ABERDEEN RESTAURANT WEEK AT KOI THAI [Ad]

I’m genuinely quite ashamed to admit that since the opening of Koi Thai just over a year ago, it’s taken me until this week to actually pay a visit – especially given that it’s about a minute and a half’s walk from my front door.

Sure we have lockdown to take in to account, but given the buzz that has surrounded this fabulous restaurant located right in the heart of Rosemount since it made it’s debut back in September 2019, I feel like my status as a supposed foodie should officially be revoked for having somehow bypassed it until now.

With Aberdeen Restaurant Week back in full swing and with myself returning as an ARW ambassador to help spread the good word to the food lovers of Aberdeen about where to find the best eats in town, I always make a point of visiting the places that I’ve yet to frequent to try something new – I mean isn’t that the whole point? You’d better believe that Koi Thai was at the top of my list when given the option of where we fancied heading to review for you lovely lot, needing no further incentive than that they, along with loads of other partcipating venues, have three fantastic courses on offer for just £20.

Having gazed through the windows spying the swathes of content diners’ faces whenever I have passed by, it’s always been obvious that Koi Thai boasts a pretty spectacular interior, but its’s not until you actually set foot through the door that you appreciate the extent of the effort that has been put in to the design. Giving an air of true authenticity that transports you away from the bustling but grey streets of Rosemount, to what could could be the centre of a vibrant marketplace in Bangkok.

From the tin roofs with suspended lighting and the street food cart inspired bar area giving you real market place feels, to the beautiful Asian design detailing with murals of elephants and even a giant Buddha on the walls, this really is a beautiful place to enjoy a great meal.

It’s not surprising in the slightest that when the Koi Thai owners made the move from being take away only to restaurant based that they were an instant hit with their existing following based on the merit of their food offering, but with a venue like this is also easy to see why customers were flocking in from the off.

The food…

Now it’s no secret that Restaurant Week is not only a time support your local food scene, but it’s also the ultimate excuse to over-indulge, which was clearly going to be the outcome of our visit here given the extent of the delectable menu items on offer.

Welcomed to our table with complimentary prawn crackers (an instant win in my book!) and a warm greeting from our bubbly server which included a full explanation of the menu and how everything could be adapted to your preferences, we were buzzing to get stuck in. The spice lovers amongst you will be delighted to know that you can up (or lower) the spice level of any main dish depending on how brave you’re feeling.

Tod Mun Khao Poad (G,S,E)

“Deep fried sweet corn blended in red curry paste, served with sweet chilli sauce.”

It’s not an exaggeration when I say that I could eat about a hundred of these tasty little corn cakes. Differing from a classic sweetcorn fritter, these have the most more-ish crispy coating, while the filling holds on to it’s juicy sweetness. For me the dipping sauce really made this a stand-out starter; rather than sweet and sticky, it was light and fresh with just the right hit of chilli to get the tongue tingling. This is definitely a starter I’d order time and time again.

Spring Rolls (G,V)

“Handmade Thai Style Spring Rolls served with sweet chilli sauce.”

Quite possibly the tastiest spring rolls I’ve ever had? I think so! The filling was fresh, fragrant and full of classic thai aromatics and finely julienned veg that quite frankly crapped all over most of the spring rolls full of indistinguishable mystery mush that I’ve had in my time. Encased in light crisp pastry without a hint of excess oiliness, these really were a delight to eat. The same sweet chilli dipping sauce mentioned above was once again the perfect accompaniment.

Panaeng Curry (F,G) 

“The famous Thai curry cooked in Panaeng Curry paste, Kaffir lime leaves, pepper and coconut milk.”

The fab thing about all of the mains on offer at Koi Thai is that with each delicious option you get the choice of chicken, pork, tofu to customise your main. Since I had opted for the famously flavoursome Panaeng curry, I decided that veg would be the best choice to let the flavour of the sauce shine, and boy did it shine! Singing of sharp lemongrass, sweet coconut and punchy spicing (this is a two chilli rated dish), the sauce was tantalising and rich, but not overpowering. The zingy, aniseedy Thai basil garnish really finished completed the flavour profile beautifully.

With a choice of jasmine rice or noodles to accompany your dish, I had chosen noodles, which was a bit of a rooky error as the curry sauce is not a thick one and would really benefit from having some rice to soak it up, but my ingrained hatred of the scent of Jasmine held me back from making the right choice. Side-note: I tried Grant’s jasmine rice out of curiosity and it was truly tasty and not at all like that jasmine perfume that used to give me the fear. Idiot.

Anyway, this was a seriously appetising plate – my only complaint being that the portion was too big too finish!

Gaeng Massaman – Thai Massaman Curry (F,G,N) 🌶

“Mild curry cooked with potatoes and onion in creamy coconut curry sauce.”

​With a much sweeter and more subtle flavouring, the Massaman curry is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, the Korma of thai cooking if you will. Low in spice but abundant in fresh flavours, the thick creamy sauce lent itself perfectly to Grant’s tofu selection – which incidentally was also cooked to perfection. The coconut flavour was predominant but tastes of cinnamon and galangal also came through for a lovely warming flavour. As predicted following my previous tasting, the jasmine rice was the perfect addition. You live and learn, right?!

Sticky toffee pudding with ice cream

After the mighty feed that we had received with the first two courses, I knew that dessert was going to be a struggle, but when sticky toffee pudding on the menu caught my eye I knew I would give it my best shot. This might not be the most traditional Thai dessert, but it’s one of my absolute favourites so I’m hard pushed to resist one on any menu.

I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the sheer size of the gargantuan slice that was presented to me, what a whopper! Coated in sumptuous sweet sticky sauce, the pudding itself was moist and rich without being too dense and heavy, and even the luxuriously smooth vanilla ice cream was divine. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I near enough demolished the whole thing, it was just that damn tasty.

Banana Fritters with Coconut Milk

Expecting the batter covered bananas soaked in syrup that you often see in Chinese cuisine, we were pleasantly surprised to see something a little different emerge. The chef who came out to chat to us after our meal (always a lovely touch) explained that these were a special variety of Thai banana, which explained by they kept their shape and bite beautifully. The texture was satisfyingly chewy thanks to the candied outer, and the coconut sauce that surrounded them made this just a dream to eat.

We can’t thank Koi Thai enough for our amazing meal here. The combination of outstanding food and immaculate and genuinely friendly service left me sure that it won’t be long before we return again.

Don’t forget that the Restaurant Week menu is available right through until the 15th November, so I would advise booking in right away if you want to snap up a table this week. Head to the Koi Thai website or give them a call on 01224 478900 to get booked in. They are offering two lunch courses for £10 and three dinner courses for £20.

You can check out the rest of the amazing eateries also taking part in ARW, along with some fabulous reviews from my fellow blog squad members by heading to the ARW website here.

Until next time,

B x

P.s. This review was part of a partnership with Aberdeen Inspired. The meal was gifted, but all wiews as always are my own.

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.]