ABERDEEN RESTAURANT WEEK AT SIBERIA BAR & HOTEL [Ad]

Over the years that I’ve been frequenting Siberia, it has had many incarnations, all of which have at some point or another provided me with somewhere to eat, drink, have one too many a late night, and even work in. I must have eaten there a hundred times, but when I was invited to review the menu for Aberdeen Restaurant Week I knew I’d be trying something new and exciting, because if there’s one thing that this bar does well, it’s constantly bringing fresh new tricks to the table.

If you’re yet to get the low down on what Restaurant week is all about, head to my previous blog post which gives you a full overview HERE.

As one of Aberdeen’s most popular and thriving bars located right in the centre of lively Belmont Street, I’d find it hard to believe that there are too many of you that have never visited before, but just in case, here’s the vibe.

With a laid back, open and airy industrial feel, paired with modern furnishings and quirky-cool features, the atmosphere is always on point here, and the bar staff to match.

This bar and eatery is just as popular on a Saturday night when the vast array of flavoured vodka shots are flowing as it is on a chilled sunny afternoon while friends enjoy cold cocktails on on the outdoor terrace.

They will be offering both a separate two courses for £10 lunch, and three courses for £20 dinner option, and wanting to sample as much as possible, we showed up for dinner on a relaxed Monday evening. With a full menu change only recently having taken place, it was fab to see some brand new off menu items coming together to create this ARW offering.

The Starters…

If there is only going to be one veggie option, veggie haggis and oatcakes is a bloody good one in my books. Although missing the promised shredded beetroot which would have added a nice tang, the dish was still well balanced and tasty, with just the right amount of spice coming through in the kick of an aftertaste. A little whisky sauce would have gone a long way to counteract the natural dryness of the oatcakes, but overall this was a flavoursome starter that I would happily eat all over again.

Predictably Grant went for the Cullen skink, an all time favourite of his – so much so that he considers himself to be quite the connoisseur, so his opinion is usually pretty bang-on when it comes to this Scottish classic.

Adding a twist, the smooth creamy sauce was served solo in jug, ready for pouring over a freshly cooked fillet of smoked haddock which was resting on top of a pile of leeks and potatoes. Listed as being served with popcorn clams (which I mistakenly presumed to be a crunchy wee battered version, no?!) I was informed that the clams were actually blended in to the soup, which seems a little redundant, but didn’t make this starter any less tasty. Having a wee taste of Grant’s, I fully agreed with him with the smokiness and seasoning was absolutely on point, and the fish well cooked, flaky and delicious.

The Mains…

This is the part where I get to be all smug and pretend that I opted for the super healthy choice by going for the Scottish Bhudda Bowl – a generous bowl filled with Scottish pearl barley, root veg, whisky sauce and veg crisps. This certainly was a feast for the eyes and the presentation as with everything else so far was beautiful. Spiralled carrot and crisp beetroot made for great texture while the barley was wholesome and filling.

Expecting creamy whisky sauce which is a fave of mine and would have transformed this from a lunchtime to an evening dish, what came with it was more of a mustard vinaigrette, which for me, a bit like the avocado, didn’t really work with it. It was also a bit of a shame to see the same mini turnips that had featured on the starter, which means that if you are vegetarian, you are being served the same element twice, but overall this was still a flavoursome and healthy dish.

Grant chose the Breaded Lemon Sole, and purely on sight, this is a mouth watering plate. Crispy, golden fish resting on top of the chunkiest handcut chips, served with tangy home made tartare and roasted tomato ketchup, and a pea puree.

Siberia have taken a classic fish and chips and elevated it to restaurant standard with care and attention. For once me and my big gob have absolutely nothing else to say about this, other than that it was absolutely Delicious! I predict that this will without a doubt be the best seller during ARW.

The Desserts…(and cocktails)

Now I’m not normally one for a dessert, but one thing that lures me in every time is a sticky toffee pudding. This homemade pud with lashings of toffee sauce served with a quenelle of salted caramel ice cream hit the spot perfectly. It would have been rude not to go the whole hogg and try out a cocktail too, so for me it was the Mint choc chip to wash it down with and round off the meal perfectly.

Why have an After Eight when you can have an After Eight flavoured cocktail, right?

Although fit to burst after his main, Grant rose to the challenge to bring you guys the most extensive review possible and tried out the Mocha profiteroles with vanilla pod ice-cream. Not being a coffee lover I avoided stealing a bite of this one, but he assures me was sweet with just the right amount of coffee induced bitterness. It was well flavoured and garnished beautifully with micro mint and toffee discs.

