We’ve all had average tasting street food at some point in our lives – whether it’s from a food stall at a music festival or that kebab shop en route home from a night out.
But there’s something special about those few places that can elevate classic dishes into something bold and new.
The Pig’s Wings in Upperkirkgate, Aberdeen looks to do just that.
The business has been in the city for almost four years and has established a solid takeaway trade for its street food style dishes featuring flavours from South America to the Mediterranean.
But it’s only been since last year that The Pig’s Wings has renovated its upstairs floor space into a cosy and quirky restaurant.
There’s further plans for a bar area downstairs as the venue’s owners look to make the spot an Aberdeen city centre hub.
Despite working literally two seconds away from the restaurant and having heard positive comments about its food, I’d still never set foot inside The Pig’s Wings before.
So, two friends and I decided we’d nip down for a midweek meal to find out what all the fuss is about.
Stepping inside The Pig’s Wings doors is like walking into a bustling food spot by a hot, sunny beach.
Colour is etched across the venue’s walls. Vibrant murals welcome guests into the lively space and its open kitchen allows for a quick glance at the magic going on behind the scenes.
Songs from Jimi Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac and The Doors played throughout our visit and being a keen music fan, these were big plus points for me.
After being greeted with a very warm welcome by our server, the three of us made our way upstairs into the restaurant area.
Given its relatively small size, the space could easily feel dingy and cramped. But its layout makes for a cosy feel and it’s matched with decor and lights equally as bright as downstairs.
The venue’s food and drink options were plentiful but not overbearing, with gluten-free and vegan alternatives available on the majority of dishes.
We decided on a mix of mains and sides to please all tastes and waited an ample amount of time for the food to arrive hot and fresh.
After spotting a social media post mentioning that the Filthy Burger (£10.50) was the venue’s most popular item, I thought I’d give it a go.
The prime chuck steak burger was to die for. From the first bite, the quality of the meat was recognisable – there was no excess oil or grease in sight.
The crunch from the accompanying lettuce, sweetness from the caramelised onions and strawberry and chilli jam plus the saltiness from the smoked bacon all brought together by the soft brioche style bun… chef’s kiss.
But also up there for maximum flavour praise was the side order of crispy jalapenos (£4.50). For what was essentially deep-fried slices of jalapeno chilli, they tasted divine.
There was plenty of them to share between three people and if someone doesn’t think about setting up a street food stall selling just these, I think I might myself.
We also ordered the American Banger (£9.50) as a main. The cheesy style bratwurst sausage was enjoyable, but its added elements – the tangy ketchup, crispy onions and classic American style mustard – made the dish stand out.
The third main came in the form of one of The Pig’s Wings’ newest specials – the big mac and cheese wrap (£10.95).
As well as housing indulgently creamy macaroni cheese, the venue’s signature homemade burger, smoked bacon, tangy ketchup, French mustard, dill pickles and crispy onions were all somehow crammed inside a tortilla wrap.
All my friend could comment at first was “hmmm….” before finally finding the words to say that the burger alone was the best that they’d ever tasted. This was definitely a winner.
Buttermilk chicken strips (£6.95) and an extra side of mac (£6.95) made up our other two side orders.
The chicken was perfectly cooked and tender, coming with a lightly spiced coating and its accompanying strawberry and chilli jam brought a nice fruity sweetness.
The side of mac, topped with a few crunchy spring onions, was generously portioned and tasty but a touch overpriced being one of the more expensive side orders on the menu.
With the quality of the food being at such a high standard, there were no bloated bellies after finishing our food and the portion sizes felt just right.
I’ll be sure to try out the churros as a pudding to finish off when I visit next time.
Having only moved to Aberdeen six months ago, this was easily one of the best meals I’ve had since I’ve been here.
The venue is perfect for a visit over a beer with friends, for couples and for families too, with our Monday night visit fairly busy among all these demographics.
We were made to feel welcome from the second we walked in the door and the service was timely and slick throughout.
Our total bill for three drinks, sides and mains came to £63.25, working out at roughly £21 a head for the meal which, for me, was worth the money.
It may be popular for deliveries, but I feel the standard of the food here and overall experience in the restaurant is worth coming out to enjoy.
Looking for top quality street food in Aberdeen? The Pig’s Wings is where it’s at.
Cost: £63.25 for three mains, sides and drinks.
Address: 22 Upperkirkgate, Aberdeen AB10 1BA
P: 01224 633777