A colleague was coming up to Aberdeen from Dundee and suggested some food and cocktails after work. Never one to miss an opportunity for an evening out, I suggested a fairly new bar in town, The Spiritualist.
I had been lucky enough to attend its opening night where it had served the tastiest canapes and cocktails, so I vowed to return and check it out properly.
Just off Union Street, on Langstane Place, you are greeted by the bar’s quaint outside area which is covered with a large canopy, and outdoor heaters that actually do blast out heat. Inside, the bar really looks striking. At the opening night it was really busy so I didn’t get the chance to appreciate how impressive the décor is.
The colour palette of pale greens, copper and greys, white marble tables and contrasting wooden floors is eye-catching and modern, while the hanging greenery mixed with glass and globe lighting over the bar makes for a real focal point. There is a good mix of seating areas, including cosy booths and bar stools as well as an opulent private dining room upstairs if you wish to host a special party.
We were greeted by a very friendly young waiter who immediately sat us at our table and offered us water while we perused the menu. I said to my friend that The Spiritualist do “proper” cocktails, none of those sickly sweet, ready-made concoctions you get in some bars.
The innovative drinks menu is vast and split into various sections: the classics, twists, tipples and tonics, gin flights and much, much more. It also serves plenty beers and ciders on draught and in bottles, including Scottish craft beer Cold Town.
A neighbouring table had ordered an “ice sphere”, which is a cocktail within a globe of ice that you have to crack open to reveal your drink, and I also spotted on the menu The Disco Diva – a mix of Bacardi rum, chambord raspberry liqueur, cranberry juice, orange juice topped with prosecco and served in a spectacular disco ball – another time perhaps!
Sunday to Wednesday they offer various cocktails for just £4.50 so it’s good value for money. And we just loved our Hollaback Girls – a fruity, frothy, pink number topped with a retro Love Heart sweetie and our Supertinis, a twist on the notorious pornstar martini which were elegantly presented in frozen glasses.
The first thing I noticed about the food menu was the “Keeping it Local” section, which lists all the local suppliers of meat, fish, vegetables, bakery and dairy; great to see. The menu is split into various segments offering sharing boards, small plates, chunky salad bowls, more traditional mains and burgers and hanging grills – more about these later.
Not everyone wants to eat at set times, so I love the flexibility of The Spritualist menu. If you just want to share some nibbles with friends or mix and match starters with a few drinks after work, then that is absolutely fine; they even do a Sunday brunch which is popular with families.
We decided to share a couple of the small plates and plumped for the Angus steak and mealie chipolatas and the chicken, chorizo and cheddar croquettes. Both starters were presented on rectangular black slates on a bed of green leaves.
The sausages were really meaty and earthy and the accompanying grain mustard and cider mayo was a great sauce for dipping them in. However, it was the croquettes that brought the biggest “oohs” and “aaahs” as they tasted simply superb. Crispy on the outside and oozing with chicken, chorizo and melted cheese, and drizzled with a smoked tomato sauce, we considered cancelling our main courses and just ordering more of them.
We didn’t have long to wait before our cheery waiter appeared again with our show-stopping main courses. I actually felt other diners turning round and having a sneaky peek. We had both ordered hanging grills, something I have only ever encountered abroad.
The grill is like a tripod with skewered meet hanging down, a small open bowl on the top and a plate balanced on the bottom. The menu states they are cooked on searing-hot synergy chargrill, resulting in succulent and juicy skewers.
I chose the king prawn and chorizo which comes with a sweet chill and ginger sauce that you then pour into the bowl at the top and it dribbles down the side of your chosen meat – it’s gimmicky but it is fun and it tasted fabulous.
You can order a side of your choice and I devoured my skinny fries with Parmesan, although I felt the whole dish was a bit lukewarm. My friend had chosen the garlic butter chicken hanging grill with a chicken and cider gravy. The skewer was packed with moist chicken and the chicken and cider gravy rich and warming, although she would have liked to have tasted the garlic more. For vegetarians there’s a tempting halloumi, pepper, courgette and mushroom version, and there are also steak or lamb options.
After demolishing our grills, we sat back and relaxed, finishing off our delicious cocktails and catching up with all the latest gossip. Unfortunately we could not manage desserts, but the bread and butter pudding with orange marmalade caught my eye, while a sharing chocolate fondue with marshmallows, fruit and cookies sounded divine.
The Spiritualist is a fabulous new addition to the Aberdeen scene and certainly the cool place to be seen at weekends. If you enjoy tasty food in an uber-stylish atmosphere, this is the place to try; and don’t forget to order those croquettes!
67 Langstane Place
- t: 01224 587717
- w: www.thespiritualistaberdeen.co.uk