Grant chose the Elderflower French 75 (which I absolutely did have a taste of) to accompany his pudding. This fresh and tart cocktail worked perfectly to cleanse the palette at the end of the meal and cut through the sweetness of his cream filled dessert.

Don’t forget that Siberia is one of over forty local Restaurants taking part in the latest instalment of Restaurant Week by offering amazing menus and events throughout the week so to get all the goss and plan your eating journey for the week, head to www.aberdeenrestaurantweek.com.

Have a fabulous restaurant week everyone, and don’t forget to share your food journeys with us throughout the week by using the following hashtags:

#COMEDINEWITH US

#ARW2020

Until next time food lovers!

B x

*This blog post is in paid partnership with Aberdeen Inspired, but as always, all views are 100% honest and my own.

Aberdeen Restaurant Week is back! [Ad]

Yes folks, once again it’s the time of year that every self-proclaimed foodie has been waiting for – Aberdeen Restaurant week is back, and it begins next week!

This means two things…

1. That I’m back as an ARW ambassador bringing you all of the latest recommendations and info that you need to eat your way through the week in the most efficient and indulgent way possible.

2. My so-called ‘health kick’ is about to go out the window so fast that my postie had better be on the look out for my will power as it soars past his head first thing on Monday morning. Diet starts March…?!

What’s it all about?

Just in case you’ve been hibernating for the last couple of years (and I wouldn’t blame you in this bloody weather), here’s a quick overview of what it’s all about.

Biannually, Aberdeen Inspired unite the food loving locals of Aberdeen by bringing us a week long celebration of dining out at a plethora of our finest indigenous establishments. During the 5th instalment of this wonderful belly-busting week, you can expect to see some familiar offers, two lunch courses for £10 or three dinner courses for £20 at no less than FORTY-SIX of our finest venues – wow!

The aim is to support local businesses by giving the people of Aberdeen a chance to try some truly outstanding menus at an even more incredible price. Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of frequenting the same old reliable places time and time again, so what better an opportunity to discover a new favourite than during ARW.

What’s on offer?

As well as the return of the awesome £10 and £20 menus, several venues are once again offering Tasting menus and afternoon teas. As always you can check out the full line-up and find out who’s offering what by heading to www.aberdeenrestaurantweek.com to find out.

As if all of these amazing offers weren’t enough to have us full to the gunnels already, Aberdeen Inspired are mixing it up this year with a few new tricks up their sleeves…

What’s new?

Adding an interactive and fun element to the lineup, you can now sign up for cookery classes at selected venues, such as whipping up an Italian storm at PASTA, located within Aberdeen market, or mastering the art of curry making at Namaste Dehli. How exciting!

The one that has really got people talking this time around is the newly introduced FOOD TOURS.

Partnering with Grampian Escapes and Tours, ARW is bringing you a unique street food experience where you”ll take a two hour tour around the gastronomic world, sampling delicious dishes from four separate eateries along the way.

We were lucky enough to be treated to a first glimpse of the food tour, so here’s how it looks!

Starting at The Pigs wings for some deli delights, you’ll venture on to The Latin Way for some tasty tacos, followed by a warming caribbean curry at Tango Turtle, all wrapped up by some incredible ice cream at Mackie’s 19.2. How’s that for a great night out?!

The great thing about these tours is that you’ll be led by a lovely tour guide who’ll take you on a historical trip through Aberdeen’s most noted food facts, whilst introducing you to the faces behind the businesses so that you can hear the inspiration for all that they do straight from the horses mouth.

Tickets for these excursions are already selling fast, so be sure to snap yours up HERE before it’s too late!

This really is shaping up to be the best Restaurant week yet and and I can’t wait to spend the week sharing my experiences and top tips with you all week long. Keep up with me on Instagram for all of the drool-worthy food pics you can handle, along with my top recommendations for the hottest spots to dine out.

As always there are a host of other wonderful bloggers covering the event which you can check out here, so give everyone a follow to keep up with their foodie journeys too.

I’ll be officially reviewing Siberia Bar and Hotel this time around, so tune back in soon to see get the full scoop.

*Spoiler alert…it was fabulous!

Until next time (when I’ll probably be about a stone heavier..),

B x

[This blog post is in paid partnership with Aberdeen Inspired, but as always all views are honest and my own.]

