I love an Italian, but in Aberdeen, Italian restaurant chains are coming out of our ears. At one time I was losing hope that independent Italian restaurants would be drowned by the Italian chain wave, pushing in front of us inauthentic and generic dishes.
When Cafe Harmony opened its doors with a commitment to using locally sourced ingredients, I was certain that Aberdeen would be graced with a taste of Italy using only the best produce from our region.
Last night was restaurant review numero two as part of Aberdeen Restaurant Week (ARW) and I was stoked to visit the quaint Italian. Joining me was my fellow food hoover and work wife Claire, who was on hand to tactfully taste the best of the menu.
Too many restaurants fall into the trap of providing vegetarians with the standard mac and cheese and that’s it. What stood out for me was the sheer variety of vegetarian options on the full Cafe Harmony menu *puts on Handmaid’s Tale red cloak* Praise Be!
Our server couldn’t of been more helpful in talking us through the menu and providing stories behind each option adding true authenticity to our experience.
To start off we had two starters has the Sicilian Chorizo & Parsley Turnover and the Sicilian Arancini di Riso which worked well as a sharer between us. The turnover was crisp, packed with flavour and didn’t swim in grease making it a perfect starter.
Neighbouring the turnover was the Arancini - get ready for a sizeable plate here. With Arancini the size of a scotch egg, a filling of a meat ragu with cheese all peacefully lying under a sprinkling of Parmesan *wipes drool*.
For the main we had the best of both worlds ordering two - delivered to us was the Grilled Chicken Breast with Cacciatora Sauce and the Lasagne.
Make sure you’re hungry if you order the chicken as it’s hearty plate of smoky chargrilled Chicken and vegetables smothered in a four hour slow cooked, deep and rich tomato sauce creating a plate full of amazing flavours and textures.
The vegetarian Lasagne was easy on the eye with folds of the lightest pasta, layered with perfectly cooked vegetables coated in a smooth sauce that put the cheese-o-meter through the roof.
For dessert the Tiramisu stood out for us (the recipe of which is secured under lock and key being an age old family recipe). After a substantial meal, the Tiramisu is the perfect size for two to share with a dream balance between sweet chocolate and bitter coffee to finish off our meal.
All I can say is that Cafe Harmony is a bit of me. Wooden textures, autumnal colours and Boho elements combine to create the perfect setting and echos the teams commitment to using what we have in front of us. You’ll find buckets turned upside down for light shades, wooden pallets to create raised levels and mismatched furniture - but it all works to create homely and authentic vibe.
Cafe Harmony offers an ideal space and atmosphere for a catch up with friends. Right on its doorstep is the newly opened Spiritualist bar, Dusk and Soul (to name a few). Make a night or afternoon of it and dine at Cafe Harmony before heading out for some drinks with the squad.
Above all, what stood out for me at Cafe Harmony was the authenticity of the brand. From the specially selected menu, stories behind the dishes, passion of the staff and commitment to sourcing local - Cafe Harmony is well and truly surfing on top of the italian chain wave.