Review: Inn at the Park, Aberdeen

Inn at the Park was in the news recently when a takeover ensured the business – a fixture on Aberdeen’s dining scene for many years – would continue to serve the community.

So we were keen to drop by to see how things were going under the new bosses and to try out the new menu.

A bright evening meant business was brisk in the front bar, which is a cosy local for Ferryhill residents, and a handy spot for refreshment for those visiting the nearby Duthie Park.

Choosing instead to eat in the dining room, we were shown to our seats, alongside a surprising number of other tables of diners for this week-night visit.

Understated, elegant decor and muted background music created a welcoming feel to the place, as did the smiling waitress.

And the smile stayed firmly in place, despite her having to make several return visits before we decided on our choices.

The menu offered a mix of dining standards – steaks, burgers, pastas and salads, and an enticing range of fish dishes, with food sourced locally.

We decided to mix and match with starters and mains, sticking with a veggie and fish theme.

The roast garlic hummus, with olives, halloumi and pitta bread to start was an inviting platter of the tangy, garlicky hummus, grilled cheese, and accompaniments, all beautifully laid out on a board, and perfect for sharing.

Our other starter was a generously-sized hot smoked salmon fishcake.

Nicely browned and crunchy on the outside, it was all tasty chunks of fish and potato mash, with just the right levels of lemon and seasoning, and nicely complemented with delicious green pea purée and cherry tomato ketchup.

Simple and beautifully done.

We couldn’t see past the fish choices on the menu, and debated long and hard over a simple haddock and chips, or monkfish scampi.

But in the end it was smoked haddock risotto which won the day for my dining companion, and rightly so.

More tender and flavoursome fish chunks in a creamy mix with rice of just the right consistency.

Crispy kale and a poached egg completed this lovely dish.

I was reeled in by the crispy skin salmon fillet, served in a crayfish and dill butter sauce with roast cherry tomatoes, which I think proved the winner of the night.

The salmon was perfectly cooked, the tender fish contrasting nicely with the crispy, flavour-filled outer.

This was rivalled by the delicious, buttery sauce scattered with tender crayfish.

But my absolute favourite was the delightful sweet potato fondant, I could have eaten a plateful of them.

We decided to share a dessert to complete our research.

The vanilla custard panna cotta with rhubarb sorbet and puff candy was a picture on a plate, and a tasty, creamy one at that.

With coffees and wine, we enjoyed great restaurant quality fare at a very reasonable price.

Only later did we discover the head chef wasn’t on that night, but his team have obviously been trained because the meal really was top dollar.

And if the new bosses can keep up those standards, no doubt Inn at the Park will add many more years to its lengthy history.