The tapas dishes you have to try on Cafe Andaluz's Aberdeen Restaurant Week menu – Press and Journal

There is something quite special about restaurants that can transport you to somewhere else across the world, especially when we’ve not really had the opportunity to flee abroad for some time.
The Granite City boasts a fair few eateries that fall into this category.
But one that does it better than any other in my eyes is Cafe Andaluz, situated on Bon Accord Street, just off of Union Street.
As soon as you enter the warm and inviting Spanish tapas restaurant, it evokes the feeling that you’ve escaped to Spain.
Although the rain could not have been falling heavier during my recent visit to check out the Aberdeen Restaurant Week (ARW) offering, it did just that.
My lunch partner and I simply avoided glancing out the window by our table and steered all attention to admiring the chain’s impressive interior, which includes trademark mosaic tiles, artworks, bay trees, lanterns and so on.
For those that have never visited Cafe Andaluz, Andalusian cuisine is on the menu – and there is plenty of it to choose from.
The restaurant was reasonably quiet. As soon as we arrived at our booth, the pair of us requested a glass of sangria to sip away at while we contemplated our orders.
Diners during ARW are being treated to a basket of bread, mixed olives and olive oil plus any three tapas and a dessert for £20 per person.
I didn’t quite know where we were planning on putting all that food, but we certainly weren’t complaining.
Decisions made, we put in our order and waited for the dishes to arrive, enjoying the atmosphere.
To kickstart the food line-up was a wicker basket of mixed bread. The dough smelled as though each one had been baked on the day, and not only looked delicious but tasted it, too.
Accompanied with olive oil and marinated Spanish olives, it was a struggle trying not to fill our stomachs up too quickly.
Just moments later we were met with a tray full of delicious-looking small plates. There were so many enticing aromas surrounding us that we didn’t know where to start.
Trying everything out one by one, the chorizo al vino – sliced Brindisa Parilla chorizo sautéed in red wine – was the first dish to be put to the test.
The sausage was ever so slightly salty and had a nice kick to it, as hoped. I paired it with forkfuls of our patatas bravas – fried cubed potatoes served with a spicy tomato sauce and topped with aioli.
The flavours married so well together. I was getting tanginess from the chorizo and sauce and creaminess from the aioli, as well as a tart garlic flavour.
The chewy yet soft and fluffy potatoes were baked perfectly and balanced out the other components, providing something light.
Moving swiftly on, I also ordered a plate of padron peppers. They were cooked right through and were soft with a smokey and salty aftertaste.
Another dish that was extra special was the butifarra negra – traditional thick cut grilled black pudding topped with homemade spiced apple and onion chutney.
The black pudding was of course the plate’s centrepiece, but in my opinion, it was the chutney that proved the star of the show. The gooey, soft onion chunks were coated in a rich, sweet, sauce. It certainly provided a punch of flavour.
The albondigas – spiced pork and beef meatballs – also offered a superb amount of richness from the tomato sauce they were coated in.
And last but certainly not least was the pollo rebozada con miel – marinated chicken fillets, crisp-fried in a light coriander batter and drizzled with honey and grain mustard dressing.
Crispy, the tender meat inside was packed with flavour, and the dressing brought a nice sweetness to the meaty dish. I’ll certainly be ordering it during my next visit.
The pair of us were full, to say the least. But when desserts are included in the price, it would be rude to turn them down, right?
We continued to sip away at our ice-cold sangria and, just like that, we had a homemade chocolate and pistachio brownie and a slice of raspberry cheesecake perched in front of us.
The brownie, served with honeycomb ice cream, was incredibly soft and overloaded with a rich chocolate flavour. Whole and crumbled pistachios added a slight crunch and contrasting texture to the mix.
As for the cheesecake, I couldn’t stop oohing and aahing every time I dove my spoon in.
It consisted of a crunchy biscuit base, topped with a dreamy, silky-smooth cheesecake mixture which was both light and decadent.
If that weren’t enough, the treat was also served with vanilla ice cream and white chocolate sauce – heaven on a plate.
Cafe Andaluz is a straight-up winner for me.
It offers fantastic value for money, not only during ARW but in general.
The food is filling and flavoursome, and you feel as though you’re soaking up a sunshine holiday every time you walk through those doors.
Price: £20 per person
Aberdeen Restaurant Week deal: A basket of bread, mixed olives and olive oil plus any three tapas and a dessert.
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