There is something so cathartic about listening to the sound of heavy rain from the comfort of a cosy room.
That is exactly how my partner Andy and I felt as we dried off from the torrential rain outside and relaxed in the warm and homely surroundings at the Garlogie Inn.
Come rain, hail, snow or shine, this Westhill institution has been whetting appetites with its hearty and wholesome home-cooked food for the past 38 years.
Wet, cold and hungry, we were more than ready to discover the Garlogie Inn’s recipe for success when we visited on a dreich and dark Saturday evening.
The Garlogie Inn
Located just a 20-minute drive from Aberdeen city centre – on the B9119 Aberdeen to Tarland Road – the family run bar and restaurant enjoys a scenic countryside location.
Although the wonderful views of the rolling fields were covered in a veil of darkness when we visited, there was plenty of rustic charm inside.
From the characterful bar at the front of the venue, our friendly server led us through an alcove style archway to the relaxed dining area at the back where heat from a fire created a cosy atmosphere.
Small and intimate with beautiful wooden ceiling beams and wildlife inspired artwork, we instantly relaxed as our lovely server took away our wet coats and took our drinks order – a ginger beer and lime for me and a pint of Innes and Gunn for the other half.
Ravenously devouring the menu with my eyes, the chilli beef nachos (£6.95) were the first thing that caught my attention as did the thyme infused baked camembert.
But after much deliberation, I settled on the Scottish scallops with black pudding, pancetta bacon and apple puree served with a cream and parsley sauce (£9.50) while Andy opted for the breaded bon bons filled with a mix of haggis and black pudding and served with a djon mustard and chive mayo (£6.50).
After leaving us just enough time to sip on our drinks and chew the fat of the day, our starters arrived.
Beautifully presented on a long boat style plate in a linear fashion were four plump scallops each topped with vibrant green watercress with artful dots of apple puree and cream and parsley sauce waiting to be mopped up on the side of the plate.
When ordering scallops, I’m always worried they might be overcooked and rubbery but I’m happy to report that the scallops in question were cooked to perfection with a soft and succulent texture.
Cutting through the slight sweet flavour of the scallops was the creamy parsley sauce while the apple puree brought a sharp freshness to the dish.
Opposite me, Andy was making short work of the blaggis bon bons prompting me to enter a plea bargain to save me one (for research purposes).
Crispy on the outside and moist and moreish on the inside with a distinctively salty and peppery haggis and black pudding filling, the bountiful bon bons were like little balls of joy.
My only complaint would be that there should be more of them – greedy I know.
During the break between our starters and mains, we indulged in some people watching.
Surreptitiously scanning the tables, it became instantly clear that the Garlogie Inn is a place that unites all generations with people of all ages making new memories, reminiscing and celebrating special occasions over great food and excellent service.
Leaving us just enough time to let our starters to go down, the friendly servers re-appeared with our piping hot mains.
My eyes just about popped out of my head when I saw the huge plate of food placed in front of me.
I had opted for chicken braigiewell (£16.50) which includes poached chicken with a mix of black pudding and haggis in a wild mushroom, onion, cream and malt whisky sauce served with hasselback potatoes.
Taking a forkful of the chicken, it was tender and juicy while the haggis and black pudding filling added the salty flavour.
Soft and fluffy on the inside and crisp and golden on the outside, the hasselback potatoes were a carbohydrate lover’s dream while the wild mushroom, onion, cream and malt whisky sauce took it to another level of deliciousness.
Also piled on the plate was a generous helping of tender stem broccoli and carrots.
Equally as impressed with the large portions, Andy carved his way through the grilled Scottish rib eye steak he had ordered (£25.05).
Perfectly pink and succulent, Andy was in his element as he dipped chunks of his steak in the creamy peppercorn sauce (£3.25).
The massive onion rings, chips, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms and brocolli were also quickly hoovered up.
Despite being unable to finish everything on my plate, I miraculously found space to share a dessert.
In the name of love – and the fact that my stomach was so full I could barely contemplate dessert – I delegated dessert duties to Andy who chose the strawberry and white chocolate cheesecake served with strawberry ice cream.
Now I have to confess that I’m not the biggest cheesecake fan but after one spoonful of this striking red and white striped dessert and I was converted.
Light and mousse like with chunks of white chocolate and a crunchy biscuit base, this cheesecake was a work of dessert art (£7.50).
And the strawberry ice-cream – wow.
Creamy with chunks of real strawberry, the ice-cream had all the hallmarks of being homemade.
After such a wonderful evening at the Garlogie Inn, I think I have discovered the secret recipe to its longevity: hearty homecooked food, excellent staff, a relaxed setting but most importantly community spirit.
The Garlogie Inn isn’t just a place where people go for good scran, it’s so much more than that, it’s a big part of the local community and a huge part of people’s lives.
In what continues to be a tough environment for the hospitality industry, places like the Garlogie Inn stand strong and proud because they really care about what they do.
And the longer we support these amazing local venues, the better.
Address: The Garlogie Inn, Garlogie, Westhill, AB32 6RX
T: 01224 743212
Price: £92.55 for two starters, two mains, a dessert, a beer, a large glass of red wine, an espresso and two ginger beer and limes.
- Food: 5/5
- Service: 5/5
- Surroundings: 4/5