Thursday, 17 August 2017

JUST JULIA TRIES: The Pier (Aberdeen)

On a sunny day, Aberdeen's beach promenade is a busy place. With various eatery's having come and gone from the location, it's to no one's surprise that when the former Pier Bisto relaunched as The Pier that the public would swarm in.

The restaurant is big, and is dressed with a sea of intrinsic pictures lining its walls. It's bright and with the addition of the large windows - one of which doubles as an ice cream takeaway hidden behind the bar - its very spacious.

After a walk along the beach one night, my sisters and I, as well as my sister's boyfriend Jack, decided to head in for dinner.

A rum drinker, Jack opted for a Kraken and coke, whilst my youngest sister decided to try out the Kinder Bueno milkshake - nothing like pacing yourself for dinner...I on the other hand ordered a Fine Time Fanta - a gin based cocktail featuring Hendricks, Solerno (a blood orange liqueur), lemon and orange juice. And what a fine time it was.
Any opportunity to eat out, I encouraged the gang to order a compilation of tapas starters, of which four strong choices were decided on.

First to face the taste test was the smoked salmon empanadas. The Latin-American inspired filo pastry dish was packed with delicious Scottish smoked salmon, cream cheese and chives, and finished off with a homemade salsa served on the side. The pastry was crisp and inside was extremely cheesy and smooth, and even better, there was a real generous amount of salmon squeezed in there too.

Next to meet the wrath of our forks was the chorizo cooked in red wine. The spicy sausage went perfectly with the red wine, which, not being too fond of red wine, I was extremely surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did. Served with some fresh salad leaves it was definitely a table favourite.

The patatas bravas went down a treat and was devoured pretty quickly. The spicy tomato sauce - which was more like a tomato salsa for this dish, went really well with the potato. The salsa/tomato chunks were very light in comparison to the bigger, creamier squares of crisp potato.

Leaving the best until last, I tackled the black pudding bon bons with sweet chilli jam. Beautifully cooked, the soft, rich black pudding centre melted in my mouth. Accompanied by the sweet chilli jam which boasted a wee punch of chilli, it was the perfect way to round off our sharing starters.
Eating out has to be one of my favourite things to do. I love the social aspect food and drink bring to a table, creating so much conversation just by being there. It amazes me what great conversations can be had just by enjoying others company with goof food and drink.

So there's one thing I try my best not to do when I eat out, not order the same dish as anyone else.

By ordering something completely different I feel I get to experience a restaurant more than I would if I order the same as my company. When I go out I want to order something different to everyone else so I can truly appreciate a menu and the different cooking skills and techniques which will have been used to create the dishes. That being said, I must admit I struggled to give up the one dish I was so eager to try.

Having previously eyed up the Sailor Jerry glazed steak burger earlier that day, to my dismay, my sister's boyfriend had also flagged the burger as a 'must have' for mains too. Desperate to get a look-in we waited patiently for our second course.

The food took a while to come, but I'd expected that seen as everything is more or less homemade and cooked to order. Our server was new so the service in general was a little slow, but having worked as a waitress before I completely understood and was delighted to be the first ever customers he had served on his own. Learning is a wonderful thing and it was great to see his confidence grow as the night progressed.

When the food arrived it was clear we'd all made pretty good choices.

On the table sat the Sailor Jerry burger, posh fish and chips, and two specials of the day - my hot dog with crispy onions and my sister's pork and black pudding burger.

The Sailor Jerry burger arrived with a treble clef imprinted on the top of the bun and a mug full of chips, however it was the Sailor Jerry sauce that was the talk of the dish. It tasted exactly how you could imagine it would, and personally, I think it would be cracking on a set of ribs - yum. My youngest sister's burger also came with chips and was cooked well. She demolished it in record time, indicating her approval with a big thumbs up.
The posh fish and chips also received good feedback and I managed to talk my sister into swapping some of her lightly battered monkfish and king prawns for a bit of my hot dog. The dish was served with chips and mushy peas, but I think a side of homemade tartar sauce would have finished this dish off perfectly. The fish was stunning and the prawns were perfect.

Moving on to my hot dog, I was pretty pleased with the size of it. So often I go to restaurants or festivals looking for a really good hot dog, to receive, well everything but that. The crispy onions that topped it were crisp and tasty, and the fresh salad added vibrant colours to the dish. The chips were cooked well, but were just your standard restaurant chips - which I do rather enjoy.
Glasses empty, I decided on a frozen tropical daiquiri to accompany my meal - not the most obvious food pairing there but it worked. The daiquiri was ace and  full of flavour, and of course it was super refreshing too. Jack ordered another Kraken and coke, and the girls opted for a few softs.
Deliberating on dessert, we decided to call it a day. Although, in hindsight, I totally could have gone a sticky toffee pudding, just. The brownie with Mackie's ice cream was also a strong contender too, but alas, we were all beat.

Set up for the night, we headed back to the car enjoying a nice walk along the beach promenade on route. A great local, family friendly place, The Pier is a great food stop for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and at affordably priced, it's the perfect place to refuel whilst enjoying time at the beach. Since this visit I've been back for breakfast - the full Scottish, which was scrumptious - and a lot of ice cream too. I'll definitely be making a conscious effort to get my friends along to try out their dinner menu and with numerous collaboration events in the evening too, there's plenty of opportunity for my friends and I to go and enjoy a few drinks whilst catching up over good food.

 Job well done guys. 

   For Now...

Just Julia


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