IN REVIEW – NEW MENU AT THE BOBBIN [gifted]

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.

Exterior of The Bobbin, a student pub 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.

The Menu…

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!

Starters/Sharers…

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…

New menu item at the Bobbin Aberdeen, cod goujons with mayo.
Cod goujons with mayo.

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.

The Mains…

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!

The Desserts…

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.

New menu item at the Bobbin Aberdeen, Cookie sandwich with icecream, nutella and caramel sauce.
Cookie Sandwich with peanut butter, nutella & caramel sauce.

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,

B x

THE WANDERING BARTENDER – COCKTAIL CLASSES THAT COME TO YOU [AD-GUEST]

When I think of cocktails, there are very few negatives that spring to mind – but if I really rack my brain I could come up with just one…that I don’t have my own personal bartender to serve them to me in the comfort of my own home. Well thanks to The Wandering Bartender, you can make that dream a reality.

The brainchild of Mark Herbert and partner, the Wandering Bartender is the most fantastic enterprise offering cocktail making masterclasses that come to you. Hen parties? They’ve got you covered! Team building events? Always better with gin, right?! Whether it’s a birthday, engagement, or just a Friday night in with the girls, TWB will bring you all the fun of a night on the tiles at any venue of your choosing, and you’ll even get a bit of education thrown in there for good measure 😉

When myself and the rest of the blogging gang were invited along to try out a masterclass for ourselves, the answer was a very definite yes. When we were invited along to try out a cocktail masterclass at a castle no less… the answer was a resounding ‘HELL YES!’. The Barn at Barra was to be the setting for the day, so having a reason to dress up a bit swish as we made this stunning wedding venue and it’s scenic surroundings our home for the afternoon, added to the excitement even more.

The event was shaping up to be a pretty epic collaboration, with sponsors such as Hotel Chocolat donating delicious sweet liqueurs, Aelder Elixer providing their rosehip rum liqueur & elderberry elixir, Lind and Lime for their lime infused gin, The Bitter Truth who produce a delicious golden falernum, Snawstorm for their unique Scottish Vodka, and Walter Gregor’s on craft tonic water.


After a warm welcome, a cold crisp gin and a little catch up time, it was time to get down to business. On the menu for the day were a 1930’s Cosmopolitan, a Chester Jester, a Bramble and a Disaronno sours (an absolute fave of mine!). During the super fun and interactive class, Mark took to the bar, sharing his expert knowledge with the group, and testing our own knowledge along the way. With over ten years experience and having worked in cocktail bars all over the world, it’s safe to say that this guy really knows his stuff!

Learning the origins of the cocktails and ingredients along the way, we began to feel like cocktail connoisseurs ourselves, but we were all dying to get down to the most fun part of the day, getting hands on and having a go at making them ourselves. Mark gave us some pretty impressive and skilled demos, and it wasn’t long before the search for volunteers to give it a bash ourselves was on. Can you take a guess at who was first in line, hand waving in the air ‘pick me!’ style..?!

A couple of gins in and full of all of the confidence of 1988 Tom Cruise, I dragged the BF up with me to get my shake on, and it was so much fun! We rustled up a couple of mean Cosmo’s with a gin twist, and the best part was we got to enjoy our own creations afterwards too, delish.

Everyone in the group got a chance to take to the bar whisk up their own tasty beverages under Mark’s expert advise and guidance, with top points going to anyone that managed not to spill and make a mess. After mixing up a storm, it was time for a break to enjoy our creations.

Just when we thought that this afternoon couldn’t be going any better, the gentle reminder that food was also on the agenda set our stomachs rumbling, and probably not a moment to soon with the drinks going down a little too well…

Now the expectation was for a few bar snacks, maybe an olive or two, but what we were met with was the most astonishing smorgasbord of divine looking deli food I had ever laid eyes on!

Food provided by @byplatter

I mean seriously, have you ever seen such a stunning display of delicious delicacies?! It was almost too beautiful to eat…ALMOST.

Byplatter who provided this phenomenal spread are the most incredible catering company who provide sumptuous grazing tables tailored to you, comprised of seasonal and locally sourced produce. Platters include artisan cheeses, chutneys, charcuterie, breads, deli foods, sweet treats, you name it, and you absolutely must give them a try the next time you’re hosting an event that required relaxed dining, because now that Byplatter have landed, pitiful buffets full of soggy sandwiches can be a thing of the past.

