Julia tries McGintys

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There's nothing better than good ol' pub grub. However, it's sometimes a challenge to find a really good pud, that does really good food. Too often little thought goes into the food offering at local pubs, but with McGinty'sthis is definitely not the case.

It's clear from the moment you walk in this is a local bar for local people, supporting local businesses at any opportunity. With a wall of spirits - with a large majority hailing from as close to the North-east as possible - it's refreshing to see a local pub take such interest in supporting local businesses around them.

Not living too far away from the pub, it was a must-visit in my mind ahead of the inaugural Aberdeen Restaurant Week which kicks off on the 1st February. And as a participating restaurant, this was even more of an excuse to pop in and check out what the food offering was like.

Creating two menus for the week (a two-course lunch menu at £10 per person, and a three-course dinner menu at £20.18) I was intrigued to find out more about the day-to-day offering and see if their chefs catered for all.

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Heading to the bar last Thursday, it was really busy with lots of people eating and drinking, and catching up with friends. We were seated at one of the booths at the back, away from the hustle and bustle of the bar front, and handed two menus. This was going to be a tough choice...

Having deliberated between ourselves, I decided to go with the well-recommended nachos withhomemade beef chilli which came with lots, and lots of gooey melted cheese on top.

At this time, I hadn't had nachos in so long, and having been told by the server that it was one of their most popular dishes, it was a must. He'd also informed me the dish had been on the menu for years due to the amount of people who loved it - so naturally, I had to try it.

The crunchy tortilla crisps were lovely and crisp, with some slightly more chewier than others due to the melted cheese traveling down the crisps. They came served with a few large spoonfuls of chilli on top which was great as I was never short of mince or sauce - even when hitting the bottom of the nachos there was still plenty for me to scoop. A lover of kidney beans, I was delighted to see lots of them used in the dish too. I also quite enjoyed that the sour cream was in a ramekin on the side of the dish which meantI could use it as I pleased.

There was an option to add BBQ chicken or salsa to the nachos too, but having not had chilli in a while, it was the homemade chilli that won it for me that night although definitely think I'll have to return to try out the BBQ chicken option next time as that sounds super tasty too!

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Having both initially eyed up the Stornoway black pudding stacker, it was Calum who ended up ordering it.

The two big bits of Stornoway black pudding sandwiched the crisp tattie scone and delicious homemade chilli jam which had a lovely sweetness to it. A dollop of the chilli jam was also presented on top of the stack of black pudding and tattie scones, and Calum loved how much of each ingredient was included in the dish.

The black pudding melted in his mouth and the crisp, slight crunchiness of the tattie scone complimented that perfectly. It was the size of the black pudding pieces that took Calum by surprise - not that he was complaining - as there were huge big bits. Alongside the stacked black pudding and tattie scones was a fresh side salad with a lovely dressing which I can only presume was a French dressing.

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Moving on to mains, I had decided to try out McGinty's ale battered haddock. A lot of people I know prefer to order their fish and chips from a chipper, but having tried out The Ferryhill House's fish and chips a few months ago, I just had to find out if McGinty's was as good.

To start, the haddock was massive. Beautifully cooked, the batter was light and crispy on the outside, and the fish was cooked extremely well. It was moist on the inside and the flakes of haddock peeled away as I tore it apart with my fork. I squeezed my wedge of lemon across it which added a real citrus zest to the fish.

The perfect pairing with any good piece of fish has to be well-cooked chips, and I'm happy to report these chips were pretty bloody good. Crunchy and crisp, and fluffy on the inside, they were exactly what I needed. The peas were also spot on, and the salad went down a treat too - all it needed was some homemade tartare sauce and it would have been the ultimate hearty main meal.

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Looking for something extra filling, Calum decided to try out The McGinty's burger. A 6oz beef burger topped with haggis, onion rings and cheese, and served with a whisky sauce, salad, coleslaw and chips, he had met his match.

Not to be tackled without a napkin, he dived in, and the look on his face tole me everything - this was a bloody good burger.

Oozing with the whisky sauce which he had poured into it, I knew this was going to be a quiet dinner.
The burger patty itself was very well cooked and didn't boast that charcoal-esque, over-cooked taste and texture a lot of burgers can have. It was soft, and tasted great. The abundance of haggis hiding under the burger bun took Calum by surprise, and the onion rings added some crunch and texture to the burger as he bit into it. The bun was nice and light, which was good as it allowed him to enjoy the burger as a whole, rather than have to dissect parts of the bun to make room for the burger.

The coleslaw was also really fresh and crunchy, and was quite light which was good as it wasn't too overbearing with cream or mayonnaise like the majority of coleslaws. As well as the coleslaw, there was a fresh side salad and a mountain of chips which came with the burger too.

Having tried The Pig burger before - a wild boar and chorizo burger with pulled pork served with BBQ sauce, salad, coleslaw and chips - I can highly recommend McGinty's for their burgers. You can also customise their 6oz classic beef burger with toppings such as cheese, chilli, bacon and haggis, the options are limitless.

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Having had a sneaky peak of the dessert menu when I was ordering, I was keen to try out one or two of McGinty's desserts, however, available space in my stomach was telling me I wouldn't be able to face this alone.

I was really keen to try out the sticky toffee pudding, but instead we decided to share the chocolate cookie brownie cake as this was what Calum really fancied.

With a gorgeous brownie base topped with a tower of chocolate mousse and clotted cream ice cream, this was one dessert you wouldn't mess around with. The mousse was indulgent and rich, and the ice cream was super creamy with a nice buttery texture. Topped off with chocolate sauce poured all over it and crushed biscuit pieces on top, it was any chocolate lovers dream, and with my sweet tooth, it was the ideal finish to our meal.

Offered the choice to have a scoop of ice cream and pouring cream, on the side, ended up with both. Having tried it with the ice cream, we then drowned the cake in the pouring cream and went to town.

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With a recent refurbishment last year under its belt, the bar has since added a number of local/national craft spirits to it's offering.

It now has a gin wall dedicated to one of the most popular spirits of the moment, and provides a welcome space for all. With subtle hints of tartan throughout and a now much more modern decor, it's no surprise that this place is heaving majority of the time - especially when any big sporting matches are on.

Looking to release their Aberdeen Restaurant Week menu's soon, I have a funny feeling McGinty's is going to be very popular throughout the week. Keep an eye on the Aberdeen Inspired and McGinty's Facebook pages for more info coming soon.

Julia Bryce

Julia Bryce


An Aberdonian born and bred, Julia is the Content Editor of @societyabdn, the Aberdeen lifestyle brand ✌🏻 and owner of award winning food blog Just Julia 🍽🍸 Julia's blog will bring you all the best places to eat out and the coolest bars to drink at in Aberdeen. We are delighted to have Julia as ARW2018 Official Food Blogger!

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