The Athenaeum: Union Street, Aberdeen
I’VE nothing against pub grub, it’s just more often than not I come away slightly underwhelmed.
A menu that promises a “succulent chargrilled beef burger” more often than not delivers a rubbery slab of shoe-leather and the “twice-cooked chips” are rarely anything better than your average oven-cooked variety.
Fortunately, the food at The Athenaeum more than lived up to the promises on the menu.
I started with a truly huge bowl of mussels in a creamy tomato and basil broth (£5).
It was faultless, although I wished I’d been given a bit of bread to mop up the sauce at the end.
My wife’s tempura king prawns with oriental salad and sticky chilli sauce (£6) was, again, another example of simple food done incredibly well.
So now for my “chargrilled burger” (£9) ... Would it disappoint like all the others? Not a chance. Clearly handmade and cooked with love and care, it had a delicious smoky flavour and was gloriously tender. Served with chips, blue cheese mayo and some truly stonking beetroot coleslaw, this was gourmet burger territory.
My wife – who by now wished she’d gone for a burger too – didn’t enjoy her battered fish of the day (£11) nearly as much.
Although the batter, chips and tartare sauce were all perfect, the choice of smoked haddock was odd.
It was just too strongly flavoured for a fish supper and she struggled to finish it.
But it didn’t matter – we’ll still come back for a taste of burger heaven.