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.

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

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

[ad] ABERDEEN RESTAURANT WEEK AT THE CITY BAR & DINER – A REVIEW

Let’s start with a bit of honesty. When I first heard that the restaurant I had been allocated to review for Restaurant week was The City Bar and Diner, my initial reaction wasn’t exactly one of elation. That’s just that wee place out the back of M&S where grannies convene of a lunchtime to have a good chinwag over a cheese sandwich and a scone, right? Don’t get me wrong, if a cheese sandwich was all that was in store for me I still would have been more than grateful, (and I’d review the crap out of that cheese buttie too) it just might not have lived up to my fine dining aspirations.

I’m delighted to tell you all that I couldn’t have been more wrong. From the first time I laid eyes on the menu through to the moment we walked through the door, the excitement continued to grow; by the looks of things I was in for an undoubtedly more sophisticated experience than first presumed.

It was 7pm on a Saturday night, and this bright, mordern space that we had entered in to was jostling with large groups of happily chattering diners. As plates of delicious looking food started to pass below our very noses in the hands of smiling servers on the way to these hungry diners, I knew we were in for a bit of a treat.

Having pre-ordered our meals, we gladly skipped the part of the evening where I spend half an hour carrying out the agonising task of deciding what to eat, and went straight to ordering a couple of nice cold pints from the incredibly enthusiastic hostess. Despite having been kindly offered a nice window seat, we instead chose a quiet spot where we were close to the bar and could have a cheeky nosey in to the kitchen at the same time, and patiently awaited our first course with increasingly loud rumbles coming from our eager bellies the whole time.

The starters…

Expecting a bit of a wait, which would have been entirely reasonable given the large parties occupying the restaurant, we were pleasantly surprised when barely a few moments later, we were presented with our starters. This made one very hungry gal a very happy one! Knowing that we would inevitably end up sharing each others food in the way that couples typically do, we ordered one of each from the veggie and the fish options.

Four cheese risotto balls & smoked chipotle salsa
Smoked haddock chowder with cheese and leek scones

We were immediately struck by the high-end restaurant quality presentation, this was an absolute ‘wow!’ moment, and long gone were those distant imaginings of tea scones with your gran on a Friday afternoon. We were clearly dealing with creative and passionate chefs with a fine attention to detail, and boy did it all smell good!

The risotto balls were just as they should be, crisp and crunchy on the outside, gooey and oozing with cheese on the inside. The sweet and spicy salsa was the perfect accompaniment to cut through the savoury elements. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that I could eat about ten of these…

The smoked haddock chowder was as good and any fish chowder we had ever tasted. You should know that this is a compliment of the highest order coming from the other half who considers himself a connoisseur of Cullen Skink! Buttery, creamy and brimming with chunks of smoked fish and veg, this flavoursome dish was an absolute winner. I seriously considered coming over all Oliver and asking for some more, but resisted knowing that the main was still to come, and our anticipation was now high.

The mains…

With just the right amount of time to pour over how much we had enjoyed our starters, and of course take to Instagram to share our fabulous first course, the second soon arrived.

Sweet & sour jackfruit and vegetable pot pie with butternut squash hash
Cajun fried haddock with sweetcorn, banana and spiced tartare sauce

Seemingly taking us on a culinary trip around the globe, the main course options sang of South America and the carribean. Once again as non-meat eaters, we went for the veggie and the fish option and shared a bit of each. The presentation as expected was well considered and carried out with finesse.

The generously pie consisted of lovely flakey pastry jam packed with jackfruit and veg in a tangy sweet and sour sauce. I’d never seen a dish like this before, but I have a feeling that I’ll be trying to recreate it at home at some point soon! The only room for improvement lay in that while the artfully stacked squash hash on the side was very pretty to look at, maybe a more savoury side would have provided a nice contrast to the already sweet pie.

Next up was the menu item that we were both most curious about. Cajun fried haddock, with banana?! You’d be forgiven for thinking that this sounds a bit bonkers, because it does, but in this instance the unexpected combination just worked. It was absolutely delicious! Having gladly obliged us in our request to hold the bacon, we were still left more than satisfied with the remaining corn and spiced tartare that adorned the gently spiced juicy fish. Again my only (very minute) quibble would have been that the cajun spicing could have been turned up a notch or two, but I’m a bit of a spice fiend so maybe that’s just me!

The desserts…

Full to the gunnels after our first two amply sized courses, there was a moment of deliberation as to whether we could actually cope with the oncoming puddings, but we powered through in the name of Restaurant week – don’t say we’re not good to you guys!

Peanut butter and honeycomb pie with chocolate sauce
Chocolate brownie sliders with vanilla ice cream and [strawberries!]

As these indulgent looking little beauties were placed in front of us, we instantaneously knew that we were going to give them our best shot. My calorie count for the week was about to go clean out the window, but I didn’t care one tiny bit.

The brownies were tasty and dripping filled with ice cream. We didn’t actually notice that they were topped with strawberries instead of the advertised raspberries as we got stuck in. Personally I’m a warm sticky brownie kind of girl, but this was an enjoyable dessert all the same.

The real start of the show however came all wrapped up in this pretty little peanut butter pie, oh my! Sweet, nutty, creamy and with a lightly spiced base, this was an absolutely heavenly way to round off the meal. This was gratification at it’s finest!

After a night of fabulous service and top restaurant quality food, we were ready to roll ourselves home, already planning our next trip to The City Bar & Diner, feeling extremely glad to have found a great new eatery to add to out list of fave spots to dine out.

Remember that this menu is available until the 21st July, and be sure to book your table quoting restaurant week to avoid disappointment!

You can also head to www.aberdeenrestaurantweek.com to check out the rest of the incredible lineup offering you delicious deals all week long!

Enjoy Restaurant Week guys,

B x