What an unbelievable combination of artfully prepared cocktails and fantastic food, all in the most stunning location imaginable. I’ve definitely had worse afternoons…

Huge thanks to The Wandering Bartender for having us along for an unforgettable afternoon. If you would like to book your very own cocktail masterclass with TWB (which I highly recommend you do!) you can do so by getting in touch via Instagram HERE or facebook HERE.

Until next time,

B x

TANGO TURTLE – ABERDEEN’S NEW CARIBBEAN RESTAURANT [ad – guest]

Indian restaurants? We’ve got scores of them. Italians? Molto! Burger joints, chinese venues, gastro pubs – We’re practically overrun with eateries from around the continent here in Aberdeen, but one thing we’ve been completely lacking is a taste of the Caribbean… until now!

Tango Turtle is the latest addition to the city centre, offering up some of the finest homemade Caribbean food, in a super cool and laid back environment. I was really excited to be kindly invited along to check out the menu prior to the opening, and Tango Turtle delivered exactly what i had hoped for from the moment we walked through the door.

Located at 9a Little Belmont street, in the above street level unit – which was formerly Kilau the coffee shop – the newly refurbished venue is a ray of sunshine away from the grey cobbled streets. With bold colours, reggae inspired artwork and hanging plants everywhere you look, the restaurant really does give a cool Caribbean vibe, and forms the perfect setting for hosting an equally colourful menu.

Choosing what to eat was always going to be tough, with delicious sounding veggie and vegan options a plenty, and an abundance of chicken and lamb dishes for the meat eaters. Everything sounded so vibrant and enticing.

The starters…

After much deliberation, we settled on the Aloo Pie, (crispy tattie dumplings with a tamarind chutney), and the Bajan flying fishcakes with jerk aioli. Both arrived looking fresh, crisp and delicious. The Aloo Pie filled with soft spicy potato was perfect for dipping in to that sweet tamarind sauce, which brought just the right amount of heat, leaving the tongue tingling after each bite. The sweet potato based fishcakes were subtly spiced and full of flavour, and perfectly accompanied by that jerk aoili. It was a thumbs up from us on both counts here!

The mains…

If we thought choosing a starter was tough, we were practically stumped when it came to deciding on a main. With options such as curry pots, mixed grills, chargrilled burgers and even ‘Ja-maic’a ‘n’ cheese’, and not to mention a host of tasty sounding sides, it wasn’t going to be an easy task, but we settled on the vegan ‘Rundown’ – a tasty veg packed dish with a sweet coconut milk based sauce for me, and the ‘Fried seafood with jerk aioli and chips’ for the OH.

The rundown was a smash hit, loaded with that sweet tasty sauce and served with rice and peas, a roti bread and fried plantain, this dish was the ultimate comfort food and had me planning a trip to Jamaica inside my head. Having drastically underestimated the portion size, I had also ordered a side of sweet potato fries with extra cheese, which came with cheese fondue and well as fresh melted cheese, leaving me very annoyed at myself for not being able to finish these – yum!

The fried seafood came with a fillet of fried fish, and breaded squid and prawns, which were all juicy and well cooked. The only criticism was that the plate lacked the expected punch that the curried spice marinade had promised, but it was tasty and enjoyable all the same.

The dessert…

Absolutely stuffed to the brim from the previous two courses, we ordered dessert anyway through a combination of sheer gluttony and curiosity, because as soon as I had spotted the ‘Bounty patty with rum caramel’ on the menu, it had become an inevitability.

Served in two patty’s – ideal since we’d asked to share, the patty’s were served piping hot and crisp, straight out of the fryer, which meant that that sweet coconut filled chocolate came oozing out of the centre, and I was hooked. The completely delicious rum flavoured caramel was perfection for dunking them in to. This really was the perfect way to end the meal. We were two extremely happy (and full) diners!

Not only does Tango Turtle boast an impressive and vibrant menu in a fun and welcoming environment, but it also plays host to one of the loveliest hosts. Owner Nadim couldn’t have been more accommodating and sweet, checking on us personally throughout the night to make sure that we were having a great time, and that to me is the extra touch that’ll have customers returning time and time again.

Oh and just when you thought this place couldn’t be more amazing, did I mention that it’s also BYOB? Just pay corkage!

You can check out the full menu and book a table over at the website HERE

Tango Turtle is open now, so get booking right away and let me know what you think!

Until next time,

B x