Last weekend, while it was rainy and there was nothing interesting on the agenda, we decided to go out on a little lunch date at one of my favourite restaurants in Aberdeen, Howies on Chapel Street. It’s very rare that we get any time to properly organise a lunch date these days. Between trips to Edinburgh, mornings spent working/evenings spent dog walking, and my inability to take the plunge to book a table somewhere for the weekend, we don’t often get chance to! We’d not been to Howies Restaurant in ages- last time we were here was for my friend’s birthday party celebrations in November. I remember we had the most delicious wine and vegetarian haggis, and it was safe to say we all left the restaurant with big smiles on our faces, a bunch of happy customers. It felt good to be back, Howies has a very relaxing atmosphere with strong Scottish heritage decor that makes you feel instantly welcome. There are tartan covered chair seats, Highland Cow paintings and whisky barrel lids on the walls, and a dark wood upright piano next to the bar, proudly being the centrepiece of the main space.
Scottish, fresh, locally-sourced are the top three words that come to my mind when reading the menu at Howies. It is designed to serve everyone’s tastes and needs – aside from the classic meat dishes, there are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options too, and the Chef is more than happy to accommodate you if you have any special requests. For the Aberdeen Restaurant Week (4-10th February), they offer a 2-course menu for £10 including some of their best selling dishes like cullen skins, and this is what my boyfriend went for his starter on this occasion, whereas I ordered the butternut squash falafel.
There’s just nothing that beats a fresh, hearty bowl of Cullen skink. A classic, local speciality of the north east of Scotland, this is a must-try if you ever visit Howies! After some yumming and wowing over the delicious bowl, I tried my falafel. It had the most desirable, smooth texture and provided delicious mouthfuls with the herby tabbouleh salad and hummus. The tabbouleh salad consisted of very finely chopped coriander and red onions, and had a delightful lemon sauce that reminded me a lot of food you can only taste in a Mediterranean country. The combination of dry falafel bites and green, lemon drizzled mouthfuls was just amazing. So amazing that I ate it all!
For mains, we ordered two all-time favourites; the chargrilled chicken breast (for me) and crisped pork shoulder & black pudding (for him).
The chicken breast came sliced in half – nicely done inside and as crispy as it should be outside – with roast Mayan Gold potatoes, creamed leeks and parsnip. This was my first time trying the Mayan Gold potatoes variety and I have to admit I was very pleasantly surprised, so that I asked the waitress who is their local supplier hoping that maybe I could get their contact to supply my wee kitchen too. They have a beautiful golden colour inside and a red/brown skin. Very moreish and perfect when roasted!
The pork shoulder & black pudding dish was nicely presented with sautéed potatoes, cabbage and apple sauce. The pork shoulder & black pudding came in the form of a big croquette; layers upon layers of black pudding and pork where covered in fine, crispy breadcrumbs. The meat was soft and was easily shredded and pulled apart with the fork and it made a mouth-watering combination with the black pudding and the sauce.
I’d heard tell online that Howies do the best cheesecake in time, so despite our full stomachs, I insisted we share a slice. The black cherry cheesecake was drizzled with a pleasing Amarena cherry syrup that reminded me of a cherry dessert my grandma used to make when I was a child. Funny to think how flavours and smells can bring back childhood memories and transfer us back to that very first moment we had a taste of the said flavour. This cheesecake briefly took me back to my grandma’s garden where as children we would pick up cherries from her garden cherry trees and help her make, later on, jams and cherry pies. I cannot really put my finger on what was so special about this cheesecake, but it most certainly lived up to it’s fame and I can safely say that Howies indeed do the best cheesecakes in town! And as if my statement wasn’t strong enough, my boyfriend said ‘this is the best cheesecake I’ve ever had in my life‘ once he tried it. For someone who is a big cheesecake lover like himself and who has visited The Cheesecake Factory in California, this is an big statement to say the least!
I feel as though I should be booking a table for Howies already for next weekend. Anyone fancy joining me?
Howies is open Monday to Saturday (closed on Sundays) and they serve lunch between 12.00pm – 2.30pm and dinner between 5.30pm – 9.30pm. As it is a well known place with loads of happy customers, a reservation is strongly advised. There is an online reservation system on their website but if you prefer to do it the traditional way, call 01224 639500. Enjoy!
*This is a paid partnerships and our meal was complimentary but all opinions expressed and images used are mine. Thank you for supporting the businesses that make Natbee’s happen!