I have been in Aberdeen all week on a training course and tonight was my last night in town so I opted to dine in a restaurant that I have walked past every morning and evening on my way to my course: Rock and Oyster, Union Terrace.
As a party of one I am always a little self conscious of sitting at a table by myself, however I was armed with my Kindle as my date for the evening.
I was sat promptly and the owner/head chef came over to introduce himself. He is proud as punch of this new venture and I am excited to join his adventure for the evening.
Sadly my first disappointed happened early on. I had asked for recommendations and the owner/head chef displayed an inability to recommend any particular dish as he “designed the menu (himself) and they are all excellent”. I understand that, but as a diner I was trying to engage him to sell some of his fine products to me to aid my decision making and whet my appetite.
He didn’t take bait so I chose for myself. One large glass of Canalicchio Chardonnay, an Arbroath Smokie Fish Cake starter, a main of Scallops and Black Pudding Risotto and a Cheese Plate. He made the mistake of mentioning he was head chef of the Italian Restaurant that used to be here before this, so the risotto will be the skill test.
The restaurant itself sits probably around 35 people. It’s cosy and full of young Aberdonian professionals so there is a lovely buzz of noise and gentle jazz playing in the background.
My starter was on my table before I knew it. I haven’t had an Arbroath Smokie in years, so I was looking forward to them. The Arbroath Smokie Fishcakes were served with a chive crème fraiche and fried rocket. It was a delight (albeit missing a lemon slice to balance the dish), the smokies taste shone through and the serving size was perfect for me.
First course down and my main course was delivered moments later, I was starting to feel rushed. The main course read well on the menu, “Seared scallops – 6 fresh meaty scallops combined with a black pudding and apple risotto, finished off with a Stella Cider reduction”. The scallops were perfectly seared, the flavour of the risotto was (meh) average and sadly over cooked. I was also saddened by the presentation, it looked like it was hastily thrown on my plate with very little care and not checked at the pass by the head chef. (Though he seemed distracted by the fact he had friends dining that evening.)
A simple cheese plater and port is how I ended my evening, again presentation was lacking. I was also not convinced the chutney, as nice as it was, went with any of the cheeses. What was missing was a few grapes to cleanse my palette and a cheese knife to properly cut the cheese.
I am a little sad that the dining experience was so average and I have to be honest I wont be returning to it in a hurry.