FYI: the meal reviewed in this blog post was gifted by The Esslemont Bar & Restaurant however this blog post was not asked for in return for the gifted items.
It’s Saturday morning. I turn off the alarm (yes I’m one of those people), stumble to the kitchen, plink on the kettle and start to pour a underwhelming bowl of cereal ready to make a start to the day. Suddenly I stop in my very slow tracks and remember that I’m booked in at The Esslemont Bar & Restaurant to try its new brunch menu. RESULT!
With cereal back in the box, kettle de-plinked (the official term of course) and brain fully back in check, I scurried away to spruce myself up for brunch out at one of Aberdeen’s most chic dining spots. I don’t know about you, but when I have the idea of brunch on the mind, I’m already set up for not returning to my flat for a good eight hours using it as a starting point for a day out. And Saturday was no different.
Joining me for brunch was my esteemed foodie Nikki Eats the World who is always up for sharesies, espresso martinis and never casts judgement over the many food pictures I take throughout the course of any meal. With eating partner booked in and appetites at the ready, the only thing left to do was experience what The Esslemont has to offer – here’s my review.
A bit about The Esslemont Bar & Restaurant:
Taking home in what was once Aberdeen’s answer to Selfridges, The Esslemont Bar & Restaurant is located in the old Esslemont & MacIntosh building on the east end of Union Street right across from it’s equally stylish neighbour Annie Mo’s. Drawing from the style of its predecessor, the venue exudes sophistication with its classy and dapper interior acting as a time capsule of a space that once held such precedence in the city.
Walking in you’re not only greeted with a warm welcome but real Are You Being Served department store nostalgia with resident bell boy, restored features and fashionable accessories all blended with modern stylings bringing a real warmth to the space and atmosphere. Find out more about The Esslemont in my previous post.
And now you’re up to speed, let’s get on to the food.
Whenever I eat out, you can guarantee that I’ve already went through the menu with a fine tooth comb and made my selections days before I dine – and this time was no different.
But when you dine with a fellow food blogger the unspoken law is that you have to order different things so you can try more of the menu (and take an Instagrammable picture don’t forget), so the fear of Nikki wanting to order the same as me was through the roof.
Pretending to read the menu, I (not so) patiently waited for Nikki to disclose what she wanted order before I heard a roaring crowd cheer when she revealed she was planning to order the buttermilk pancakes blueberry pancakes, leaving me clear to order the eggs beneduck.
What I loved about this menu was that it wasn’t overloaded with samesy options that made it an overwhelming decision to make but it was simple with nine options each different from the last. But something was different with this brunch menu, yes your regulars of pancakes, avocado on toast and egg variations were all there, but each option came with a twist set to make it a brunch to remember – even our coffees came with a Irn Bru tablet on the side!
Our food arrived quicker than expected and what arrived to our table could only be described as a mammoth feast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day after all and The Esslemont definitely stay true to that saying.
The eggs beneduck not only had me hooked in at the pun but also at the unconventional serving of poached eggs with duck was something I had never experienced before. Rich hoisin pulled duck across two toasted muffins with perfectly poached duck eggs ready to pop hit the spot nicely and the combination of flavours had my fork quickly returning for more.
Nikki’s American style pancakes were of epic proportion (bigger than her head to be exact), fluffy and stacked high layered with bacon, blueberry compote and maple butter. And as for the popcorn shrimp that we ordered on the side – they were insane with fresh meaty prawns coated in the lightest tempura batter which aided us in scranning the lot.
We may have been defeated by the hefty portions but nothing could stop us ordering cocktails to set the tone of a boozey brunch. The cocktail menu puts its own spin on mixology offering some of your classics along with specialities the likes of a rum ‘n’ raisin old fashioned and marmalade martini along with bubbles and mocktails all giving off that regal appeal. True to form, Nikki went for the espresso martini and I the decontructed mojito to get my rum fix for the day.
If you’re after a hearty brunch to fuel your day, this menu will definitely fit the bill – hands down. Aside from that, it makes a great spot to start off your day ahead of spending time filling your boots in the shops, bar hopping or simply catching up with friends.
Even if cutting cost is on the mind, the portion sizes and the sheer quality of the sophisticated come casual dining experience, you’ll be left far from feeling out of pocket.
I couldn’t fault the service we received from start to finish with friendly and attentive servers all passionate about making sure everyone that steps through the door has the best experience possible. So whatever your occassion, you’re in safe hands at The Esslemont.
So there’s my review and if it has left you craving your brunch fix, you don’t have to wait long as its brunch menu is served daily from 11am to 2.30pm. Simply book your table through the website and you’re good to go.
Stay safe and eat well.