Picture a hyperactive Tigger bouncing around on his tail to his “Tiggers are wonderful things” tune, that’s the excitement I’m channelling this week as I await the opening of not one but two new restaurants in Aberdeen, The Esslemont Bar & Restaurant and Mac’s Pizzeria.
At the start of the year it was announced that food and drink heavy weight, The McGinty’s Group, would be adding two more eateries to its ever-growing portfolio adding even more variety to the local foodie scene.
Excitement has been building over the past few weeks with sneak peak press articles and preview posts on social giving food keen beans like myself a glimpse at what to expect from both restaurants. I’ve been hot on the heels with this one, and I’ve combined everything I know into a handy blog post to get you up to speed ahead of both openings this Friday (23 August).
Where can I find them?
Slap bang in the city centre, in the prestigious Esslemont & MacIntosh building on the end of Union Street across from Ship Row. The once prized department store that could have been the Aberdonian rival to Selfridges, has now been transformed into a double-decker of delights with The Esslemont Bar & Restaurant on the ground floor and Mac’s Pizzeria above.
What’s on the menu?
Both menus are now live on each of the restaurant websites and (in the words of Janice from Friends) “OH. MY. GOD” they look immense!
At Mac’s expect Neapolitan pizza (surprisingly) handmade on site and loaded with the fresh ingredients promising that authentic italian taste. There’s no Hawaiian or Meat Feast to be seen here, the menu strays far away from your generic pizza using a tasteful combination of ingredients creating 10 rustic pizza options.
Downstairs at The Esslemont, a sophisticated menu full of classic options with a contemporary twist have been penned and if the sister restaurants in The McGinty’s Group like No. 10 and The Silver Darling are anything to go by, all will use quality Scottish ingredients.
Lamb is not a dish I often jump at, but the sound of the Spice Lamb Shank with Indian spiced broccoli & cauliflower with mango rice stands out to me and I’ll definitely be keeping room for the Bread and Buttery Pudding dessert that’s already got me weak at the knees.
I’m a pizza lover, so choosing just one is a real Sophie’s choice for me and there’s two choices that have my eye. The first is the Mac’s Signature pizza with mozzarella, ‘blaggis’ (a black pudding and haggis combo), red onions and white scottish cheddar and the second is option nine on the menu with caramelised onion, gorgonzola, prosciutto and artichoke. There’s plenty of extra toppings and dips to accompany, meaning these pizzas are perfectly made just for you.
What’s the vibe?
At The Esslemont there’s a real luxuriousness about it reflected through the branding, menu and interior (sneak peeks over on Instagram). The restaurant encompasses the opulence of Esslemont & MacIntosh brand through quirky furnishings from years gone by fused with today’s styles creating a modern classic.
Move up to Mac’s for a casual dining experience with an American diner-esque feel crossed with urban style of exposed brickwork and graffitti. Art and expression seems to be at the heart of Mac’s, with street artists Ciaran Glöbel and Conzo Throb (the masters behind Super Scurry on Holburn Street) dropping by earlier this week to put their spin on the interior and creating a pizza angel silhouette set to take Instagram by storm. If you get a window seat looking down to St Catherine’s Wynd and you’ll spot this year’s Nuart Aberdeen Rude Kids creations causing havoc on the building across from you.
Mac’s makes the ideal stop for a quick bite. With all pizzas fired in a pizza oven specially designed for the restaurant, you can get your pizza in as little as 60 seconds making a perfect stop to squeeze in to an hours working lunch. If Usain Bolt was a pizza restaurant, he’d be Mac’s.
If you’re looking for a place to set the tone right for a celebratory meal, you need to book a table at The Esslemont. Fine dining is blended with a relaxed ambience, creating the perfect pairing for a special occasion. With prices that won’t break the bank, you’re offered affordable luxury here with an experience to remember.
Can I book?
Both restaurants are open for lunch and dinner from Friday 23 August. You can book your table at The Esslemont by phone or via the website whereas Mac’s operates a walk-in system only taking bookings for over eight people but fear not, there’s 120 seats so you won’t be left waiting for long.
Where can I find out more?
Safe to say that I am stoked for the openings of these two venues and I can’t wait to give them a try. Be the first to know my thoughts by subscribing to my monthly newsletter and follow me on Instagram to stay ahead of all the latest foodie news.