Wednesday, 3 January 2018

JUST JULIA TRIES: Cognito on the Corner (Aberdeen)

There's nothing more I love than new food and drink establishments opening in Aberdeen. Nowadays there's not one type of cuisine we don't have on offer, and as the city gradually begins to recover from the oil and gas downturn, it's foodie havens opened by entrepreneurs like Nicky Turnbull that make our city so wonderful and diverse.

With two successful business' under her belt already, Cognito Deli and Cafe Cognito, it wasn't going to be long until Nicky brought a little slice of her sophisticated cafe-bistro/gin bar heaven to the up-and-coming area of Rosemount.

I love Cafe Cog (St Swithin Street) and Cognito Deli (Union Grove), they're some of my favourite places to frequent, but after my visit to Cognito on the Corner, I think I'm going to be spending a lot more of my time up the other end of town...

For me, Cognito on the Corner is the perfect place to catch up with my friends, especially at the weekend when we're all fancying a gin or two. It's a place that has a familiar, high-end feel to it which oozes luxury, minus the snobbery and pretentiousness some establishments boast. The staff feel like your friends, knowledgeable ones at that, who know their stuff when it comes to both the food and drinks menus, or pairing your favourite gin with its suggested serve.

My first experience of the newest eatery in town was exactly how I pictured it. Beautiful surroundings, stunning decor, friendly staff and delicious food. You couldn't ask for more.

It was busy at lunchtime, and I was glad my boyfriend's parents had booked a table, otherwise we'd have had to go elsewhere. The five of us were seated at a booth and explored the menu together.

The cafe-bistro serves everything from breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. There's nibbles, sharing dishes, main meals and sweet treats - plenty of choice for everyone whether you're feeling peckish or ravenous. And for those looking to celebrate an event there's even a separate private dining room called The Picken Room, which seats 12 guests - a great place to toast special occasions.
We were all pretty hungry and were keen to try out some new dishes on the menu. Having been to Cognito Deli it was great to see some new dishes as well as some old favourites on the menus.

Having placed our drinks order, I checked out what gins they had on offer, and it was refreshing to see a diverse list of Scottish gins on there, and gin flights too. There's a welcome addition of tequila by Scotland's first tequila company, UWA Tequila as well as cocktails, vodkas, rums, whiskys and liqueurs for all to enjoy. Not to mention sparking, white, red and rosé wine, and a big selection of soft and hot drinks too.

Not having to wait too long, our drinks arrived, soon followed by our food.

First up was Calum's dad's dish, The Fishermans Net. A board filled with seafood it consisted of scallops, king prawns, langoustine tails, smoked mussels, a dollop of garlic aioli, a side of bread and a fresh wedge of lemon to squeeze over.
Calum and myself were looking for something simple and filling, and Cog’s club sandwich was exactly what we needed. Stuffed with chicken, bacon, sliced ripe tomato, mayonnaise, shaved ham, batavia lettuce and sliced free range egg, there was a lot going on in the sandwich. The salad leaves on the side and the delicious creamy side salad were also really good.

Served on toasted white bread, we also ordered a side of shoestring french fries - because a two tiered sandwich isn't enough for two hungry adults. We both managed to demolish the lot - apart from the odd rouge pieces of bread that escaped half eaten due to my full stomach.
His mum's choice was something light, the goats cheese and beetroot salad which included creamy goats cheese which was crumbled over roasted beetroots and walnuts with fresh salad leaves, drizzled with oil and aged balsamic. It was ideal for her  as she just wanted something small and was thoroughly enjoyed.

The open sandwich was a hit with his sister who had ordered the grilled red pepper, mozzarella and pesto flavour. Topped with grilled peppers, mozzarella pearls, sliced ripe tomato, batriva lettuce and a pesto dressing it wasn't too filling and left plenty of space for her side of fries too. It came with the same salad side as my club sandwich, as well as some ready salted crisps.

All of the open sandwiches can come as a wrap too for those who would prefer.To round off lunch some of us got dessert. Being too full, I tapped out, but I did manage to get a spoonful of Calum's chocolate brownie stack which consisted of warm chocolate brownies, dairy ice cream, whipped cream fresh raspberries and drizzled with chocolate sauce.

His mum decided on the trifle which was loaded with berries, sherry soaked sponge, custard and whipped cream.

Both desserts tasted phenomenal, but the gooey chocolate brownies were the showstopper for me.The whole venue is decorated beautifully, and that even seeps down to the design of the toilets. Both the men's and women's toilets are in the same vicinity, however it's indicated on each door which toilet is for who to keep everyone right. The addition of the Harris Gin light shades are very charming, and the copper fixtures and sink add that touch of sophistication throughout.It's clear Nicky and her team have worked tirelessly to create this bespoke space. It's quirky with an up-beat ambiance, and its fun to think that the gorgeous Victorian building used to be a bank. With its character and stunning interiors, its somewhere everyone will want feel relaxed.

If you haven't visited already I suggest you book a table sooner rather than later as the waiting list to get in can be limited on certain days and times. Since opening, the cafe-bistro has been packed, seating hundreds of diners throughout the festive period. Whether its a light bite or a hearty meal, this is one place you'll want to catch up with your friends or treat your family too. Leave your worries at the door and enjoy!

Remember to keep an eye out for their next business, Cognito at the Cross in Queen's Cross Church, which is said to open in Spring 2018.

  For Now...

Just Julia

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