I've always really enjoyed a good pizza, but it wasn't until I met my boyfriend Calum, that I truly became a real pizza fan. His favourite food, we always try and experience different homemade pizza places anywhere we go, be that Gran Canaria, Amsterdam, or Aberdeen.
So when I met Carolyn, the manager of Nick Nairn's Pizza Bar at the launch of Aberdeen Restaurant Week, it reignited my interest in the local pizza offering and I just had to get down to pay them a visit.
Heading along yesterday afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised to see how busy the restaurant was. Luckily, we manged to bag the last available table and made ourselves at home. The smells of freshly made pizza engulfed the place and I started salivating at the thought of the food.
To begin, we ordered some water for the table and Calum ordered a blood orange San Pallegrino.
We skimmed the menu, but after hearing one of the special's had black pudding on it, I was sold.
To start, we ordered the salt and pepper chicken wings. The wings were scrumptious and we demolished all eight of them.
As I brought a wing up to my nose, it was filled with the aroma of rosemary, and as I bit into it, the salt and pepper on the skin immediately captured my tastebuds attention. The crushed black pepper brought a slight spiciness to the lovely, succulent chicken, and the salt added a good seasoning to the dish. Having been cooked with fresh rosemary, there was a slight fragrance to the dish which I really enjoyed.
Cooked in baking powder, salt, and crushed pepper, the chicken wings arrived piping hot straight out of the oven and were the perfect starter. And with eight wings on our plate, the starter was very generous size. With two pizza's on their way, we were happy to have shared the starter.
I was very much looking forward to the main event, the pizza's. Handmade in the open kitchen which boasts a bar area in front of it where customers can sit and watch their pizza's get created, I patiently awaited the arrival of our freshly made pizza's.
Calum had ordered the hot Italian, and I ordered one of the special's, the black pudding with pancetta - a pizza I've been told is one of the most popular specials the restaurant has, and which may eventually make it's way on to the main menu.
The smells from the pizza's were unbelievable, and the size of them almost looked a little too challenging for me. But it wasn't until I tasted my pizza, that I knew I wouldn't be going home until it was finito.
Calum's hot Italian pizza came with spicy Nduja sausage - a sausage which has only become more popular in the UK over the past few years. The spiciness of the pizza ignited his tastebuds. A lover of spice, he was happy that a pizza that states it's spicy, actually boasted some real heat to it.
The pizza dough was light and fluffy throughout, and the crusts were lovely and crisp, bringing together the ultimate pizza base. Using Shipton Mills finest 00 flour, the dough takes 48 hours to mature and is cut into smaller chunks to ensure the chefs get that beautiful thin, doughy base.
Topped with homemade tomato sauce which is created by simmering Italian Mutti tomatoes for six hours with shallots, garlic and premium olive oil, its this, and the blend of three cheeses from Scotland and Italy that top the pizza which truly brings a marriage of Scotland and Italy together to create some of the best pizza's I've had.
My black pudding and pancetta pizza was phenomenal. Not only was the black pudding cooked perfectly and tasted incredible, the addition of the slightly chewy, salty pancetta and the herby, earthiness from the basil on top, brought an array of flavours and textures to the soft pizza. What I loved most - not forgetting the base of the pizza as a whole - was how much of the rich black pudding there was on the pizza. Every slice of pizza was covered in the stuff, and I loved it.
The pizza melted in my mouth, and unlike most pizza's I eat, I got stuck in with my hands tearing the pizza apart piece after piece. The tomato base didn't drown the pizza, and was evenly spread across the whole pizza. The cheese's were lovely and fragrant, and added a slight gooeyness to the pizza as I tore the different slices apart.
We also decided to try the homemade chilli oil on the side, dipping our pizza's into the oil and devouring them. Calum loved the kick the oil had.
The restaurant was packed, and Pizza Paul - the pizza chef - was busy in the kitchen making every pizza by hand.
Everyone was loving the pizza's and it was great to see all ages in the restaurant enjoying a simple Italian dish, which is done superbly well by the team at Nick Narin's pizza bar. There were empty plates everywhere, including my own, and it was refreshing to see so many people enjoying good food in a relaxed, chilled out environment.
Involved in AberdeenRestaurant Week, the pizza bar will be offering a three course menu for £20.18 from the 1st - 8th of February. With the salt and pepper chicken wings available as a starter, a pizza of your choice from the menu, and a choice from the dessert menu which could be anything from an orange almond cake to the Valrhona chocolate pot, it's a great opportunity for anyone who's been wanting to try out this restaurant to indulge in its brilliant offering.
All of the regular pizza's will be available on the Aberdeen Restaurant Week menu, allowing customers the chance to try any one of these delicious pizza's. With everything from a classic margherita, to garlic mushroom, to great glen Scottish salami, there's something to suit all tastes.
Located on Back Wynd, where Nick Nairn's Cook School also is, the pizza bar is ideally located in the centre of town, and is a great pitstop for anyone visiting the Belmont Cinema and is also the perfect place for some pre-theatre grub too.
So if you love pizza, and haven't yet had the opportunity to try the best pizza in town, then get yourself along to Nick Nairn's Pizza Bar.
I promise you won't leave disappointed.