Team Society has recently returned to its headquarters in Aberdeen, which can only mean one thing.
Lunch is back on the table, instead of a sorry looking sandwich with only the laptop and dog for company.
Based at Marischal Square, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to good eateries.
But the age-old question remains, where to go for lunch in the Granite City?
If I had a penny for every time I saw people asking for recommendations, both in person and on social media – well let’s just say that I’d be browsing personal jets instead of cursing the price of fuel for my humble Corsa.
Society lunch club
Here at Society, we love bringing you fresh ideas and trying out old favourites.
So once a month, we’ll be bringing you Society lunch club.
We’ll be visiting venues across Aberdeen so we can create a bank of tried and tested lunch spots.
You can expect to read about all things lunch once a month, and we’re always game to try out places which may not be as well known.
I was joined for my first lunch soiree by fellow Society writer, Rosemary Lowne, and head of food and drink at DCT Media, Julia Bryce.
Julia is a veteran of the food and drink scene here in the north-east, and our friendship goes back the best part of six years.
There’s something pretty lovely about having lunch with your colleagues, after so much time spent apart.
We headed to the Parx Cafe on Rubislaw Terrace, easily accessible thanks to plenty of parking and a stone’s throw from Union Street.
It’s been an age since I last visited, and I’ve only ever dined in for breakfast – which I can 100% recommend.
While there is no take-away menu on the website beyond the heat at home brunch options, Julia was confident that the majority of dishes can in fact be boxed up.
Having navigated the Covid safe one-way system, we took our time umming and ahhing over the artsy chalkboard menu.
The specials, served between 12pm-three pm immediately caught the eye, with several vegan options alongside an enticing mix called kimcheezy.
The explanation? Straight to the point: kimchi and “loads of cheese.”
If the specials don’t float your boat, the lunch menu boasts an impressive array of options.
Toasties, poke bowls, Wark Farm pies, toasties and plenty of sandwiches.
Julia settled on chicken gyros, priced at 900p, or £9 to you and me.
But what do you get for those 900 pennies? A rather good feed as it turns out.
Grilled gyro chicken, chargrilled halloumi, mint tzatziki, spinach, fresh tomato salsa, and toasted pine nuts – all served on a warm flatbread.
Rosie opted for the sriracha fried chicken toastie, also on the specials board, and priced at £7.50.
Sriracha fried chicken firecracker pork, roasted red pepper, cheese, spinach and katsu sauce.
Both dishes had side options, fries or salad. Dedicated to carbs, both Rosie and Julia settled on fries, because how can you not?
I had one dish in my sights, having only heard good reports. Step forward the all day burrito, coming in at £8.
Smoked streaky bacon, cheese, chilli scrambled eggs, hash browns, charred spring onions and chipotle mayo in a toasted wrap, finished off with the house mojito sauce.
After placing our order, we took a wee seat and surveyed the artsy interior.
Parx is effortlessly trendy without appearing to try too hard, and the majority of people clearly had the same idea as us in dropping by for take-away lunch.
Our order was impressively quick, and we eagerly returned to the office with our loot.
Each dish was packaged in a cardboard box. Although easy to recycle, I would argue that it doesn’t really keep your food hot.
So only get takeaway if you work close by, or you may dig into a semi-cold dish.
That being said, we found each dish to be well presented, and the food decanted onto a plate without falling apart.
Julia’s chicken was cooked to perfection, and the halloumi achieved similar praise.
“Not squeaky” was classed as a top compliment, and the toasted pine nuts added further texture.
The tzatziki was creamy and light, and the salsa made everything that bit more juicy as a result.
Freshly made, Julia loved the taste, and the chopped tomatoes mixed with red and yellow peppers added a splash of colour.
As for the flatbread? Beautifully soft and squidgy as the dish progressed, doing the ultimate job of soaking up the sauce.
Only a few scraps remained, and Rosie also cleared her plate.
She was very impressed with the portion size, and the flavours worked perfectly together.
The bread was beautifully thick and fresh, and the chicken was incredibly tender.
The pork had a wee bit of sweetness and offered a nice bit of variation.
A hearty lunchtime feed, leaving traditional meal deals in the shade.
We requested fries with both dishes, but were served potato wedges. They were tasty with crispy skin to boot, but I would argue that wedges and fries are two very different things.
One thick, the other thin, so worth considering if you have your heart set on fries.
And now for the final star of the show, that burrito.
Packed full of all things delicious, it was love at first bite.
Huge fan of that crunchy spring onion, and the creamy scrambled egg, yum.
Eyes greedier than my stomach, I really struggled to finish my portion.
I also found it quite stodgy, and would definitely order something a bit lighter next time. We all agreed that a half portion would work better, and I’d have quite liked to see sausage or chorizo in the mix.
It’s perhaps better suited to the kind of lunch you require after a night out, as opposed to a Tuesday afternoon at work.
Overall we loved our lunch though, and the simple act of actually pausing to eat good food and catch up with each other was a real mood booster.
Coming in at £31.50 which included soft drinks, we also felt we got good value for money.
Stay tuned, and let us know where you think Team Society should head for lunch next?