Last weekend I visited my good friend Annie in her new(ish) place of residence: Aberdeen. Probably my most well-travelled friend, Annie used to fly as Emirates cabin crew and be based out of Dubai, before falling in love with a Scotsman and making the move over to the granite city to settle. Though saying that, these pair love to travel, so I think they’ll try a few others places before they settle for good. Oh, and they’re getting married early next year.
So, it was my first time in Aberdeen, but not Scotland. I have previously visited Glasgow and really enjoyed it; the bars, live music, shopping, it was all fantastic. But with Aberdeen I wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s so far away, kind of out in the sticks, right? Hence my choosing to travel by plane, which was fantastic having saved so much time and effort… as seven hours on a train or in a car did not sound like my idea of fun!
I was told by a Scottish lady I was working with to ‘bring a coat’ to Aberdeen, so naturally I was expecting gale-force winds, torrential rain and freezing cold, almost Baltic conditions. There was, however, a timely torrential downpour, just as we left the flat to go to dinner on Saturday night. But, aside from that, the weather was G L O R I O U S. Yes, you read that right. G-l-o-r-i-o-u-s. ☀️☀️☀️
Ice cream on the sea front
As soon as I touched down, as the weather was stunning, so we headed straight to the beach. Annie was keen to show me this side of Aberdeen, and it was best to get there sharpish in case it rained the rest of the long weekend. A refreshing breeze of clean, sharp sea air blasted us in the face as we strolled along the seafront. which was scattered with cafes a few popular chain restaurants and an old-school amusement park. The tide was in and the waves were crashing, but most people were steering clear of the sea and just taking in the views. It wouldn’t be a trip to the seaside without an ice cream; I tried Scottish tablet flavour, which was delicious. It’s like fudge but with a crumblier, more biscuit-like texture.
After a good walk up and down the seafront, we headed back to the flat. Just five minutes drive from Aberdeen centre, their flat is really modern but with lots of home comforts. I stayed in their guest room, which was so beautifully decorated (Annie may have something to do with that!) and had full use of the bathroom, as they have an en suite. It felt like a hotel. We cracked open the pink Champagne, as we were, after all, celebrating Annie and Jamie’s engagement. So a toast and a catch up, and then to get ready for a night of food and drink.
Saturday night eats in Aberdeen: Adelphi Kitchen
Planning ahead for my arrival, Jamie booked us into the gorgeous Adelphi Kitchen, a charcoal-cooked meat and seafood restaurant tucked away down a side-street off the main shopping road in the city. The place probably seated no more than 40 people, and was so warm and welcoming, clad from top to bottom in rustic wood with grey tartan covered seats. The specials were boldly displayed on a large blackboard that covered the entire right-hand wall; I saw immediately they served craft beers and dessert cocktails alongside exquisite sounding dishes…. I knew we were in for a treat.
We ordered ourselves a beer whilst we read the menus and wine list. I persuaded Annie to try the Fierce brewery ginja ninja pale ale with me, and Jamie went for the granadilla guerrilla, both were exceptional. After concluding the menu was awesome, we decided to share two starters between us, as to maximise on options but save room for mains and afters too. We opted for the slow-rib beef mac n cheese: a stunningly creamy and flavourful pot of deliciousness packed with chunks of slow smoked beef short rib and topped with crispy shallots… AMAZING.
We also got the mussels; a little cauldron of creamy garlic West Coast mussels with the most amazing smoked bacon (Piggery Smokery Pepperback Fin Bacon, according to the menu) and cider sauce. Some of the best mussels I have ever eaten, and the sauce was so delicious I practically drank it from the pot. One happy lady.
As for mains, I saw the Surf and Turf on the specials board and had to have it. The langoustines were so plump, veggies were all really fresh and beautiful and the fondant potato was fluffy in the middle (I hate it when they’re under cooked!) The hanger steak had so much flavour and was really well seasoned. It was little on the tough side but as a whole the dish was incredible. Annie had the ribeye steak which absolutely melted in the mouth, and Jamie’s venison dish was a delight too. Washed down with a bottle of red, we really were three content and merry bunnies at this point. But of course, there was room for cheese! Three glasses of port and a huge cheese board later, we were done. The service, cosy atmosphere and attention to detail of the menu in this place really did make me fall in love with it. Highly recommended if you find yourself in the area.
