Street Food & Live Music
You may, or may not be aware of So... Aberdeen & their monthly popup events. This year they have been labelled "So...at night" and on the 25th May, as well as the usual array of amazing street food, craft beers, wines & cocktails - this time they are adding some live music in to the mix.
So... will be hosting local singer songwriters Ella Winter & Martin JJ Simpson as their first ever live music act to provide the entertainment for this event. With an acoustic set full of covers & original songs, they will certainly provide the perfect atmosphere to kick off your weekend.
I'm no stranger to So... and their street food - earlier this year at North Hop, I was blown away by their Firecracker loaded fries & I'm sure their menu will be packed with similarly awesome dishes. It promises to be a great night, that's for sure & with everything going on in Aberdeen right now with Aberdeen Inspired Nights it's only adds to Aberdeen's buzzing nightlife & street food scene.
Doors open from 18:00, with live the music from 19:30. To book a table call 01224 596 817 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and you can even take your food away if you feel like it.
Check out the Facebook event page for more info & be sure to follow So... on their social media platforms to keep up to date with future events:
They're Mad For Pizza
You may or may not have noticed, but there's a new pizzeria in town. Mozza, a Neapolitan pizza chain has recently opened its doors in Union Square, Aberdeen. With three other restaurants in Scotland (Dundee, St. Andrews & Glasgow), Mozza promises to bring an authentic taste of Naples to the city. Part of the Tony Macaroni brand, it is the first of two of his restaurants coming to Aberdeen, with another set to open in Marischal Square later in the year.
I'm going to be honest and say that when I heard a new Italian restaurant opening in Union Square, I was a bit sceptical as there is an abundance of Italian chains in there. However when I found out exactly who Mozza were and what they were offering - authentic style Neapolitan pizza, my view somewhat changed as Aberdeen is crying out for quality pizzerias as it's something we really don't have enough of. Pizza is without doubt my favourite food, so I was especially happy when I was lucky enough to be invited along to a "Pizza Masterclass" at Mozza.
On arrival we were greeted by Steph, who organised the evening and Ricardo, the area manager who showed us to our seats at a very well presented table featuring individual name cards of everyone attending. After some friendly introductions before and ordering our drinks, we were ready to start the evening.
Before ordering our pizzas, Ricardo took the time to go through the menu and explain the story behind each pizza; the inspiration for it, the ingredients, the recipe & how they differ to other similar pizzas. The menu contains 13 different pizzas; 12 of them being described on the menu and "lucky 13" which is a pizza where the chef will create whatever he fancies at that time - a nice twist.
The pizzas all sounded great & it was so hard to choose! In the end it came down to pizzas 5 & 10, with me finally opting for pizza number 5 - the spicy 'nduja sauce being the deciding factor.
Ricardo then took us into the kitchen to show us how the number 2 pizza (margherita) was made. He took the time to explain the entire process from the dough to the finished article as the pizza was made by the chef in real time. It was extremely interesting & the fact these pizzas only took 90 seconds to cook (60 in the oven & 30 seconds in the "sky") blew my mind!
Before our orders arrived, the margherita that we watched get made in the kitchen earlier was brought over to the table for us to try. After hearing so much about pizza and watching pizza get made I was more than happy to tuck right into a slice & it was definitely worth the wait. It tasted great, and a perfect teaser for what was to come next.
When our main pizzas finally arrived, they certainly did not disappoint - they looked absolutely fantastic! The pizza itself was excellent, the base was cooked to perfection; thin, soft & spongy - just like Ricardo described beforehand, and the toppings brought it all together perfectly. The combination of the meat & spicy sauce worked together perfectly with the mozzarella & ricotta cheeses. For being such a thin based pizza, it was surprisingly filling - I was stuffed by the time I finished the last bite, but I enjoyed every second of it.
For dessert, there was only really one option - the aptly named Birramisu that added a beer inspired twist to the classic Italian dessert, replacing the coffee with beer. And wow, what a tasty dessert! It was sweet, creamy & with the slightest hint of beer throughout the sauce for it to live up to its name.
Overall I had a fantastic evening at Mozza & I can't thank Steph, Ricardo & the Mozza team enough for having me. Not only was it a highly interesting experience, I met some great people, enjoyed some drinks & of course sampled some excellent pizza. I will definitely be back to Mozza (the gold card I was kindly gifted will make sure of that) as it is easily some of the best pizza I have tasted in the city - Aberdeen is crying out for more quality pizzerias like this & I encourage you all to get along to Mozza and experience it for yourselves.
Say Hello To The New Menu
Soul is without doubt an Aberdeen favourite. Its iconic facade is a jewel of Union Street, especially when lit up at night. Its range of dining, cocktails & vast beer selection alongside frequent live music is enough to keep punters coming though the doors all day and night.
They have recently launched a new menu, and I was lucky enough to be invited along on launch day to check it out. This was pretty exciting for two reasons; Firstly, Soul is a favourite of ours, having eaten and been there for drinks on several occasions and secondly - this was the first official event that I had been invited to as a blogger, so it was a personal highlight for me.
Soul's new menu has been developed by using the best of local produce and key dishes that are unique to Aberdeen in order to create the best range possible for all diners - these include a huge range of vegetarian, vegan & gluten free options.
Head Chef Mark Taylor said:
"What we did was ask a few people within PB Devco (the owning company) who are vegan/vegetarian/etc for their suggestions then built up on our choices and refined our recipes. We also did some research and tastings from other vegan restaurants/local suppliers of vegan products. This is how we made our choices for our Vegan Dishes on the menu.
The other dishes on the menu were put together on the bases of using local produce and key dishes which are unique to the North East of Scotland which have been refined for our menu."
