy peas, a wedge of lemon and some tartare sauce, for those who’re feeling posh. Heaven.

My other half had drawn the short straw with the panciotti (£17) - six palm-sized pasta parcels filled with a pale mix of minced scoop and prawn, and served with a thick velvety tomato and white wine sauce.

It was absolutely adequate, but it was not an excellent portion of fish and chips. How can any other main course compare to the OG?

He looked sad, so I offered him a few of the remaining crispy scratchings.

The dessert list includes a classic Italian/French medley of crowd-pleasers like tiramisu (£6.95), creme brulee (£7.50) and tart tatin (£7.50), but we shared the ice-cream sundae (£7.50).

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It consisted of a neat scoop of quality strawberry, as well as vanilla and chocolate ice-cream, plus a dollop of whipped cream, rather than the squirty stuff, with a few raspberries and slightly dry brownie chunks, and a single pansy flower, chucked in for decorative purposes.

This pud was fine, though I could’ve done without it.

All I wanted was the fish and chips, ad infinitum, and why would you come here for anything else but the purest pleasure?

East Coast

171-173 North High Street


How much? Lunch for two, excluding drinks, £67.45

Food 8/10

Ambience 7/10




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