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Restaurant review: Sunday roast at Maryculter House in Aberdeenshire hits the right spot

Maryculter House.
Maryculter House.

I make no secret of the fact that I dislike the winter months.

I’m not a particularly festive person, and I spend the season longing for summer evenings and kinder weather.

There is one thing about this time of year which I’m happy to keep however, and that is the food.

Comforting soup, slow cooker stews and stodgy puddings – delicious.

A Sunday roast is the pinnacle of cold-weather meals. It’s traditional, reassuring and is surely more enjoyable when it’s a tad chilly outside?

The restaurant scene has clearly caught on to the public’s love of a Sunday roast, with impressive offerings across the north-east.

There is almost too much choice, but Maryculter House stands out in a sea of gravy and roast potatoes.

Maryculter House.

Steeped in history and nestled in an idyllic spot just outside Aberdeen, Maryculter was almost made for the humble roast as opposed to more fancy offerings.

It was easy to book online, despite the fact that we rescheduled twice.

This meal was long-awaited, when myself and my partner finally headed out for some afternoon indulgence. Our toddler came along at the last minute, but we had it on good authority that Maryculter was family-friendly.

There’s numerous car parking options on-site, and we found a spot with ease.

Upon entering reception, we were unsure what to do next however. There was a queue of guests checking in for a wedding, which was already in full swing.

Luckily a member of staff happened to be walking past, and took us through to the dining room.

A cosy dining area awaits at Maryculter House.

We were allocated a table overlooking the courtyard. There was a pleasant hum of conversation, but the restaurant didn’t seem particularly busy.

We were presented with an impressive menu, and took our time choosing.

The food

The starter selection alone had our mouths watering, and I was sorely tempted by blue cheese mushrooms and toasted focaccia.

A seafood lover at heart, I selected Sutherlands smoked salmon, served with lemon and capers.

The salmon starter.

My partner decided on carrot and coriander soup, and our food arrived in a timely manner.

We were particularly appreciative of this with an impatient three-year-old to please. He enjoyed a more basic offering of an egg sandwich while we tucked into our starters.

There were no complaints, and staff were very accommodating.

The soup was a comforting treat.

One of the things I love about Maryculter is the fact that even if the ingredients aren’t local for each and every dish, you can be sure that it’s fresh.

The salmon was absolutely delicious, and a squeeze of lemon was the perfect finishing touch.

I finished long before my partner, who had high praise indeed for the soup.

Full of flavour, he finished the bowl with relish.

Call us easily pleased, but our favourite touch was the tiny loaves of bread which were served.

Miniature loaves, a lovely touch.

It made a real change from the average bread and butter offering, and the bread had a gorgeous spring to it, clearly fresh out the oven.

Next up and it was time for the main event.

I had selected half roast chicken, and it came as no surprise that my partner selected sirloin of beef, served rare and hailing from Charles McHardy of Stonehaven.

Knowing your food has been reared locally, and has therefore travelled minimal food miles, is becoming increasingly important to diners – ourselves included.

The Sunday roast.

Our son enjoyed ice cream during the main course. The poor waitress was back and forth to the kitchen three times for another helping, such is his love of ice cream and perhaps our desire to eat in peace.

Maryculter must be commended for their serving style, because you don’t get a plate groaning with food.

There is your main selection, such as the meat or vegetarian option, and the accompanying dishes are served separately.

This means you can help yourself to as much or as little as you want, which is genius in my opinion.

Roast vegetables served separately.

A fellow diner told us rather enthusiastically that the Yorkshire puddings were to die for, so there was a great deal of anticipation as the plates were set down before us.

There was just enough room for roast potatoes, mealie, roast vegetables and cauliflower cheese.

The chicken, which can so often be dry, was cooked beautifully. The best cut of meat had clearly been selected, and it was seasoned to perfection.

And the famous Yorkshire pudding? Oh my. I could happily have eaten half a dozen had common sense not suggested that wouldn’t be such a great idea.

The half roast chicken did not disappoint.

Just the right side of crispy, there must be some kind of secret formula at play.

I am not overly fond of cauliflower cheese, but on this occasion, yum.

I also had a generous helping of the roast vegetables, which were unbelievably tasty.

My partner considers himself an expert in beef, if expert is based on the fact that it is always his go-to dish.

Beautiful roast beef, cooked rare and served with delicious sides.

He had praise of the highest order, and described the meat as melt in the mouth.

There was no question mark over whether this was cooked rare or medium rare, and my partner got exactly what he requested.

He cleared the plate, which is impressive considering the fact that he returned for third helpings of cauliflower cheese. We enjoyed our mains a little too much, because we had absolutely no room for dessert.

I consider this to be an outrage, as options included chocolate and rum gateau.

Sat in a food coma, we did find ourselves growing a little chilly.

We were seated directly under a window and opted to put our coats back on before it was time to leave.

Maryculter is ultimately a period building however, and the temperature didn’t spoil our meal by any means.

We sat with empty plates for quite some time, and were also left waiting when we requested the bill.

There is no denying that the staff were working exceptionally hard, but their attentions were taken up with the wedding in the function suite.

Organisation seemed a little chaotic at times, but staff were ultimately polite and friendly. The wait also highlighted the fact that there was no hurry to rush off.

Maryculter House offers an escape from every day life.

I think many of us have forgotten one of the simple joys of Sunday roast. The fact that it is a leisurely meal to be enjoyed with loved ones, as opposed to a blink and you’ll miss it occasion.

We both agreed that we’d like to make more of an occasion of it in the future, and book a night away so we could both enjoy an alcoholic tipple – minus the toddler.

Maryculter inspires such spontaneous plans, because it offers a slither of luxury without appearing pretentious.

We paid the bill and felt that it was excellent value for money, at £25 per person for two courses.

We will most certainly be back for a weekend away, not least because we have chosen Maryculter as our own wedding venue.

Is it acceptable to have Yorkshire pudding as opposed to a wedding cake? I’ll certainly be asking the question.


Address: Maryculter House, South Deeside Road, Maryculter, Aberdeen

T: 01224 732124


Price: Two courses per person for £25, plus soft drinks cost and children’s menu. £63 in total.


  • Food: 5/5
  • Service: 4/5
  • Surroundings: 4/5

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