Ah Restaurant week. I don’t think that it’s an exaggeration to say that bar maybe Christmas and Halloween, it’s the best time of the year. When else can go out and indulge in some unadulterated gorging almost every night for a fortnight because it’s just too good an opportunity not to?! Let’s not forget that we have some serious making up to do in terms of eating out locally after the last couple of years. Restaurant Week, along with the rest of the world, inevitably had to put many of their plans on hold, so entering in to my my third year as an ARW ambassador, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m diving in to this one head first, and coming out several pounds heavier on the other side.
In the extremely unlikely event that you’re fresh off a rocket from the moon and have never heard of ARW, let’s get you up to speed.
Bianually, the wonderful people over at Aberdeen Inspired work their socks off to round up some of our most loved restaurants and cafes, along with a host of brand new ones and some hidden gems too, to bring you the same amazing offers for a joyous two weeks of eating until you pop. In the past the united deal on offer has always been two lunch courses for £10, and three dinner courses for £20. Pretty amazing, right?! As if that wasn’t quite incredible enough, you can now also find deals on various offers such as tasting menus, afternoon teas, cocktail classes, and lots more!
After what has been a testing couple of years to say the least for our local hospitality industry, with many of our favourite eateries even having been forced to close their doors, it’s more important now than ever that we get out there and ensure that the Aberdeen food scene continues to thrive. For a couple of weeks (and hopefully long beyond), let’s get off the sofa, ditch the takeaways and make your way to one of the incredible participating venues and show them some love.
Deliverwho? Nah, it’s Aberdeen Restaurant Week pals.
As per all of the previous years that I have been involved, I’m here not only to bring you the scoop on where to find the best deals, but also to bring you a full and honest review of one of the restaurants taking part. This year I was delighted to have been assigned to Namaste Delhi, one of Aberdeen’s most well known Indian restaurants. Serving up traditional Indian cuisine in the unique form of either tapas style, or à la carte dishes, they boast a menu that is guaranteed to please no matter what your taste may be.
The offers available here are either the £20 menu, which includes two courses plus a rice or naan, or Cocktail classes (£50 for 2) and Cookery classes (£75 for 2). While the other options sound fabulous and would make wonderful group activities for a really different and special night out, it was always going to be the sit-down menu for me.
Arriving at the modernly decorated and atmospheric venue, we were warmly greeted by our fabulous server Tom, who it became immediately apparent was super passionate about this business. The menu was explained to us, with details such as the fact that dishes are labelled ‘dry’, ‘semi-dry’ and ‘curry’ to give a clear expectation of the sauciness of your chosen dish. In the resounding words of Tom when speaking of his travels and experience with Indian cuisine, “If you can’t eat it with a naan, it’s not a curry!”.
The cocktail menu was also pointed out, and given that one of the offers available at Namaste this ARW is a cocktail making class, we felt that it was our public duty to try a couple out and report back…
The verdict was very quickly in by the way – they were absolutely fantastic! Expertly prepared and full of flavour, it was refreshing to see a more gourmet selection of drinks on offer rather than the usual beers/wines etc. I highly recommend the ‘Love from Delhi’, made with Plymouth gin, chambord and a ‘dash of love’.
Soon we were met with some poppadums accompanied by a selection of zingy and taste-bud tantalising chutneys to nibble on while we deliberated our menu choices. I was so impressed by these alone that I could tell we were in for a real treat with the rest of our meal.
Pictured: Delhi Chilli Paneer (dry) & Amritsari Fish Pakora (dry)
Delhi Chilli Paneer (dry) (V) (mild)
To say that we were spoiled for choice would be an understatement. Often during Restaurant Week you’ll find that an understandably more limited set menu will be on offer, but Namaste are really pushing the boat out with the extensive range still on offer – I thought I’d be there choosing all day! With a heavy focus of vegetarian and vegan dishes (but with plenty for the meat eaters too), this menu was right up my street.
