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itsu Aberdeen: What did we make of the food at the new chain in Union Square?

Asian-inspired fast food chain itsu opened in Aberdeen’s Union Square over the weekend to huge success.

Hundreds of people flocked to the premises and according to general manager Reece Booth, it was a record breaking opening for the brand.

I walked past on Saturday only to see the place be completely overwhelmed with customers. I was convinced Monday would be a little quieter for Andy and I’s visit, and how wrong I was.

It again was packed with hungry customers queuing to place their orders on the machines.

Inside itsu at Union Square in Aberdeen.

This 78-seater restaurant is itsu’s second premises in Scotland and their menu boasts a whopping 52 dishes.

Of those 52 dishes you can expect everything from sushi to dumplings, to bao buns, hot noodles and rice bowls.

The firm claims the majority of its dishes are less than 500 calories and under £7 so Andy and I have taken it upon ourselves to sample the fair to find out what the best (and potentially worst) dishes are.

Open seven days a week from 11am to 10pm we headed down on Monday lunchtime around 1.30pm to put itsu’s menu to the test.

The results

Did the dishes we pick live up to the hype? And which dishes did Andy and I agree to disagree on?

Famous coconut chicken

This dish was advertised as being served up in a tray. However, it ended up coming in a pot which meant it was a bit harder to tuck into.

The rice hasn’t really soaked up the watery curry and while Andy loved the taste, I would have preferred it to be thicker and less watery as I felt it slightly diluted the flavour punch I was looking for.

There was plenty vegetables in it and plenty of rice.

  • Julia: 3.5/5
  • Andy: 4/5
The famous coconut chicken.

Detox miso noodle soup

This miso soup came with extra vegetables, dumplings and tofu in it. The noodles were glass noodles, something Andy isn’t a fan of, and while it tasted of miso, it was again a little diluted for my liking.

I thought the glass noodles were well cooked and it has the savoury flavour you’d expect from miso.

  • Julia: 2.5/5
  • Andy: 3/5
Detox miso soup.

Hoisin duck bao buns

I like my buns filled to the brim and these ones just didn’t hit the mark with me. The taste of the hoisin was nice, but I felt it lacked duck and there was too much bun.

Andy on the other hand thought they were delicious.

  • Julia: 3/5
  • Andy: 4/5
Hoisin duck bao buns.

Spicy tuna dragon rolls

I was super impressed with the  sushi. I thought it was really good quality for being from a chain. We both thought the food was pretty fresh and flavoursome and Andy commented on the lovely colour of the tuna.

The crispy onions were a hit with me, and there was a lot of chives which I were a bit overkill.

All in all it was a solid sushi option.

  • Julia: 4/5
  • Andy: 4/5

    The sushi.

Korean spicy stir-fry noodles

These thick noodles were incredibly saucy and they should come with a warming as the “noodle spray”, as Andy calls it, can take you by surprise.

There was edamame beans, crispy onions and loads of sauce in this pot and it was a hefty portion, too.

A hearty dish that will keep you full for hours.

  • Julia: 4.5/5
  • Andy: 3/5
For lovers of noodles, why not try the Korean spicy stir-fry noodles.

Chicken and spring onion gyoza

Andy loves gyoza so he was sold as soon as he saw them. I wasn’t as convinced about them though, purely because they had started to sweat in the packaging because they were warm.

I struggled using the chopsticks while Andy was still tucking in and he really enjoyed the flavours of the gyoza.

  • Julia: 3/5
  • Andy: 4/5
The gyoza.

Chocolate mochi

Neither Andy or I had tried mochi (pronounced mowchee, not mochi like I said in the video) and so we were both intrigued about what it is and what it would taste like.

This chocolate version of a Japanese rice had chocolate ganache inside.

When we fist bit into it we didn’t know what was happening, but it wasn’t until the chocolate hit came that we “oohd” and “aahd” as we made our way through the dessert.

It was delicious and I certainly now understand why people rave about them so much. The product is made for itsu by dessert brand Little Moons.

  • Julia: 5/5
  • Andy: 4.5/5
Chocolate mochi.

The verdict

Overall we thought the majority of the dishes at itsu were worth trying out.

While some are a little more refined than others, it is clear that this is a great alternative to other fast food joints in the centre. There’s also a big selection of dishes with a variety of veggie options as well as meat-based ones, too.

You should note the venue only uses wooden cutlery for sit-in and takeaway orders so be aware of that if you are sitting in.

I would also ask for a plate to eat from if you are sharing as the dishes all come in their own containers which makes it harder to share.

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