SINCE it first opened about five years ago, Number One has always been for me one of the most reliable restaurants in Aberdeen.
While not especially “out there” in terms of food choices, it’s a good bet most people will find something to like on the seasonal menu.
It’s the Ford Mondeo of restaurants – and I mean that in a good way.
So when we were looking for a nice place to go for dinner with friends, Number One seemed the perfect choice.
Neeps and black pudding were a perfect accompaniment for my wife’s gamey wood pigeon (£5.95), and my scallops (£5.95) came with peppery haggis that, amazingly, didn’t overpower the seafood. It was all delicious.
Our friends’ chicken liver parfait (£5.95) and asparagus with bacon, poached egg and hollandaise sauce (£5.95) also won rave reviews.
For mains, my wife and I went for halibut and chips (£13.95) – basically a pimped-up version of the takeaway favourite.
Served on a slate with pickled shallots, pea puree, a beautifully piquant tartare sauce and a Jenga-style pile of chips, it didn’t last long.
My friend’s pan-seared sea bass with roasted vegetables (£13.95) was puny in comparison. He loved the taste, but expected to see more on his plate than one tiny fillet, nine centimetre-sized cubes of veg (he counted) and a wedge of potato.
“If I hadn’t taken small bites I could have finished my plate in four forkfuls,” he noted.
His fiancee’s medium-rare rib-eye steak (£13.95) arrived over-cooked for her taste and the waiter quickly agreed to replace it.
But before delivering her fresh steak the waiter informed us the original hadn’t been overcooked after all – the only reason it didn’t look pink inside was because of the lighting above our table.
My friend cut into her new steak which, under exactly the same lighting conditions, was unmistakably pink and perfectly-cooked – and extremely tasty.
It was a slight negative in what had undoubtedly been a good night for food.
None of us could complain that the dishes didn’t taste anything less than great.
So let’s be philosophical – even the most reliable cars sometimes have the odd wobbly moment.