Just about anything featuring paneer is good in my books, so the Dehli Chilli Paneer was a must for me, and what an excellent choice it turned out to be! When the super-sized portion arrived looking glorious with it’s gorgeous garnish, my mouth instantly began to water. Packed with flavour and bringing a beautifully warming chilli heat, the chunks of marinated paneer adorned with lots of sticky and sweet onions and peppers seriously hit the spot. I’m already planning my next trip just to order this dish again, it was THAT good.
Amritsari Fish Pakora (dry) (spicy)
For the fish lovers out there, this starter is a must try. These crisp white fish filled morsels were just deep fried chunks of heaven. Coated in a delectably spiced batter and fried to perfection, I defy anyone to eat the whole plate and still be left wanting more out of sheer gluttony alone. Served with a slice of lemon and crisp lettuce, the it was light and refreshing despite the spice. The only thing that could have improved the dish just ever so slightly for me is if it was served with a yogurt or something for dipping, but then again I’m an absolute sucker for a bit of food lube with just about anything, so maybe that’s just me! Luckily we had kepy hold of those tasty chutneys that came with the poppadums which did the job very nicely.
Pictured: Mutter Pulao, Paneer Butter Masala (semi dry), Peshwari naan, Masala Chips, Prawn Moilee (curry)
Paneer Butter Masala (semi-dry) (V) (mild)
Paneer again? You betcha! Because if you ask me you can never have too much of a good thing. It’s been about seven years since I last ate meat, but we all have that one thing that you occasionally reminisce about, and for me it’s a really delicious butter chicken, so to see an alternative ‘butter’ style option on the menu had me jumping for joy. I may be missing something in the ‘semi-dry’ description of this one, because the juicy chunks of paneer were enveloped in lashings of rich, creamy sauce that brought the satisfying sweetness of butter; for me this was comfort food at it’s best. Three words: Yum, yum and YUM.
Prawn Moilee (curry) (mild)
As what you would technically class as pescatarians, we usually like to sample a prawn option when it comes to Asian cuisine, and consider the measure of a well executed meal to be a perfectly cooked prawn. Namaste absolutely nailed this one, with large succulent prawns swimming in an exquisite coconut milk, garlic and turmeric based curry sauce, that left the mouth watering and the belly feeling warm and satisfied. This is definitely the crowd pleaser of the menu, with it’s sweet and mild yet luscious flavour.
Our chosen accompaniments were Mutter Pulao, a spiced basmati rice garnished with peas and onions (which I would have happily eaten as a dish on it’s own!) and Peshwari naan, which was had a freshly baked crisp deliciousness, and was stuffed with sweet desiccated coconut, just divine.
Because we are absolute gluttons, and had made the mistake of spotting the ‘Masala Chips‘ while perusing the regular menu, we were unable to resist ordering these as an extra side, and boy am I glad we did. Perfectly crunchy chips coated in a fierey masala seasoning, these were just fabulous, and perfect for dipping in to your curry sauce.
Eyes bigger than our bellies? 100%. Any regrets? Absolutely none.
After this veritable feast and with bellies full of some of the finest Indian food I have come across in Aberdeen, we rolled home having experienced the most enjoyable night thanks to the epic hospitality and immaculate service at Namaste. Chatting all the way about how we couldn’t wait to return and and already discussing all of the friends and family that we would be urging to return with us, it’s safe to say that I highly recommend that you get yourself along there to try it out as soon as possible too.
To check out the full ARW menu on offer from Namaste Delhi, head to their page on the Aberdeen Inspired Website HERE.
Don’t forget to hit up the full list of participating restaurants HERE, and get booking NOW to avoid missing out, because this is guaranteed to be a busy one!
Aberdeen Restaurant Week runs from the 1st to the 14th November. Hope over to Instagram and check out out the hashtag #ARW2021 to see all of the latest goings on, and remember to always #SUPPORTLOCAL.
Until next time, happy eating!