This year I have committed to pushing myself to try out new things. Whether that is trying to convince myself that swimming in the freezing cold North Sea will be good for my mental health and wellbeing, or trying out new restaurants and takeaways to further widen my culinary horizon.
Passing on the cold dip in the water, I decided that it was about time I tried out Aberdeen’s Siam Cottage after being recommended them time after time by friends.
Intrigued by their Thai and Chinese menu fusion the venue, which is on Castle Street near Castlegate, is not somewhere I have frequented yet, so hopped online to see what they offered.
The menu was vast with lots of Thai and Chinese favourites we love here in the UK. From red Thai curry to sweet and sour chicken, the list was endless with curries, dim sum, soups, salads, noodle dishes and more.
While there is an option to order directly via the restaurant by calling, I couldn’t get a hold of anyone so tried my chances on delivery platform Just Eat. My boyfriend and I studied the menu and eventually came to our decision. We ordered for as soon as possible at 7pm with an estimated delivery time confirming an hour wait.
I received a text 30 minutes later informing me my order was on its way and by the time we had set the table it was at the door.
A cheery woman dropped off our order socially distanced at the door and waited until to confirm it was my order and wish us a lovely evening.
Inside the bag I noticed there was a handwritten note thanking us for our support during these challenging times which I thought was a nice touch.
We tore open the plastic bag and got unboxing the recyclable plastic containers to unearth the goodies.
We’d ordered a few starters including prawn toast and moo ping, plus a quarter aromatic duck to kick things off.
The prawn toast consisted of three massive pieces perfectly deep fried. The flavour of each piece was excellent and it was clear the sesame seeds, which were heavily layered on top, had been toasted before the whole thing had been deep fired just by the intense flavour they boasted.
There was a thin layer of prawn meat within, with a thicker toast layer underneath and the toast itself was a golden brown and while soft, had a lovely crispiness to it which my dining partner adored.
As for the crispy aromatic duck, it was equally as delicious, probably more so due to the rich, indulgent hoisin sauce it came served with. The sweet yet slightly salty sauce was smothered all over the Chinese pancakes the dish came with and I topped it with the cucumber and spring onion which has been chopped into matchsticks. Then came a pile of juicy duck which was crisp on the outside. The crispier pieces, which were few and far between, were a little chewier, but a topping up of sauce helped. The pancake was light and think and was a delicate operation folding them up at times, but luckily there were no spillages. There was six pancakes and more than enough duck and veg for the both of us.
Our last starter was the moo ping pork skewers. A popular Thai dish found on the majority of Thai restaurants in the city, the grilled meat dish was enjoyable and had been cooked in an aromatic sauce. While it wasn’t my favourite moo ping to date, it had plenty of flavour and was just lacking a little more of the juices it had been marinated in. There was four skewers and the meat was cooked really well, ensuring it was moist and flavourful.
We didn’t dare try and finish the starters before moving onto mains as we quickly realised we had a real feast on our hands.
For mains we had opted for one Chinese dish and one Thai one. Shredded chilli beef is one of my partners favourite dishes while I love a massaman curry. We decided to share both and order a side of coconut rice and beansprout noodles. We also received a portion of prawn crackers which we hadn’t paid for.
The chilli beef for me has to be the stand out dish of this meal. It was exceptional and although it is a classic on most Chinese takeaway menus, it can be a real hit or miss. What I really enjoyed about Siam Cottage’s version was the heat and spiciness to it. I love a kick of chilli in my food and although I anticipated this dish to be quite sweet and mild, it was far from it with a tingling spice running across my tongue.
The beef itself was excellent and the crunch you got from the batter which housed the beef inside added a nice texture to the meal. It wasn’t chewy and went down a treat with us both. There was also a medley of chopped and sliced veg including peppers (green and red), white onion and carrot throughout which were all slightly al dente. Like the other dishes, it was a good portion size and easy to share.
The massaman curry with chicken on the other hand didn’t quite live up to our expectations. I like massaman to be a thicker sauce, with lots and lots of flavour to it. This sauce was much runnier than others I have tried and lacked that oomph I was looking for. I wanted the nuttiness, the slight spice, the turmeric and although it was there, it wasn’t at the forefront.
The chunky pieces of chicken however were succulent and the veg was cooked similarly to the chili beef dish, although the boiled potatoes were soft and served with their skin on. The crushed peanuts lurking in the watery dish were a welcome addition when you managed to find them.
Both sides were great and I really liked the toasted desiccated coconut on top of the coconut rice which we mixed in. It was sticky and soft, everything you’d want coconut rice to be. As for the beansprout noodles, they were thin and served with plenty of shredded veg, including lots of beansprouts, throughout. While they had been fried, they weren’t oily and were very well cooked as they melted in my mouth. Our complementary prawn crackers were
crisp with a snap to them, they made for the perfect accompany to attempt to scoop up some of the watery massaman sauce.
As expected we couldn’t finish the food so tidied the leftovers away into the recyclable containers for a meal the next day.
For having never visited the restaurant I am very much looking forward to doing so when the venue reopens thanks to this takeaway experience.
The massaman curry sauce may not have been up to par with others I had tried, but overall the food was brilliant and there’s a whole host of other dishes on the menu I’d be interested in trying out.
The portion sizes were big and we ended up with so much that we fed ourselves lunch the next day with the leftovers. Value for money is certainly apparent and the gamble of trying somewhere new definitely paid off.
Price: £43.30 (including £3 for delivery and 50p service charge)
Address: 13 Castle Street, Aberdeen, AB11 5BQ
Orders need to be placed between noon and 2.30pm or 5pm to 9pm on the day of by calling the restaurant on 01224 636888.
Siam Cottage recommends customers to call earlier in the day on their website to ensure they can get their order as they experience a high volume of call. You can also order online via Just Eat.