To all those who say that British cuisine is boring and unoriginal, I implore you to go to Aberdeen Street Social. This place has always been a hit (read my previous review here), but its new a la carte menu was really quite something!
As we know, Aberdeen Street Social is part of the ever-expanding JIA Group (see Chachawan, 22 Ships, Mak Mak and Rhoda) and the menu is put together by world-renowned British chef Jason Atherton – a combination which is guaranteed to excite the taste buds. It’s the kind of place that’s perfect for a pre-dinner drink on the terrace, a filling post-workout brunch, a leisurely dinner, or just a cup of tea and a slice of cake. As well as the new a la carte menu, the restaurant has also added a new set lunch menu, meaning you can quite literally indulge in every meal of the day here!
Having been on the terrace the Friday before and drunk my fair share of PIMM’s, I decided to be terribly patriotic and opted this time for a God Save the Gin, a refreshing (if a little sweet) concoction of Beefeater 24, apple cinnamon syrup, lemon juice and homemade English breakfast soda, topped, of course, with a Union Jack flag! The husband went for a variation on a Piña Colada, in this case called a Mariachi Colada, complete with a colourful flashing cup to set the party mood, since there were no actual Mariachis present.
You’d expect to find crispy pork skin in a lot of British restaurants; here, however, we were given a plate of crispy cod skin, alongside a salmon roe dip. This may not be to everyone’s liking, but I was immediately hooked (pun intended), just as I was on the freshly baked (read: still warm) bread with homemade butter.
Our feast then continued with some raw Hokkaido scallops served with dashi jelly, apple, avocado, wasabi purée and shiso leaves. This was wonderfully light and refreshing, whilst the shiso added a welcome earthy hint.
I’m rarely impressed by a typical prawn cocktail. However, with sizable chunks of bouncy tiger prawns, lobster jelly, avocado and topped with crispy shallot rings, this tiger prawn cocktail was anything but typical and was certainly impressive.
I have a very soft spot for rillettes, so was naturally drawn to the crispy pork rillettes. Again, this was far from traditional, having been breaded and fried to a beautiful crisp, whilst the apple jelly, crispy bacon and green peas reminded us that this was British food we were eating, and very fine British food at that.
We were then presented with a ceramic pot in the shape of a chicken. The hen head lid was removed to reveal a 63° Cotswold egg with mashed potato, shaved truffle and a “mushroom crumb” that was quite simply splendid and incredibly comforting.
Moving on to main courses, the roasted sea bass was excellent, as were the accompanying scallops, but the clams didn’t really add much value and were so small they might as well have not been there. The confit fennel, however, added a lovely contrast and the fragrant bouillabaisse completed it.
My favourite of the mains, however, was the roasted lamb loin, served with hash browns, baby carrots, aubergine purée and, bizarrely, haggis sauce! The lamb was incredibly tender and satisfyingly gamey. Lamb and aubergine are always great partners, whilst the rich, salty sauce and the crispy yet buttery hash browns made this one hell of a dish.
We tried really hard to only choose one dessert…and yet somehow ended up with three! I rarely blow my own trumpet, but I do make a mean carrot cake, so I often like to compare mine to a restaurant’s version. As was to be expected, this was not your traditional carrot cake and it would be more appropriate to call it a carrot dessert than a cake. I’m not saying my carrot cake is better than Chef Chris Whitmore’s, but I have to say I prefer a carrot cake to be a carrot cake!
The black currant meringue wouldn’t have been my first choice on paper, and yet this was exceptional. It was kind of like an Eton Mess, but much better and I loved how we got to make our own mess by smashing the meringue to pieces!
Winner of the desserts was the chocolate and peanut bar with banana ice cream. This needs little explanation, as chocolate and peanuts a match made in heaven, whilst the crispy caramelised banana and sweet banana ice cream sealed the deal.
A filling three course meal will likely set you back around $700 a head, before drinks, whilst the set lunch is between $238 and $288. Aberdeen Street Social offers a unique and seriously tasty dining experience in a fun, laid back setting that, as I said before, suits almost any occasion. Definitely one to recommend.
Aberdeen Street Social
G/F, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street
Tel: +852 2866 0300