AS A picky eater, it’s often difficult to find a restaurant with the right “je ne sais quoi”.
But since returning to Aberdeen from university, I am often surprised by the number of hidden gems that have cropped up in the city.
And Bistro La Bonne is most definitely one of these tucked-away delights.
Some of you may be familiar with this restaurant under a different name.
Formerly Bonne Brasserie, this small restaurant on Correction Wynd has now reopened under new management.
That is good news for me, since both its location and menu are just up my street.
Tucked away down the stairs from Union Street, its cosy, candlelit atmosphere offered just what I needed to unwind from a busy working week.
The perfect romantic setting for a date, I thought I should treat my boyfriend, on his sixth working day out of 12.
Still with much the same interior as before, the restaurant was just as I remembered – nicely quaint and not too pretentious.
Without any need for persuasion, I went straight for the wine list, picking a large glass of Italian Pinot Grigio.
Thinking of the working day to come, Alasdair settled for a small glass of shiraz.
Ready for a proper meal, we eagerly surveyed the great array of wonderful dishes on offer, with two courses for £20, or three for just £25.
As we pondered, we were treated to sun-dried tomato bread, and an amuse-bouche of pesto and sun-dried tomato mousse with homemade oatcakes.
If these were little teasers to give a clue to the quality of the dishes we were about to taste, then we had struck lucky.
I chose a pesto, mozzarella and tomato tart, while Alasdair picked marinated beetroot with goat’s cheese, watercress and apple salad.
The pastry melted in my mouth and the pesto and mozzarella was the perfect combination to create a taste of the Med lifestyle.
Alasdair’s beetroot, displayed in shades of orange and red, looked like a work of art on the plate and on further inspection tasted just as good.
While I’m not a fan, Alasdair picked rump of lamb with chorizo and potato presse.
However, the meat was succulent and juicy, rich and so very moreish.
Like Lady and The Tramp, without the spaghetti, we were soon trying each other’s dishes.
My pan-fried, line-caught sea bass, with lobster and potato crush and bisque, was superb.
Fresh and cooked to perfection, the fish was light and the lobster was the perfect accompaniment.
Washed down with some sparkling water and the rest of our wine, we examined the menu one last time to see what desserts were on offer.
And when I see sticky toffee pudding on any menu, my sweet tooth makes it difficult to resist – so I didn’t. It was sublime.
Alasdair picked chocolate tart which was smooth and creamy ... but a little too big to finish.
Satisfied, we were ready to head home for a nightcap in the knowledge we’d be telling our friends to get down the stairs to this fantastic little restaurant – before everyone else does.