Drink some craft beer
I’ll admit I was in a bit of a bad mood when I arrived in Aberdeen due to some issues with my flight but Brewdog helped turn my mood around. The decor is trendy craft brew pub standard – carefully curated raw materials mixed with funky eclectica. The guys at the table next to us (who matched the general decor) sported fine hipster beards, curled moustaches and were busy taking macro photos with their DSLR. If you ignored their Scottish accents we could’ve been back in London!
The beers The Boy and I tried had personality – both on the palate and with their rather creative names. Brewdog’s cheeseboard is also delicious and third party mediation was nearly needed to ensure the spoils were divided evenly. Cheese, like beer is a serious business.
Within sight of Brewdog is another gem in Aberdeen’s beery crown. Some Scottish folks down the coast in Stonehaven got it in their heads to start brewing Belgian beer and 6° North was born. With an intimidating list of tap beers, help from the staff was very necessary to for me make my choice. They were also rather generous about serving up samples to help me with my decision.
Luckily they didn’t tell us there are over 300 bottled beers on their beer menu until after we’d picked our first drinks or I think I might’ve had had a meltdown over what to choose. However The Boy got a gleam in his eye when he discovered the extent of the beer menu and took a copy back to the boat with him to show his colleagues.
Eat some Italian
Dinner was decided on the toss of a coin (if it had come up heads we would’ve been eating Indian). Rustico has classic Italian decor without being kitsch and the photographic prints of Sicilian life on the walls took me back to when I was there a couple of years ago. The restaurant is well reviewed online and the praise is justified. The Boy’s Padellata Siciliana justified it’s £20 price tag by having plentiful portions of every type of sea creature in a spicy tomato broth. My mushroom pasta was packed with so many oyster mushrooms there were possibly more of them than pasta. I wish we’d had more space for dessert – their handmade cheesecake looked divine but we were so full we only had room to share a tiramisu.
Read/buy a book and have a cup of tea
Imagine a bohemian cafe inside a secondhand bookstore and you have Books and Beans. It’s cluttered and a little bit cosy but it works. I browsed their books but didn’t have a coffee so the verdict is out about the quality of their brew. If you go there grab a seat on the first floor. The ones by the window have good light for reading and a view of the street if you prefer to people watch. Don’t bother going to the second floor – there’s only an internet cafe up there and it smells a bit like teenage boy and people who don’t go outside much!
Get a coffee
Contour cafe gets a tick in my book for a good coffee in Aberdeen (even if they did serve it in a mug). They’re tucked away on The Green, a quiet square just below Union Street (the main shopping street). Their lunch menu looks impressive but they were kind enough to make me a bacon and egg roll with plenty of tomato sauce for breakfast – despite not being a breakfast kind of place. I arrived just as they opened their doors for the day and when they turned on their music the first track that played was Katchafire. Between that and the plentiful tomato sauce this kiwi was pretty happy.
Also popping out to nearby Stonebridge, a good helping of Fish and chips was on the menu…
Walking past people in kilts practicing their bagpiping in a carpark
for the festival (it wasn’t pleasant so I didn’t linger to see/hear
more) I made it to Stonehaven beach. Following the beachfront walkway I
eventually reached The Bay Fish and Chip Shop, winners of the
Independent UK Fish and Chip Shop of 2013. As well as being award
winning deep fryers they’re also all about the sustainability and
accountability of their food. Apparently the potatoes for my chips came
from a farm in Suffolk and my haddock was caught on a boat called
Faithful FR129 (which is a real boat because I checked).
But forget about the pedigree of my food – the most important thing is that it was delicious.
Utterly scrumptious. Have you been inspired yet?