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Archive for January, 2012

This is a rather belated review of Fusion Bar and Bistro in Aberdeen where we had the tasting menu in December. We’ve been there in 2010 with friends and had a wonderful meal – very imaginative dishes – and so were keen to go back.

Fusion. Tasting menu

The tasting manu had the usual structure – an amuse bouche, 2 starters, a fish and meat course then 2 desserts.

The amuse bouche was essentially a carrot soup – OK but frankly not very exciting. The first starter, was more interesting – polenta with mushroom. The second starter was also very competently executed – but again, ham hock terrine is not really very imaginative.

Both the fish and meat courses were excellent. My favourite dish was the sea bass and the fillet steak was juicy and tasty.

 

Tarragon polenta cake

Ham hock terrine

Sea bass

Sea bass with mussel bouillabaisse

Fillet steak

Red fruit sorbet

Toffee apple pannacotta

The pre-dessert was a simple sorbet, followed by a toffee apple panacotta. Both were nice but neither had the ‘wow’ factor. Panna cotta, to be honest, is now a bit of a cliche.

Oatcakes and cheese

My daughter decided that she would like to try the cheese – and she was disappointed. Considering how many excellent cheese there are from the North-east of Scotland, this was an unimaginative selection.

Writing this more than a month after our meal, it is indicative of the meal that it is hard to remember much about it.

The meal was enjoyable, the service was excellent. The restaurant wasn’t busy but the overall atmosphere was good. Apart from the cheese, which was dull, everything was competently cooked. Yet – compared to our outstanding experience the previous year, the meal was unimaginative.  Talking to the sommelier (who was very knowledgable), we discovered that there had been a change of chef and this is undoubtedly the reason for the change.

Tasting menus are expensive – this was about £50/head and you expect something rather different. We really didn’t get it here and I can’t recommend it as an experience.

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Farmers’ Markets

I like shopping in farmers’ markets. Not because the food is necessarily cheaper or better (sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t) but because it is food shopping on a human scale. The choice is rarely overwhelming and people are willing to take time to talk.

Colin from Bridgefoot Organic Farm

The stall holders know what they are selling and can tell you about their food; customers in the queue often chat to each other.  Last week we talked about why there was no yoghurt available (problem with the yoghurt maker) and chatted while waiting for vegetables about beetroot tart tatin (which we will be trying soon). Have you ever seen strangers in a supermarket check-out queue talking to each other?

We went to the market in Banchory last week-end – cheese from Devenick Dairy, pork pies from Wark Farm, organic vegetables from Bridgefoot Farm and venison from Mortlach Game. I really like the compactness of the Banchory market and prefer these smaller markets to big ones like Edinburgh.

Pork pies from Wark Farm

The folk who tried the Fife Diet decided to live for a year on local food – that’s a bit too challenging for us but I like the idea of buying and eating food that hasn’t travelled far and, in these difficult economic times, keeping money in the local economy. I wish more local farmers got involved with them.

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