Aberdeen Inspired Nights is a new food, drink and cocktail festival in the city of Aberdeen! As a blogger, I was gifted two bands to enjoy the festival so myself and Jamie took advantage of lots of discounted food!
The festival ran for 9 days and included offers at restaurants and bars all over the city. Since I only moved to Aberdeen a couple of months ago there are lots of restaurants we haven’t had the chance to try. So this event was perfect for us!
To kick off the festival, a night festival was organised to showcase lots of different food vendors from around Scotland. We arrived a little early, eager to eat as much food as possible so went to find some local street art while the vendors set up and started their grills!
It was nice to visit a new part of the city, see the art and sit in the sun while we could smell the food being prepared. We already knew what we wanted to eat so get ready for lots of food snaps!
Night Food Market
We started out at the CuBao Box, a dumpling and Bao vendor which made the most amazing halloumi bao. We had to wait about 10 minutes for the food to be ready, but it was worth the wait! I tried the halloumi and Jamie had the pulled pork bao. Both were amazing (but I have to say mine was better!)
We decided to share a portion of vegetable dumplings too, which completely exceeded our expectations. Even though CuBao only had a small stall, they steamed and pan fried the gyoza to give them a really authentic taste! We were tempted to buy more, but knew we needed to save room to try other food.
After our gyoza, we grabbed a drink and tried not to feel too full! The Pizza Geeks had travelled from Edinburgh to serve up themed pizzas (e.g the ‘mario’ and ‘bravehart’ pizzas). Even though we really wanted to try, we knew that we couldn’t eat a full pizza between us. I had tried the Pizza Geeks before too at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival!
Right next to the pizzas, we couldn’t resist trying out a Melt grilled cheeses. We tried the classic toastie with homemade chilli jam to see just how good their cheese toasties were. The classic included two cheeses and a homemade cheese sauce combined with the optional chilli jam.
Unsurprisingly, we loved the grilled cheese sandwich! It was cut in half and ready for us to share, the chilli jam was the perfect addition too.
As you can see from the photos, we had a lovely day for the market. There were lots of other vendors from bbq foods to seafood, there was something for everyone. We felt so full from the dough and bread though! We just couldn’t try anything else! Although we did have room for a Brewdog beer in the sunshine before we left.
Yatai Izakaya Restaurant
We came back into the city a few days later to go to our favourite Japanese restaurant in Yatai Izakaya for a discounted dinner trip! We love this place because there’s a big menu to choose from, unique dishes and always great specials to try.
We started out with gyoza and edamame as we nearly always do at this type of restaurant!
As soon as the food is ready it is served, so we always had plenty of food at the table. We chose a sushi special which included flash seared halibut and salmon (it was so soft and fresh) and prawn tempura rolls too.
After sushi we tried another (unusual) special dish which was a pan friend pigeon dish! This one was Jamie’s choice and it definitely wasn’t my favourite. If you like duck and other meats which can be served rare, I think pigeon would actually be enjoyable. But sadly it just didn’t appeal to me! The meat was served with vegetables and flowers, it looked like a pretty dish even if it wasn’t to my taste.
Boozy Cow Bar/Restaurant
Once we’d finished out meal, we decided to head to the Boozy Cow next door. This is one of my favourite cocktail bars and the food is fab too. The Boozy Cow has bars/restaurants in Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen, this was my first time in Aberdeen but as a student I visited a few times in Edinburgh.
Since we had already eaten, we were just visiting for drinks. The Inspired nights wristbands meant that we were entitled to a special discounted cocktail which tasted like fruit salad sweets. We decided to get one of those and a ‘that dude ain’t russian’ coffee vodka and Malteser boozy shake. Both tasted amazing! If you get the chance I would recommend drinks at the Boozy Cow!
Angus and Ale
Our final food festival stop was on the final day of the festival at Angus and Ale. We had never visited before but were given 10% off our bill with the Inspired Nights wristband. Although it was only a small restaurant, the staff were lovely and there were only a few couples in the restaurant in time for a late lunch.
We weren’t sure what to expect from here because no one we know has been before. Thankfully our expectations were exceeded and portions were much larger than we had expected.
To start I chose Cullen Skink (if you don’t know that’s a traditional Scottish soup which includes haddock and potatoes), which was lovely. Jamie chose cauliflower wings which were deep fried pieces of cauliflower in a buffalo hot sauce. I couldn’t believe how good the wings were, I hadn’t expected to like them, but next time we visit we will share a portion to start!
Our starters were huge portions and we knew once we’d finished that we wouldn’t be able to finish our mains! I opted for a small sirloin steak, whilst Jamie had a monster burger called ‘The Big Jock’ which included a beef burger, piece of steak, onion rings, salad and a token gherkin on top!
As I said, there was no way we could finish all that food, we ate as much as possible before heading off to the cinema for the evening to watch Solo!
It was a shame that we couldn’t have spent more time at the food festival, but of course work and exams meant that we were away from Aberdeen for 2 of the 9 days! I think we did pretty well though and managed to try out plenty of food. I can’t choose my favourite, but I loved getting to try lots of different foods at the market!
Hope you enjoyed all of the food pics, think I need to go for a walk just looking at them all again!