Scream pubs, as they were formerly known, have always had a special place in my heart, spawning from my days working in one while I was at uni in Leicester. Reminiscing about those good old days always conjures memories of the age old classic, the beer and a burger deal; or ‘pound a pint’ nights where you would down questionable pitchers of warm Fosters on a Wednesday night with your flatmates for a laugh, and turn up at uni the next day feeling rough as hell on a weekly basis.
It’s safe to say that when it came to food, these student bars that we all knew and loved were best known for good honest, cheap and cheerful pub grub at best, but it seems that these days things have evolved a bit, especially at The Bobbin in Aberdeen.
The Bobbin, now housed under the Stonegate Pub Company, is definitely the pub of choice for Aberdeen uni goers, but that isn’t to say that the clientele isn’t varied there, I mean yes there’s the obvious student presence made identifiable by various society logos emblazoned on to the back of hoodies wherever you look, but you’ll also find a mix of locals and visitors alike frequenting just as often.
Usually sister venue The Triple Kirks is our pub of choice when we’re in the mood for some no-frills pub grub, purely down to the convenience of the location, but when I was asked to pop along and check out the new menu at The Bobbin, predictably I jumped at the chance to make the trip to King Street and relive some of my (long gone) uni days and try some tasty food at the same time.
Predicting the usual line up, burgers, fish and chips etc, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the menu really has had quite the revamp. Of course you’ll still find those fab meal and a drink offers that keep the students coming back time and time again, but it really felt like the offerings were somewhat more grown up now. Dare I even say, more sophisticated..?!
Something that I’ve noticed pre-menu change was that they were really upping their game when it comes to vegan and veggie options, so I was over the moon to see that the new menu hadn’t broken the trend and that the offering was more extensive than ever, winner!
If it’s a choice between starters and deserts, I’m going starter every time, guaranteed, I’m a savoury gal at heart. The only issue can be choosing just one sometimes, so I’m a huge fan of sharers that allow me to get my greedy mitts on the most types of food possible. The Bobbin’s menu now offers a selection of ‘bites’ – small plates ideal for sharing, and at 3 for £9 (or 5 for £14) it would have been rude not to have given a few of these a whirl.
An even bigger plus point is that four out of the eight options available are vegan/veggie, which made for a tough choice given that we’re used to settling for the one lonely meat-free dish in on the vast majority of menus!
Here’s what we went for…
Veggie nuggets with sweet chilli sauce, pomagranate, sesame seeds and spring onions. Well I could have eaten just about a hundred of these guys. These crispy little bread-crumbed nuggets, Quorn-like in texture, were an absolute treat. The sweetness of the pomegranate paired with the spiciness of the sauce gave this plate a real kick, and the dish felt light and fresh thanks to the bed of salad. This was a winning plate for sure!
Can we also take a moment to appreciate the presentation of not only this, but all of the plates that were set in front of us? We almost forgot that we were at The Bobbin and not somewhere much more high-end for a moment there!
Jackfruit hash brown bars with Violife cheese and spring onion. Because who doesn’t love hash browns, right? Especially when smothered in vegan favourite of the moment, bbq jackfruit. In my experience, jackfruit can be very easy to get wrong, and I’ve had a several versions in the past that were nothing short of bland and tasteless, However The Bobbin came through yet again with a delicious punchy sauce that offset the hash browns and tangy vegan cheese perfectly. Another winning plate!
Cod goujons with mayo. As much as we eat vegan/veggie about 95% of the time, we stretch to fish on the odd occasion, and on this particular occasion, these cod goujons were calling out to us. Wrapped in crisp, tasty batter, these chunky cod goujons were yet another success, especially with the chilled mayo for dipping. The only thing that would have really topped it off would have been a wedge of lemon to squeeze all over, but I’m really picking at faults here.
It’s safe to say that the starters went down a storm, having left not a single scrap behind, and our expectations for the mains were now suitably raised.
With mains such as the double beef pitstop pie, plant based tikka masala, budha bowls and even and entire mac and cheese section, the menu offers flavours from around the world, but it was the old american classics that drew us in this time, the carb craving was real and had to be satisfied.
Here’s what we had…
Louisiana Chick’n burger with a burger cheese slice, and a side of onion rings. (VG). This sizeable burger was Grant’s choice, but obviously I had to have a taste for the sake of the review… served with fries, this vegan ‘chicken’ burger coated in southern fried spices was tasty, juicy and satisfying, as were the generous portion of crunchy onion rings on the side. Grant went with the ‘Keep it simple’ option – iceberg lettuce, chopped onion and gherkin and vegan mayo, but you can also choose the ‘Smoky soya sloppy joe’ topping – with red pepper and sesame houmous, spinach and cheese, sounds delish!
Moving Mountains hotdog loaded with mac & cheese and angry fries (V/VG). Oh boy…was I beginning to think that my eyes had been bigger than my belly when ordering this gargantuan beast of a hotdog? Absolutely. Was I going to eat every last bite of it anyway because it was just that bloody good?
You know it. Served in a beetroot bun, smothered in creamy mac and cheese and topped with ketchup, mustard and crispy onions, this was quite possibly the best and most authentic tasting meat-free hotdog I’ve had. If there’s one thing I miss since going veggie, it’s a good old fashioned hotdog, but this one ticked every box and could quite easily have been the real thing. Man was I happy! Opting for angry fries (topped with stilton and Franks RedHot sauce, thus making my meal non-vegan) this was a seriously tasty plate of food, and satisfied my junk food craving perfectly.
You meat eaters will be happy to know that a regular pork version is also available, everyone’s a winner!
Feeling pretty defeated by the large amount of food we had just consumed, but not quite ready to give up altogether, we settled for sharing a dessert, purely for the purposes of research you understand…
Cookie sandwich (V). As much as I wanted to give the mouthwatering vegan option a go – a chocolate salted caramel torte (insert heart eyes emoji here!), I had cookies on the brain so the cookie sandwich won the race. Stuffed between two chocolate chip cookies were layers of peanut butter and Nutella, all drizzled with sweet caramel sauce, it looked a dream. Unfortunately here came my only criticism of the whole meal so far. I’d hazard a guess that this dessert comes pre-assembled and frozen, as I couldn’t physically get my fork to break through the cookie to take a bite, whoops!
Once given time to thaw a little, the combination was sweet and delicious, but I had imagined a warm soft cookie allowing the fillings to melt and ooze out, but guess what, I ate the lot anyway so I really can’t complain too much.
All in all this had been a fantastic meal that came so close to being without fault, but one that surpassed my expectations by a mile, so it’s safe to say that we’ll be returning to the Bobbin sooner than is probably reasonable, even if only for that incredible hotdog…
Huge thanks to The Bobbin for having us along to try out the new menu. This meal was gifted but all views are 100% honest and my own.
Until next time,