I ALWAYS find the best way to catch up with an old friend is over a good meal.
And that’s exactly what we got from Maggie’s Grill on Holburn Street.
On arrival I was glad I had booked a table even on a Monday night the small restaurant was packed to capacity.
The eatery is aiming to bring the ‘soul food’ revival taking place in the southern United States to Aberdeen.
And with dishes that wouldn’t look out of place in any New Orleans restaurant, like Cajun blackened salmon, smoked pulled-pork and homemade gumbo, I think they have succeeded.
I ordered myself the day’s gumbo smoked sausage, prawn and shrimp served as it should be with rice and cornbread.
It was everything I hoped for and more a thick stock packed full of smokey flavour from the sausage with good helpings of shrimp and prawn.
The cornbread provided the perfect tool to scoop up the remaining rice and mop up every last drop.
Ryan initially ordered the smoked fish dip ‘n’ chips, but we were quickly and very apologetically told that they had run out and that any other starter would be on the house.
His second choice, the New Orleans BBQ Shrimp turned out to be an incredible alternative.
I’ll get to the prawns soon but the real star of the dish was its oil/butter element.
We initially expected it to be a little bit greasy, but it certainly wasn’t.
Dipping the fresh crusty bread into the oil pulled in incredible levels of flavour, hints of lemon, acidity from the onion and the smoke from the spices … fantastic. The prawns themselves were perfectly cooked and succulent a faultless dish.
Choosing our main courses was tough and though the menu isn’t as extensive as a big chain’s, every single dish was tempting.
Ryan chose the mixed BBQ platter, reasoning that he would get to try a couple of the different dishes that had tempted him.
The pulled pork was perfection on a plate, the slow-cooked meat melted in the mouth, the succulent pulled pieces of shoulder had just the right balance of spice and smoke, with the sauce providing a hint of warmth.
The incredible Aberdeen Angus pastrami, huge grilled sausage and two fried eggs completed the dish. All this plus sweet potato fries and hush puppies a deep fried ball of cornmeal similar to the outer crust of a corndog was just too much food for Ryan.
I went for the Cajun blackened Scottish salmon also served with pickles, hush puppies and a side.
The salmon itself was perfectly cooked, the flesh moist and still pink in the middle, the blackened Cajun spices the perfect balance of fire and flavour my only criticism, and this is nit-picking, would be that the salmon’s skin wasn’t crispy.
My side of homemade fries were perhaps some of the best chips I have ever eaten.
Maggie’s Grill prides itself on bringing in the best of local ingredients and turning it around in a flavoursome and traditional southern style the combination of fantastic attitude from the staff and great-tasting food has put this restaurant on my must-eat-at-again list.