Thursday 29 March 2018

JUST JULIA TRIES: All Bar One: Review (Aberdeen)

Last week saw the official launch of Aberdeen's hottest new eatery, All Bar One, open to the public. Having opened its doors for a soft launch from Tuesday to Thursday, the restaurant opened on Saturday for breakfast following a successful VIP launch party on the Friday night.

In the lead up to its launch last week, I was invited by General Manager, Gavin Findlay, to try out their menu and some drinks.

The restaurant is super fashionable and stylish, there's no doubt about that. It's swish, and decorated to the highest of standards so I was curious to see if the food lived up to the restaurant's aesthetic.

On arrival, we were seated at one of the huge circular booths. Initially the booking had been for four of us, but it ended up being my friend Abbie and myself who managed along.

To begin, we scaled the drinks menu and ordered gin twists - I decided on a Tanqueray No.10 Gin with Fever-Tree tonic and grapefruit wedge garnish.
Our waitress for the night had informed us that there were a few dishes absent from the menu due to the popular demand of some of them.

We ordered a couple small plates to share for our starters and then ordered our main courses too.

First up was the Houmous Duo with beetroot and apple, and classic houmous on offer. The Moroccan inspired dish came served with flatbread, rustic breads, lettuce and cucumber. I love the creamy, fresh tastes of the different houmous' and the flatbread was perfect for dipping into the pots the houmous had been served in.

The Box-Baked Camembert was Abbie's choice, and I was delighted she'd chosen it. The gooey, melted stringy cheese created the perfect cheese string, and we ended up dipping the toasted ciabatta it came with into the molten cheese which was beautiful and creamy.

I had been eyeing up the Buttermilk Chicken Wings and the Pan-Fried King Prawns which I'd tried to order, however, these were two of the dishes that were unavailable. In place of these, we ordered the Salt & Pepper Calamari instead. Tossed in citrus, red pepper and pink peppercorn seasoning the deep fried squid was lovely and crisp, all whilst being delicately cooked inside. The dish was served with a sweet chilli and lime dip which paired very well, bringing Thai flavours into our meal.

The menu itself is rather multi-cultural with global inspirations throughout.
As we waited for our mains, it was about time to dive into the cocktail menu. Having visited All Bar One in Glasgow and London, I was aware the brand is known for having a pretty good cocktail offering, so I was interested to see if Aberdeen's was similar to the other bars.

Throughout our time, Abbie ordered a creamy, sweet PiƱa Colada, and I tried their Pornstar Martini and the Pink Grapefruit Collins. Both my cocktails were extremely fruity and refreshing in comparison to Abbie's, which would be best enjoyed on a beach. I much prefer to have lighter drinks throughout my meal than heavier drinks, so I felt my cocktails fit the bill, although Abbie's did look delicious too...
It wasn't too long until our mains arrived. Being the trial week for the restaurant, we were aware we'd have to wait a little longer for the drinks and the food, but the restaurant soon started to get into the swing of things as the night progressed.

For mains, we'd both ordered a burger. Abbie got in there first and ordered The Surf Burger which came with King prawns, lobster, and garlic butter, it sounded and smelled incredible. The burger was served with chips and a side of saffron aioli too. I was rather jealous as this is what I'd been eyeing up on the menu, but not wanting to order the same as her, I mixed it up and ordered The Mexican Burger

The Mexican was supposed to come with burnt end beef chilli, but sadly the restaurant had run out. Still keen to try it, I ordered it without and swapped the beef patty for a breast of cornflake and buttermilk fried chicken. The burger featured guacamole, nacho crumb, and All Bar One's own signature sauce. The burgers all come served in a glazed brioche bun with a dill gherkin and fries on the side. You can also swap to sweet potato fries for an additional £1.

Instead of sticking to the normal fries the burger came with, I opted for the fries with parmesan, truffle oil and rosemary. Anything cooked or featuring truffle oil in it is a must for me, so it was almost compulsory for me to try them out. The fries were super pungent and the dusting of parmesan added a slight creaminess to the fries, without all the mess melted cheese brings with it. The rosemary was lovely on the nose but wasn't noticeable in taste.

