Writing this review at the tail-end of last year, it was so good to have the theatres open.
Gosh we had missed live shows, the smell of the greasepaint, the roar of the crowd. We are very lucky in Aberdeen to have such beautiful theatres and a plethora of entertainment from musicals to rock bands, ballet to plays. That was until the latest closure of venues.
However, after Covid cancellations and delays, the West End hit Everybody’s Talking About Jamie was finally in town and the crowds were back.
In the months that passed I had listened to the soundtrack so many times I could easily recite every word of every song.
No trip to the theatre is complete without dinner and drinks, and we chose Molly’s Bistro within the Douglas Hotel on Market Street.
Market Street isn’t the most salubrious street in town but it is only a short walk to the theatre and we had heard good things about the food there.
The place was fairly busy when my friend and I arrived early on a Friday evening, perhaps a few had the same plans as us. The room was very bright, a little too bright, but halfway through the meal they did dim the lights.
The dining room is on split levels which makes it a bit more private than one large room, with smaller cosier sections. It has a very modern, fresh feel with pale wooden floors and tables and sleek red comfortable chairs.
There is a bar in one corner and a spectacular hanging floral display from the large skylight in the centre of the room.
We were shown to a table at the back which had some lovely black and white images of shipyards and mining from days gone by, which is not surprising giving the restaurant’s locality just a stone’s throw from the harbour.
We received a very friendly welcome from the staff and this continued throughout our visit. They obviously have a number of regular customers as they seemed to greet a number of fellow diners like old friends. As they left to get our drinks we perused the menus.
The menu isn’t huge but even then a quick choice was near impossible. I would have loved to try the Cullen skink but I knew I would struggle to eat that and a main course, so we chose to share the calamari and courgette tempura.
For mains, I plumped for the chicken fajitas and my friend chose the haddock and chips. Other main dishes consisted of curry of the day, pasta dishes, beef stew, honey chilli chicken and steaks and burgers from “the grill” section.
For the non-meat-eaters there were also some interesting dishes including risotto primavera or Molly’s homemade veggie burger.
The starter was served on a triangular black slate with the tempura elegantly stacked beside a wedge of lime and a ramekin of garlic mayonnaise. The batter on the calamari and the courgette was perfectly light and crispy and was an ideal starter to share.
A short wait and plenty chat with my friend and my fajitas arrived. I was a bit disappointed that the dish didn’t have any sizzle as promised on the menu but the portion was huge and served with all the “trimmings” – warm tortillas, grated cheese, salsa and guacamole.
The juicy chicken, onions and peppers were smothered in Mexican spices and I have to admit these were some of the most flavoursome fajitas I have ever had. The dish had a real smoky flavour and even though I couldn’t manage to eat all the tortillas, I demolished all the delicious chicken and vegetables from the hot plate.
Across the table the haddock was going down well, fresh and flaky fish inside a crunchy beer batter. A cute basket filled with fries; peas, tartar sauce and a slice of lemon completed the dish.
Always the one with the sweet tooth, I requested the dessert menu. Featuring traditional dishes such as sticky toffee pudding, crumbles and cheesecakes, I opted for one of my favourites, a summer berry pavlova, while my friend ordered a coffee.
Back to the black serving slate, the meringue sat in the middle elegantly smothered in fresh cream, strawberries and a sprinkling of icing sugar. It was delicious and light, sweet and juicy just as it should be; the perfect end to our Friday feast!
Throughout our visit diners of all ages were coming and going quite regularly.
The hotel is situated very close to all of the shops and train station, so an ideal location to grab something to eat. It’s also only 10 minutes’ walk to the theatre and we enjoyed the walk trying to ease our full tummies.
On leaving, the friendly waitress inquired about the rest of our evening and we had a lovely chat about the theatre, a nice touch.
Molly’s Bistro offers a warm welcome in modern surroundings. The menu is full of classic family favourites using good quality fresh ingredients. An excellent retreat away from the bustle of the surrounding streets; I look forward to returning very soon.
Address: Molly’s Bistro, Douglas Hotel, 43/45 Market Street, Aberdeen AB11 5EL
T: 01224 582255
Price: £59 for one starter, two mains, one dessert, one glass of wine, one soft drink and one coffee
- Food: 4/5
- Service: 4.5
- Surroundings: 4/5