This week I had the opportunity to sample some of the restaurants participating in Aberdeen Restaurant Week 2018 Part 2. With over 40 restaurants, £10 lunches and £20 three course dinners, you need to get involved. Luckily, myself and the other ARW Bloggers are reviewing all the menus to make your choice easier from the 3rd to the 9th September.
On Wednesday evening, I got to check out Carmelite's Aberdeen Restaurant Week menu. Hidden away behind Market Street on Stirling Street, Carmelite is a boutique hotel, bar and restaurant and has been catering Aberdeen for many years.
The stylish hotel has many stunning suites with freestanding baths, sofa areas and one even has a foosball table! Stay packages include a 'Girls Night Out' option, offering a room for the night; afternoon tea; personal make up artist; cocktail and breakfast in bed.
The restaurant features large, plush booths and one shaped as a four-poster bed. It really is a stunning venue.
Another thing worth mentioning is their exciting and extensive cocktail menu. Even if you don't manage to check out Carmelite during Aberdeen Restaurant Week, be sure to pop in for a cocktail at some point. We had an Aviator, which had the taste of Parma Violets!
With great vegan and meat options on offer, there is a selection for all here and I found it very difficult to choose from the options. I also had a sneak peak at the lunch menu which had some delicious sounding dishes including Spinach and Mushrooms with Brioche and Truffle Butter!
The portions at Carmelite are extremely generous. We left with very full bellies so if you have a big appetite, come here to make the most of the £20 dinner deal.
For starters, we opted for the Ham & Eggs and the Cullen Skink.
The Cullen Skink is one of our favourites and standards are pretty high. The flavour of this soup was great, with big chunks of fish and a very creamy broth. However, we both felt it was a little too thin and 'milky'. The bread that came with it tasted freshly baked and amazing, though!
The Ham & Eggs was a very skillful, innovative starter and I am really glad we tried it. The egg had been coated in crispy breadcrumbs but as we cracked it open the yolk remained runny; perfect for dipping in the cheese and ham 'croque monsieur' sandwich fingers. If anything, I would have liked a stronger cheese in the fingers and maybe some better quality bread, but it was delicious and different.
For mains, we went for the Gin & Tonic Fish and Chips and one of two vegetarian options; the Mushroom Burger Stack.
The Fish and Chips portion was HUGE, with three massive, battered pieces of fish served with loads of chunky chips, homemade caramelised lime tartar sauce and salad. A whole haddock fillet was sectioned into three pieces which made the fillet appear much bigger. It was hard to detect any gin and tonic in the dish, but the batter was crunchy and crisp and the fish was served with proper chips. It was delicious overall and definitely not for the faint hearted.
The vegetarian main, Mushroom Burger Stack, was also a huge portion. I was so impressed with this main. The bun with piled high with mushrooms, sweet freshly roasted peppers and tangy blue cheese. The combination was even better than I'd imagined and I definitely did not miss the meat at all. This was served with a side salad and some crispy fries. The chutney style dip on the side was also a perfect match. If you like chunky chips better, I'm sure they would swap them out.
You've probably gauged by now that this was a very filling, satisfying meal. However, we still had to try out the desserts on offer. After a short break we ordered our desserts: Sticky Toffee Pudding and Baked Rice Pudding.
Like Cullen Skink, STP is also one of our go-to's. It's rarely done wrong here in Aberdeen, but this particular one was pretty perfect. The sponge was soft, fairly light and full of flavour. The sauce was sticky and sweet with a good kick of brandy- just as it should be. Finished off with salted caramel ice cream (!) it was a perfect dessert.
What the Sticky Toffee did for the dessert world, the Rice Pudding unfortunately lacked. It was no where near sweet enough, and although the creme-brûlée-esque caramelised sugar lid was a welcome touch, that's about all that was good with it. The rice didn't have the rich, vanilla-tasting creamy consistency that I love from a homemade rice pudding and the plums were too tart, which did not help the fact the dessert was not sweet enough. Luckily, the STP was so good that you shouldn't be put off.
Within a hotel, Carmelite may not be an obvious choice for dinner in Aberdeen City Centre. However, if you're looking for somewhere with stunning and comfortable plush surroundings, huge portions and one of the best cocktail menus I've seen, this could be a choice for you. Additionally, Carmelite offer many live music events and on Friday 7th September they have Stan Fraser singing in the restaurant from 5-7pm. Live music and a great, inexpensive meal would make for a fantastic night in the city during Aberdeen Restaurant Week.