Balgove Larder - child-friendly Farm shop
Updated: Oct 25, 2022
Even on cloudy days, there is an undeniable vibrance in St Andrews and a delicious smell of the fresh sea.
I head to the St Andrews Aquarium first to entertain the children, it is a lovely place to visit. Soon after it is time for lunch, and I decide to leave the car and push the pram. Within a 15min walk I arrive at the little haven that is the ‘Balgove Larder’.
The entrance to the farm shop is inviting with a free taster of the local gin followed by a wonderful selection of Scottish produce brightening the shelves of the shop but despite the temptation, I go straight to the café.
There is a queue as they don’t take bookings, but no-one seems upset about that. A group of students in front of me are regulars. Steven, a friendly server, welcomes us to our table. The whole place has an unpretentious rustic feel, wooden table, big windows flooding the café with natural light, and paintings of a Highland coo and other animals for sale decorating the walls.
Soon we are offered table number 4, and there is plenty of space for the pram. The menu has good options for starters, mains, puddings or just sandwiches and yes, they have something for the ‘little ones’. We need something to entertain the boys whilst waiting for the meal, and the server improvises well and gives me a bit of the paper from the till and pens from her colleagues. To drink, I opt for Elderflower Presse Belvoir, and the boys choose fresh apple juice, which is served in plastic tumblers, very thoughtful.
To start, we order the chilled beetroot soup, with croutons and balsamic glaze. The colour is fresh and vibrant, the taste is beautiful and Luca, my three- year-old approves 100%.The farm shop has a butcher selling cuts of meat, so Balgove Meatballs are a must, and they are nicely plated with potato gnocchi, tomato base and fresh basil leaves. Luca orders Pork Sausage and Mash, with roast carrots and homemade gravy from the ‘Little ones’ menu. The cutlery is too big for the boys, so I slice the sausages for the boys and I serve little bits of both, meatballs and sausages and they eat with tea spoons. Luca enjoys everything and says: “Mama, this is nice!”. Matti finishes the meatballs and wants more gnocchi but is not too sure about the sausages. He is only two so his palate is changing.
Pudding time provides plenty of options but due to their dairy intolerance, the chef prepares two bespoke peanut butter brownies with caramelised banana and chocolate sauce and pavlova with oat milk custard with seasonal berries and raspberry coulis. The boys’ dad is a pastry chef and award-winning chocolatier so we know puddings well, and our verdict is to add these two options in the menu, delicious!
I look around and see how friendly and welcoming this place is: two ladies catching up with tea and scones. My local fishmonger is there with his wife enjoying his soup and sandwich lunch. And the students from the queue are still there enjoying their lunch too.
Every day, between 12-3pm anyone can stop by and visit the café. Luca, Matti and I will certainly come back, but next time I will need a bigger bag for the farm shop goodies.