Hungover gin journey with Georgia
After our stunning meal at Adelphi Kitchen, we hit some bars, and typically, made some new friends. One lovely girl in particular, named Georgia, who we soon realised was as obsessed with food as I am. She also knew and awful lot about gin, thanks to her time working at No. 10 bar in Aberdeen’s west end.
She said we should come along to No. 10, to try some of the gins they have on offer, and as we were planning a trip there anyway making gin the focus just seemed like a no brainer. We headed there on Sunday afternoon, most other people winding down their weekends ready for work on Monday, whilst Annie and I sat smug on a table in the bar sipping gin like it was going out of fashion.
At this point, I would like to say that Georgia makes a mean gin and tonic. She has a great ability to get the gin-ice-tonic balance just right, and served each gin with a dash of Fevertree tonic (my personal favourite). We started with a handcrafted Scottish gin, Rock Rose, and tonic. This stuff is amazing, so delicate, you hardly need any tonic just plenty of ice. It doesn’t need a garnish either, just simply on the rocks to let the fuity, berryful botanicals speak for themselves.
We tried five gins in total, including an elderflower one which was sweet and delicious. But there were two others that really stood out, both Edinburgh gins, the first their rhubarb and ginger liqueur which Georgia served a shot of in a glass of Prosecco (think modern take on the Kir Royale cocktail) which was absolutely divine. Gin connoisseurs: if you have not yet tried this combination, I URGE you to. And their raspberry liqueur gin topped with plain tonic; such a stunning, easy drink that managed to be tart and sweet at the same time. What an evening of gin, girlie chat and giggles with my bestie… A night to remember indeed ❤️
Hangover part II: The Dirty Burger Fest
This might have been a two day hangover, but surprisingly we felt pretty good on Monday as the gins we drank we so clean that we managed to swerve the foggy-head type hangover. Instead, we were ready to tackle a day at the shops and, the one thing I had been hankering after all weekend; a big old dirty beef burger.
We had two options, Brew Dog or Boozy Cow, and after consulting Twitter we decided (with the help of some Scottish foodies) that Boozy Cow was the place to go.
When we arrived, the sun was BEAMING and there was space to sit outside. Being a Monday, it wasn’t overly busy, so we were seated straight away and ordered some beer and some water to help with the heat (yes, at this point it reached about 24 degrees!)
The very enthusiastic waiter talked us through the menu and their ethos, Annie had been many times before, but for my benefit; no plates as they encourage you to eat with your hands, everything comes on a tray and is put in the middle of the table, to encourage sharing. They bring out a whole roll of kitchen paper, as it’s guaranteed to get messy… I could barely contain my excitement at this point.
Annie ordered the Dirty Chicken Burger, no tomato. A HUGE fried chicken fillet dipped in hot pepper gravy served with lettuce, pickled slaw and a slice of pineapple. Considering when I first met this girl, about five years ago, she was a vegetarian, who I have, over the years, encouraged to work meat back into her diet… I was amazed watching her literally demolish the burger and sides, no bother. Kinda like a proud mum moment. 😂
I ordered the special Beef Stroganoff burger; a beef pattie topped with steak shavings, cheese, gherkins and a crumb-coated rice patty on top that was filled with homemade Stroganoff sauce. THE messiest burger I have ever eaten… But man, it was amazing.
We also shared the cheese skinnies (thin fries with spiced cheese, sweet onion and mustard) and their take on Popcorn Chicken (peanut butter chicken pieces, toffee popcorn and hot chili dip). Absolutely sensational – all of it. The Boozy Cow also specialise in boozy shakes too, which all sounded amazing, but we were just too full. They also give all profits to local charities in Scotland, which is so good to see. Catch them on Twitter here and if you’re ever in Aberdeen or Edinburgh, go see them!
Overall all you can see I was very pleasantly surprised with Aberdeen’s indie food and drink scene and can’t wait to go back to try more.
Where are your favourite foodie hotspots in Scotland? Or do you have a speciality gin you can recommend? Use the comments below, me and Annie would love to hear from you! xx