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Restaurant review: Visit Borsalino in Peterculter for a true Italian dining experience

Some of the dishes from the restaurant.

Food is fuel. That is a saying I have seen online a lot recently.

Probably because it is January and every advertisement I see seems to be aimed at weight loss or dieting.

I’ve never really been into dieting, but when it comes to food being ‘just’ fuel, I’d have to disagree as I get a lot of pleasure from it. Be that cooking, eating out, or indulging in a home-cooked meal made lovingly by someone else.

That said, it most certainly was fuel after I’d marched up and around Bennachie near Inverurie a few Mondays ago with a friend.

Naturally, after a hike I was ravenous, as was my pal, so we got thinking about somewhere we could go for an early dinner. We were happy to travel for some good scran and when googling, Borsalino came up.

View of the exterior or Borsalino in Peterculter.

The homely Italian eatery is situated on North Deeside Road in Peterculter and was just a 40-minute drive from us. And as soon as I found out my friend hadn’t been, I knew we had to pay a visit.

We must have arrived just as the restaurant was opening around 4.30pm. Naturally, at this time, it wasn’t busy, but I was confident we’d get a good feed here.

The food

Our server was very polite and showed us to our table after confirming they had space for us.

He talked us through the menu options, took a drinks order, asked us to submit our details for test and trace and indicated that his colleague would be over to reveal the specials.

My mouth was salivating at the menu options. Everything sounded great and, although the pizzas were screaming at me, I was in the mood for something warming and hearty, and so decided on the risotto gamberoni.

Inside Borsalino.

My friend was craving pasta so she opted for the polpette, although many of the meat dishes on the back of the menu did jump out at her too.

The polpette was the best of both worlds – steak mince and pancetta meatballs served with spaghetti. I was jealous of her choice, but hoped the seafood dish would be just as scrumptious.

We were hungry, so starters were a must. The mozzarella fritta was a definite – deep-fried breaded mozzarella, served with an authentic Italian tomato Napoletana
sauce, what more could anyone want?

The mozzarella fritta was a hit with the diners.

The calamari also sounded tempting so we decided against bruschetta in this instance.
When our drinks arrived we placed our order to get things rolling.

Unexpectedly, we also received a complimentary bread basket which was to be enjoyed with the olive and balsamic oils on the table.

The bread was warm when served and there was plenty of it. We easily had four slices each, soaking as much of the oils up with the bread as we could.

Our starters didn’t take long to arrive and we’d decided to share so we could try both.

I started with the calamari which I must say wasn’t quite to my taste. The calamari itself was sadly overcooked and very chewy. There were eight rings of it and although it was fried, there was no real flavour to it. The mayonnaise and chilli sauce it was served with didn’t have much of a kick to it either, so I turned to the mozzarella in the hope it would be more favourable.

The calamari.

It was. My friend commented on how gooey and stringy the mozzarella was and the batter-to-cheese ratio being perfect. The cheese oozed out with every bite we took of the slab and the tomato sauce was lovely and tangy. A little touch of salt on the mozzarella fritta itself, which was on a bed of microgreens, rounded it off beautifully.

We were certain the mains would claw back from the disappointment of the calamari and they most certainly did.

While we now realised we certainly didn’t need it, we had also ordered a side of garlic bread which was some of the best I have tried. It was filled with flavour, with a crunchy crust, while the bread was deliciously soft in the middle. There were three pieces, so we halved the last, and it made for the perfect accompaniment to scoop up some of our sauce and risotto.

My friend’s meatballs were to die for.

Polpette – steak mince and pancetta meatballs with spaghetti.

There were five succulent balls on the plate and the pancetta really made them sing.

The sauce was a Napoletana version and she covered it in Parmesan shavings until you almost couldn’t see the meatballs.

The pasta was cooked well, too, and she spun it around her fork to bring every element all together.

My risotto was fantastic. Served with chunks of fragrant and flavoursome Italian sausage, the garlic and chilli crept through and the king prawns were incredibly juicy.

Peppery rocket sat on top of the dish which was covered in a light dusting of Parmesan cheese. Lightly tossed in the tomato sauce, I could have eaten this dish over and over again.

Risotto gamberoni was a hit.

We were craving something sweet, so instead of filling ourselves up, we asked if we could take the remainder of our main meals home to be able to comfortably enjoy our dessert. Our wish was granted and not 15 minutes later we were tucking into a sticky toffee pudding and tiramisu.

The tiramisu was an absolute showstopper.

The tiramisu.

The Savoiardi biscuits were soaked in coffee and then layered with a whipped mixture of egg yolks and mascarpone cheese.

It was light and fluffy and oh-so delicious. Covered in cocoa powder, it was the lashings of dark chocolate sauce drizzled throughout which made this the best tiramisu I have had.

We both “oohed” and “aahed” as we tucked in to the indulgent yet fluffy and light dish.

Sticky toffee pudding was one of the desserts.

The STP was also very enjoyable with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on the side and was soaked in butterscotch sauce.

While it was moreish, it was no match for the Italian staple.

Two hours and 15 minutes later we left the now very busy restaurant after hunting down a staff member to settle the bill. The venue was alive with the buzz of people and we left happy as Larry with our leftovers in hand.

The verdict

While the calamari may not have hit the mark, every other dish that left the kitchen at Borsalino was of the highest quality and cooked to perfection.

The restaurant itself is long, with hues of greens and whites, plus wooden finishings, all emulating the rolling countryside in Italy. It is clearly very popular with locals and others alike with the number of people descending on it. Another friend who went recently said it was packed last Friday night when she was there.

The best thing about Borsalino is you don’t have to hop on a plane to get a taste of Italy, as the team at the restaurant bring its cuisine to the masses right here in the north-east.

My only tip: make sure you leave room for dessert because if there’s one thing I urge you to do while visiting, it is order that tiramisu.


Address: 337 North Deeside Road, Peterculter, Aberdeen AB14 0NA

T: 01224 732902

Price: £73

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