The Bistro at Brunton Hall, Musselburgh, East Lothian: a warm welcome, wonderful food (and a fine theatre too)

Musselburgh on the seashore

Musselburgh is a charming, historic market town named after the mussel beds along the shore of the Firth of Forth. The Coat of Arms depicts three mussels and three anchors referring to the 12th century fishing port – still a prime spot for landing seafood today.

Musselburgh Racecourse is the oldest in Scotland,  the 9-hole Musselburgh Links (1672)  is the oldest Golf club in the world,  and there’s also the Championship Golf course, both members of the Golf Coast, East Lothian

As child, my family visited North Berwick holidays as well as regular day trips to the beaches at Yellowcraigs, Longniddry and Gullane.  We would never drive through Musselburgh without stopping for ice-cream at “Luca’s” which has a fascinating heritage: Luca Scappaticcio left his home in Cassino, Italy and moved to Scotland in the 1890s, working as a  hotel chef  which inspired him to create his own special ice-cream. In 1908, he and his wife Anastasia opened their first ice cream parlour in Musselburgh. It is probably, 110 years later, the creamiest ice-cream you may ever taste.

Brunton Hall

Another reason to visit Musselburgh is The Brunton Hall, a well established Theatre, staging a year round programme of drama, comedy, music,  dance, children’s shows, Christmas pantomime and films.  There are two well designed venues which canm be transformed into function halls for private and corporate events, weddings, dinners and conferences.

Venue 1 Theatre

The Bistro at Brunton Hall is a very popular place for coffee and cake, soup and sandwiches,  lunch or evening meal. It was founded in 2006  by two friends, Norma Buchan and Zandra Borthwick  as an innovative development from their successful catering business. They manage a large team including Head Chef Ron Park and his kitchen brigade as well as the front of house waiting staff.

The bright and spacious Bistro

Before a marvellous production of Noel Coward’s “Private Lives” by the London Classic Theatre Company, Ken and I arrived at 5.45pm to enjoy a pre-theatre supper.  The reasonably priced menu (£11,00/16.95/£19.95 : 1/2 / 3 courses), offers a choice of fish, meat and vegetarian starters and main courses, emphasising fresh, local seasonal produce and creative homely dishes.

First a large bowl of Cauliflower soup with chunky brown bread for Ken, while my Belhaven Smoked Trout on a nest of delicious roasted golden yellow beetroot and salad leaves.

Smoked trout salad

The Wine list is well selected with House Wine (Chilean Sauvignon Blanc & Merlot) priced at £4.00 (175 ml glass) and £15 (bottle).  Mini bottles of wine (18.7cl) is a great idea too, as well as Baby Prosecco for one.  Beers and ciders too.   With our meal, we sipped a crisp, ice cold South African Chenin Blanc.

Time for the next course: Coley Fillet with a herb crust,  drizzled with a seafood Thermidor sauce on a mound of mashed potato, all artistically presented (as shown here), with a cute wee prawn perched on the top.

Coley with crab and prawns

The vegetarian option for me was simply perfect – a tasty nut roast smothered in a red pepper coulis and a baked, soft and fluffy sweet potato.  These were both generous portions of hearty good food.  No dessert for us but there was Rhubarb and Ginger crème brulee or Cheesecake.

The Bistro serves Breakfast, (croissants, rolls, scrambled eggs – 9am – 12 noon),  morning coffee, Lunch –  ranging from Soup & sandwiches, to Haddock and chips, Burgers, Macaroni Cheese etc.,  traditional Afternoon tea, (2pm – 4pm), pre-theatre supper and also early evening meals with an a la carte menu.

Afternoon Tea

On the night we were there,  The Bistro was bustling with theatre goers – the most relaxing way to start an evening out. The friendly attentive team of waiters rushed around ensuring everyone was fed and watered before curtain up.  With a warm, welcoming atmosphere, this is a popular social hub for the community and visitors to town, day and night.

The Bistro girls

So, if you are booking tickets at the Brunton Theatre,  coming to Musselburgh for a round of golf or attending a Race meeting, do call in to The Bistro for a superb choice of seriously good food and bar drinks.  Be sure to book a table in advance!

Happy diners at The Bistro. 

“We are regular visitors to The Brunton Bistro at lunchtime. The soups are the star of the show, full of flavour and wholesome. Freshly made sandwiches as well as scones and cakes. A selection of substantial main meals too. Excellent”.

The Bistro at Brunton Hall, Ladywell Way, Musselburgh,
East Lothian,  EH21 6AA

Tel: 0131 653 5250


Opening hours from 9.00am – 7.30pm, Monday – Saturday; (until 5pm if theatre is closed)

Sundays – closed except on performance days.

Private events welcome.

Gluten free cakes


Tags: ,

About vivdevlin

I am an international travel writer, specialising in luxury travel, hotels, restaurants, city guides, cruises, islands, train and literary-inspired journeys. I review dance and theatre, Arts Festivals and love the visual arts. I have just experienced an epic voyage, circumnavigating the globe, following in the wake of Captain Cook, Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: