Having moved from Leith to East Lothian last summer I was already missing the city’s foodie delights when local tiers came into force and I found myself trapped in my new county for six months. Fortunately, East Lothian is abounding with hidden gems in terms of cafes, delivery services and local producers for those willing to seek them out.
I had been craving Soderberg’s cinnamon buns and scouring the internet for a local supplier when I discovered Lewis & Clarke Artisan Kitchen. Like many similar businesses, they were responding to lockdown restrictions by cooking batches of brownies, buns and scones for delivery or collection. Following a brief online exchange, a kind and benevolent soul brought a bag of huge sticky, spicy buns to my house – none of them lasted long enough to make it to the freezer and I was determined to visit the café as soon as restrictions allowed.
Lewis & Clarke Artisan Kitchen is just south of Haddington in the quaint village of Gifford. The business was created by Veronica Clarke and Kate Lewis, who just happens to be a former head pastry and senior sous chef in Michelin star restaurants, so it is safe to say she knows her pudding. A far reach from your standard village caf, they also offer a bespoke private dining experience, which can be booked in your own home for special occasions.
We had been for a long(ish) muddy trek in the Yester Estate so a little indulgence seemed to be in order. Everything on the main menu highlighted seasonal and local ingredients and looked hugely tempting, as did the sausage rolls, cakes and patisserie behind the counter. I was intrigued by the triple decker club sandwich and the reuben, featuring the café’s own salt beef, but as we had a picnic on the village green in mind, we opted for simple toasties and a slice of blueberry frangipane each. I say simple, but the toastie was the cheesiest, gooiest, meltiest I have had in a long time and featured a brilliant combination of salami and chilli jam, while the blueberry frangipane is a specialty of the chef and was light and fruity perfection.
In an exciting collaboration, Lewis & Clarke will be preparing a special evening menu for Marine Fest 2021 at the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick on Friday 4 June, which promises to deliver a seafood feast inspired by local wildlife habitats.
I am interested to see what will be next for this local gem, but in the meantime, I’m definitely going back to try that reuben sandwich.