THERE’S a new concept being floated on the cobbles of The Adelphi – “bistronomy”.
The word conjures up images of gastronomic delights in a laid-back bistro setting.
And the new owners of La Stella are bringing it to Aberdeen.
In the last year, the intimate eaterie has had a revamp, with striking photography brightening up the decor.
Gone too are the hefty portions of hearty food and in their place is a well thought out evening menu, tending more towards fine dining.
With two courses from the Winter Creations menu coming in at the princely sum of £27.95 a head, I was expecting perfection.
We began with a gift from the kitchen – haggis balls. The crunchy and spicy morsels were a welcome delight as we waited.
I then enjoyed the shellfish option – a delicate trio of fishy mouthfuls including crabmeat on toast, a plump and juicy scallop and a lovely fresh-tasting crayfish risotto.
My friend started tucking into a steaming big pot of mussels in scrumpy cider with garlic and pancetta. It looked and smelled amazing, but to taste, it was overly salty. The pancetta would give this a salty tang, but we both agreed it had been over-seasoned, perhaps in error. Back to the kitchen it went, uneaten and an apology was offered.
But a shaky start was balanced out by two very fine main courses – and an intermediate course of lip-smacking blood orange sorbet.
My slow-roasted pork belly was terrific, perfectly tender and beautifully cooked. It came with a very herby portion of gnocchi and some black pudding bon-bons, which were arguably the star of the show.
My partner’s “posh scampi” was also a real treat. Made from monkfish in breadcrumbs, the delicate flesh offered a perfect contrast to the crunchy coating. It came with hand-cut chips and spicy tartare sauce.
Deliberating over whether to splash out £32.95 each and get some dessert, (I was particularly tempted by the “chocolate peanut”), we spotted the next table’s complimentary petit fours. We opted to enjoy ours over coffee instead.
Our waitress deducted the mussels from the bill but it was still well over the £70 mark after wine and coffee, (no dessert remember).
Overall, this is a quirky wee restaurant doing something interesting in an often overlooked corner of the city.
It is on the high side price-wise but when you bear in mind the little extras you get along the way, it’s a little easier to swallow.