All burgers can be served with either beef, cornflake and buttermilk fried chicken or aubergine and harissa.
The age-old question of "dessert?" was questioned, to which we both in synch responded, "there's always room for dessert isn't there!?". Eyeing up the churros from the outset, I was sold. Abbie opted for the Raspberry Sorbet which was zesty and refreshing. The light dessert was great for cleansing her palette and tasted extremely fresh.

I ordered the Churros of course but asked for a smaller portion. On the menu, it states there's enough to share and after the waitress had informed me that there's usually TEN churros with the dish, I was relieved I'd just asked for a few. Dusted with cinnamon sugar, the churros came served with warmed dulce de leche sauce and it was divine. I polished them all off - even though it was a struggle. All of the churros were beautifully crisp on the outside and lovely and fluffy in the middle and resulted in the ideal way to finish off our meal at All Bar One.
The interiors are stunning, and the views of Marischal College are breathtaking - or at least they will be once all of the road works have been completed. The bar has been finished to the highest spec, and its super modern and trendy look makes it a great stomping group for locals to meander along to for food or some drinks.

Seating around 250 people, with additional capacity for customers to stand, All Bar One boasts a large ground floor space at Marischal Square. And with comfortable, fashionable seating, it's going to be hard to pull yourself away from the bar once you've arrived.
A great space to hang out with friends or catch up with the in-laws, All Bar One has something for everyone. It's vegetarian and vegan menu is pretty plentiful too, and the team has done a great job in pulling together a food and drinks menu to suit all.

Having not even been open to the public for a week yet, the bar is already proving to be a popular hot-spot for local professionals and is guaranteed to be a sophisticated, classy party venue at weekends.

  For Now...

Just Julia


Monday 26 March 2018

JUST JULIA COOKS: Duck a L'orange

Eating out is something I adore doing. It's like shopping for fashion addicts or the latest lip-kit release for beauty fanatics. However, I do love to spend time in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes. As part of my New Year's resolutions - many of which have already been panned - I've decided to challenge myself to cook more, without putting too much pressure on myself of course.

This challenge is something I'm really excited about, and although I usually live off stir fry's I want to cook dishes I've never tackled before.

Having a really busy work schedule, I sometimes find it hard to fit in time in the evening to cook so dishes that are quick and easy to make are a must for me. With Spring slowly creeping in - providing the Beast of the Beast.3 doesn't make an appearance later on this week - I've turned my attention to light, fragrant dishes. Queue Duck a L'Orange, a delicious French dish with a stunning sweet yet slightly tart sauce.

I served mine with hasselback potatoes, but I'd also recommend having it with rice too or stir fry vegetables.

Serves: 2

Pre/cooking Time: Around 15-20 minutes

  • 120ml of honey
  • 2 large oranges (1 peeled and separated into segments and 1 for juicing)
  • 2 shallots (finely chopped)
  • 2 duck breasts seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 small handful of chopped thyme
  • 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons of orange zest

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Score the skin of the duck breasts and lightly season with salt and pepper.
  3. Peel one of the oranges and separate the segments of the orange. Zest the second orange and cut in half. Juice both halves of the orange into a cup.
  4. Cook the duck on one side in a pan on a low-medium heat until the skin is crisp and the duck is cooked. Flip over and seal the duck for about 30 seconds.
  5. Put the duck in the oven on a baking tray for around 5 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Whilst the duck is cooking, put the squeezed orange juice, honey, orange zest, shallots and thyme. Once simmering, add the orange segments and continue to simmer until sticky. Take off the heat until needed.
  7. Remove the duck from the oven and glaze some of the sauce over the skin. Place back in the oven for 2 minutes to crisp up more. Take out of the oven and allow the duck breasts to rest.
  8. Bring the sauce back up to heat and place the duck breasts on a plate - serve the sauce on top of the duck. Add rice, potatoes vegetables or anything else you would like to the plate to finish the dish off and enjoy! 

  For Now...

Just Julia
© Just Julia

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