The menu itself is minimalist in design and broken into starters/snacks, sandwiches, house mains, grill, classics, sides & desserts. Each section has a good amount of selection that are all reasonably priced. There was so much that caught my eye...choosing what I wanted to eat was probably the toughest decision I made all day!
To start with I opted for the braised short rib of beef & sausage bradie, that was served with a side of BBQ baked beans. This instantly stood out to me, as putting a BBQ style twist on a local favourite is always eye catching.
When the food arrived, I couldn't wait to get stuck in, it looked so good! The bradie itself had a wonderful flaky golden pastry & the flavours inside were even better; deliciously seasoned tender beef & sausage meat that melted in your mouth. The BBQ beans were also great - sweet smokey flavours are complimented by a slick fiery kick. I think this was the best bradie I've ever had. It is such a simple concept (bradie & beans), but executed fantastically - my plate was clear in minutes.
The only down point I would add is that the BBQ beans did have a slight kick to them & whilst it was totally fine with me - someone who may not be a fan of spicy things may not enjoy them as much.
For main, I opted for the panko chicken kiev which was served with crushed herbed peas & garlic potato wedges. What arrived at the table was possibly one of the biggest chicken kiev's in existence! The huge lump of chicken was coated in golden panko breadcrumbs on a bed of the chunky garlic wedges and crushed peas. The chicken itself was cooked perfectly; juicy, tender & full of flavour and the panko coating offered the perfect amount of crunch. The accompanying herbed peas were also a very tasty addition to the dish.
However, for met the only downside of the main was the wedges; whilst they tasted great & were full of flavour, they were a bit soggy - I'm not sure if this was a combination of them absorbing the juices of the chicken and crushed peas, but they definitely lacked a crispiness for me.
The staff very friendly attentive throughout the night - offering to explain the menu & checking everything was OK. We also had a great table (one of the best in Soul in my opinion) & all the other bloggers there were very friendly & chatty.
My only other disappointment was that I couldn't have a beer (because I was driving!). Soul have an expansive beer offering, including the glorious Lupuloid by Beavertown.
No trip to Soul on a Friday night is complete without a performance from Myke Black. The local favourite never disappoints with his unique, high energy covers of the latest hit songs. If you've never seen him before, then I highly recommend getting along to check him out sometime.
I just want to end by saying thank you to Soul for inviting me to test out the new menu. You should definitely get yourselves along to try it out. Be sure to follow them on their social channels to keep up to date on all the latest updates & events:
Before I sign off, I also met a great bunch of local bloggers at this event - so spread the love & check out their stuff at:
Recently, following a rather unsuccessful shopping trip at Union Square me & my wife Kerry decided to stop for some food at Byron; mainly because we were given a voucher from her sister at Christmas, but also because we were starving & we love burgers!
Having visited Byron on two previous occasions (once sitting in & once takeout) - I knew that Byron made a good burger. However in a city with some great independent restaurants that serve up great burgers, I was still to be convinced that this was the place to come. Byron has been in the news lately with the company potentially closing some of their restaurants - Union Square being one of them, however I believe it has been given a 6 month period of reprieve, so I was interested to see if this had any effect on the crowds, food or service.
The restaurant itself was relatively quiet - although it was only around 6.30 on a Wednesday. We were shown to our table by friendly waiting staff who asked us to sit at another table whilst they cleaned our table for us.
There is quite a decent selection available on the menu; a good choice of starters, along with a huge selection of burgers - beef, chicken & veggie, along with plenty sides to pick from. Byron quite often run a special burger; a few weeks ago, they had the "Calvin Haggis" to celebrate Burns Night & just now they have the Bourbon King - which is what we opted for. I went for the beef version, whilst Kerry chose the fried chicken option. We opted to share sweet potato & regular fries along with sharing nine nuggets as a starter.
When it comes to drinks, Byron again have quite an expansive menu. As I was driving I opted for a Soda Folk cherry soda, however the craft beer selection certainly caught my eye. I have previous when it comes to Byron & craft beer, with Kerry winning their birthday beer box last year - so it was no surprise to see names like Camden Town, Beavertown, BrewDog & Sierra Nevada on there.
The waiting staff brought our drinks over promptly & the cherry soda was as good as I had hoped. Being a lover of all things cherry (including beer), this was a great tasting drink - and only 89 calories (if you worry about that sort of thing).
The drinks were quickly followed by the starter; nine nuggets accompanied by a side of BBQ sauce. The nuggets weren't conventional chicken nuggets - they were more similar to KFC's "popcorn chicken" but they tasted great; the coating was crunchy & seasoned well & the chicken itself was juicy.
Our main course arrived not too long after that & they looked like impressive burgers! Served on a toasted brioche bun, the juicy looking burger was topped with loads of crispy onions, sauce, cheese & lettuce. It tasted great too - the burger was cooked to perfection; charred on the outside & juicy in the middle, with still the slightest bit of pink. All of the other toppings complimented the burger very well. I think the only complaint we had was that Kerry's chicken burger was pretty messy & seemed to fall to pieces very easily. The accompanying fries were also tasty & plentiful - I think we could have even shared one portion between us.
In the end, our bill came to just under £40, and whilst the food was good; I think that is a touch pricey for what we got, considering neither of us had an alcoholic drink & we shared a starter (although we didn't technically pay for it because we had a voucher to use).
Overall, while it may not be the cheapest place to get a burger; I highly enjoyed our visit to Byron Burger & would definitely recommend it. However, I don't think it's enough to regularly pry me away from spots like Filthy Gorgeous, The Boozy Cow or Maggie's Grill. But in Union Square at least, it's certainly the best burger available & along with a fine selection of craft beers - Byron is well worth a visit.