Written by Colin Fraser
When asked the question “what’s new?” nine times out of ten, my reply will be “not much”. Ask me “what’s new in food”, then you’re bound to get a lengthy answer.
In my world, the best news is food news. While my dreams of being a groundbreaking food correspondent may be out of reach, I love nothing more than sharing news of the latest food developments in and around the city to anyone that will listen.
New eateries, refreshed menus, revamped facilities – I’m all ears. So this week, I’m bringing you a taste of a handful of new developments over the past few months.
Rosemount always holds a special place in my heart, it’s a town within a city full of community spirit and plenty of homegrown brands. The splendid shopping experience of Rosemount Market adds yet more vibrancy to the bustling district.
For fans of Schitt’s Creek, think of this place as a Rose Apothecary; filled with books, groceries, homely finishing touches and lifestyle products with masses of contemporary flair. Not forgetting its super handy refillery loaded with coffee beans, pulses, seeds, grains and the list goes on to keep that pantry in healthy stock.
Special shout out to its inspired stash of cruffins (the love child of a croissant and muffin) supplied by Sourcloud with recent flavours of apple and walnut and chocolatey brownie.
“Often typical ‘zero-waste’ stores are quite daunting whereas I hope we’ve got the balance of being firstly a great general store with a wide selection of both groceries and gifts which is also run as sustainably as possible.” says owner Hazel Lovie.
“It should just be the given nowadays that businesses run in an environmentally conscious way. I really wanted to offer a more sustainable way of shopping in terms of having unpackaged wholefoods, veg and bread and also focus on sourcing from local makers or small ethical brands who really take pride in their products but in a quieter way.”
Landing gracefully on Union Grove is Sugar Bird Wines, the newest entry to the city. My love of wine has grown over the years and although wine’s love for me needs some work, I’m ecstatic to see this new addition to the food scene joining the likes of Grape and Grain and Olive Alexanders.
Setting up shop in the old home of Cognito Deli, this charming wine bar offers lovers of the grape the chance to try and buy wine from all over the globe. From bold and dry to light and fruity, an eclectic mix of wines are selected using the expertise of owners Ruth and Alex to bring customers only the best from the wine rack. From running their seafood restaurant SeaBreeze Fish & Shell in Cape Town, plans to open a sister wine bar was always in mind for the future. Fast forward through lockdown and a few hurdles in the road, Alex and Ruth decided to shelve plans of opening SugarBird Wines in South Africa but instead open in Aberdeen – lucky us!
I reached out to Ruth to find out more and she shared: “We have a great knowledge of the wines of South Africa – their quality and the value for money they represent. We felt they would be appreciated in Aberdeen, so we decided to create a brand that gave a nod to South African wines. In addition, we have sourced equally interesting and quality wines from a variety of other old and new world wine areas.
“Our future plans include importing exclusively from South Africa including some exciting brands not represented in the UK yet, launch our online shop and wine club and provide a venue for corporate entertaining, wine tasting and pairing events.”
Its selection of cheese and charcuterie boards along with sumptuous nibbles, create the perfect serve alongside your wine order. Can we take a minute to appreciate how good the smoked salmon and cream cheese pâté sounds – pass me the bread!
Speaking of cheese and charcuterie, checking out the first official home of Wander & Graze is a must for those with a soft spot for an eye-pleasing grazing platter.
Building on its exuberant platter displays, the Wander & Graze team have grown its offering to open up Wandering Graze The Deli within The Boxes at Chapleton. On a Wander & Graze board you could expect a curated selection of handpicked quality products and the same goes in its deli with an extensive range of specially selected and locally sourced products.
Sweet treats from Cake You Happy, artisan bread from The Vegan Bay Baker, jam packed pies from Breer Pie and, of course, signature Wander & Graze pizzas – this is more than your average deli.
I love a cafe as much as the next guy, but show me a cafe with a neon sign and instagrammable interior and I’m anyones. Opening up in Westhill last week, The Hill Deli promises the best coffee, fluffy pancake stacks dripping with maple syrup, plenty of tray bakes and even puppuccinos, safe to say this will be a much welcomed addition to Westhill.
Soon the brand will make its mark on Orchard Street ready to add to the caffeine charged footprint of Old Aberdeen, joining the likes of Kilau, Grub, Foodstory Zero and Shelter Coffee.
When I ask people “what eatery do you wish was still present in Aberdeen” they’ll often say Melt. Oozing grilled cheese goodness from its flagship 70s inspired space on Holburn Street and then feeding demand with its extended deli and upstairs cheese fueled restaurant on Belmont Street – it was an experience much loved in the city.
Sadly closing its doors in early 2020, fans of the brand didn’t have to suffer for long as owner Mechelle shifted focus from cheese to baking and now feeds appetites at new cafe Trellis in Newburgh. Expect pastry wonders, chocolate buns, tarts and freshly made bread here.
The Melt signature brownies were heavenly and the sauce of its sticky toffee pudding served in its restaurant was something I’d happily bathe in – in other words, the bakery produced was awesome. And with a larger than life back catalogue of baking greatness, I know that Trellis will not disappoint!
Continually toyed by its regular Instagram updates, I hope there’s a loyalty scheme in place as I have a lengthy list of items to work my way through.
If you’re on the look out for a new local drinks brand to get stuck into, you’re in luck. Hard Seltzers seemed to be the drink of choice for many during the summer months and it was only time before local brand Twisted Sisters added to the ranks.
Since then the brand has started to stock many local bars and restaurants with its range of Coconut & Lime, Rhubarb & Ginger and Blueberry & Elderflower combinations.
I caught up with co-owner Stuart Macphee during series one of my podcast Dishin’ It to hear more about his sparkling brand. When asked about what it’s been like starting up his brand, he shared: “There has always been some sort of niggle to do something.
“It’s really been born out of that no fear ethos and the ability to conduct almost everything over the internet. The normalisation of this style of communication has really emboldened our potential. We’re really excited to be finally taking our products to the market.”
If I catch the whiff of freshly brewed coffee, I’ll follow that scent like a sniffer dog on the money. Most recently, the smell of coffee has been coming from Cults with Box Car Coffee Yard. Adding a convenient pitstop for cyclists, walkers and runners taking on the Deeside Way, the Box Car Coffee Yard offers a fitting refuel station with (you guessed it) coffee, toasted cheese filled croissants, bagels, breakfast baps and a whole lot of bakes.
Now, there’s one thing I love more than a scone, and that’s a giant scone! With plenty of space for latherings of butter and jam, cravings of a scone fanatic will be merrily fed here. Alongside, expect the likes of signature tarts, cinnamon swirls and cookies galore.
So there’s my top picks of what’s new in the city food scene – with plenty happening, stay tuned for more articles just like this in the future.
To keep up with my food escapades, follow on Instagram, read the blog and listen to the Dishin’ It podcast.