I love Rye & Soda. I have since it opened and I'm delighted at how well the popular eatery has done over the years. A city favourite for brunch, its renowned for its gin bar and great local offering. I've visited the establishment a number of times, be that for breakfast, brunch, dinner or even just a catch up over a glass of wine with my friends. It's a cosy place, somewhere that feels like home, but with the addition of someone who has the knowledge of more gins than I can count on my hands and toes, and a pretty shit-hot kitchen team.
That being said, I was delighted my other half suggested we stop by for a light bite to eat when we were out last weekend, or at least that was what we thought we were doing...
Every time I end up at Rye, I always want to order the pancakes but don't, and alas, this occasion was no different. I mean it would be acceptable to have a mountain of pancakes for lunch, right?
Owned by local entrepreneur Adrian Gomes, one of the masterminds behind Jindea gin and proprietor of 10 Dollar Shake, Bos'n, The Tippling House and outdoor catering company Salt and Sauce, the eatery has a real focus on good food, and even better drinks. With Adrian's background in hospitality, management and the food and drink sector, it was natural that he'd end up being one of Aberdeen's most influential food and drink business owners.
Welcomed into Rye and Soda with opened arms (quite literally - Claire you're the best) we were seated almost instantly by the friendly, accommodating staff - and just in time by the looks of it as the restaurant began to fill up. Handed the menus, I was in the mood for a sandwich and chips, although the breaded North Sea haddock and chips also caught my eye. Cal was just as ravenous as I was, so was looking to get something substantial, and substantial we nailed.
It was clear both Calum and I had different agendas when it came to ordering, we both wanted different things and it was apparent there would be no sharing on this occasion - shock horror.
Knowing how much he loves American style cuisine, I figured he'd either order the Philly Cheese Steak, or the Hand Pressed Aged Beef Burger - the Philly Cheese Steak it was.
And I'd also sussed out pretty quickly that he'd end up ordering a side of pizza chips - which he did.
I on the other hand, decided on a club sandwich with a portion of classic chips with garlic mayonnaise. Yum.
The Philly Cheese Steak was scrumptious and consisted of cheese stuffed potato skins on the bottom of the dish, topped with shredded slow cooked BBQ beef with Southwest coleslaw and finished with crispy onions. The meat was perfectly cooked, and tasted brilliant. It's how all BBQ beef should taste, and is definitely worth trying out. The crispy onions also added to the texture of the dish, moving away from the gooeyness of the melted cheese which oozed across the fluffy potato skins which melted in his mouth.
Well presented, it almost looked too good to eat...almost.
The pizza chips on the side had pepperoni slices, tomato sauce and melted cheese all over them. Calum enjoyed the chips, but did mention some at the bottom of the bowl were a little soggy - probably down to the melted cheese and the fats from the pepperoni slices which can only be expected. (That being said, he still ate them all!) I was really impressed with my club sandwich and was rather surprised it came served as an open sandwich. I'd envisioned this tower of bread, grilled chicken breast, iceberg lettuce, and bacon all piled up on my plate, but this was no standard club sandwich. Beautifully presented, it came with gorgeous roasted tomato mayonnaise sauce lightly drizzled all over it.
The bloomer bread was awesome, and the iceberg lettuce provided a nice crunch to the dish, as did the bacon which was cooked just how I like it. The grilled chicken was lovely and tender and the roasted tomato mayo gave the dish a good, healthy kick of flavour to it.
My chips were good. I probably would have left them in the fryer just a tad longer as I love crispy chips, but nonetheless, they were light and fluffy, and the best part - there was lots of them. The garlic mayonnaise was very pungent - which I loved - and was super creamy too. I enjoyed this dip a lot. And again, there was lots of it - so much that Calum ended up diving into it too. I had been looking forward to a dessert, but for the first time it seemed I had been defeated by a sandwich. There was no chance I would have managed anything after. But I guess that just means that we're going to have to go back for dessert, because I can't not have some of those Sticky Toffee Smores in my life! With a relaxing, busy ambiance, Rye and Soda is the perfect place to catch up with friends for a gin and tonic, or to enjoy a casual meal with your family. It's a homely, well decorated space and there's always a real buzz about the place. Being bloody baltic on the day, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many people braving the horrid weather to enjoy the comforts of the eatery, and it was extremely nice to be served by a bunch of knowledgeable, and fashionable staff. This is one place you could spend all day in...