One thing that I have already pointed out in the past, is that Aberdeen lacks venues offering outside seating. Those who have their own vague idea of Scotland would say there’s no point of having that anyway because of the weather; but, as I repeatedly reiterate whenever possible, the weather here is not that bad: yeah, you don’t get temperatures higher than 20ºC, but you do get plenty of sunshine (much more than I used to when living in England’s Lake District for sure). And this summer has been pretty good to us so far.
So much so that one mid-week afternoon I decided to opt for something more than a take-away sandwich from a supermarket for my lunch, and ran a quick brainstorm to figure out where I could eat on a (reasonable) budget and enjoy the glorious sunshine at the same time.
I thought of Cocoa Ooze with its dedicated outdoor seating on Belmont Street, and headed in that direction – only to find out that that outdoor seating was no more. Thankfully, I didn’t have to venture far to find the next best thing, as the Academy shopping centre, with its “food square”, was just next door.
Among less promising options – Wagamama and Nando’s – there’s the Rye & Soda: quaint, charming place, where I’ve already had a few get-togethers, albeit with mixed outcomes (last time, weekend dinner time, no one cared to take our order for about 20mins, so we moved elsewhere). The patio proved popular with diners, but I spotted a free table and located myself tactically exposing my face to the sun. No unnecessary waiting this time, I was promptly brought over the menu and a gin bottle full of water to start me off.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the breakfast options were available until 4pm so treated myself to smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, the whole lot for just £5. I ate it promptly, as the stomach was by that time grumbling, but also to make sure no pesky seagulls would dive down for my rye toast – this is no laughing matter, as a couple of other people around me ended up hiding indoors after they had chunk of their lunch snatched away by the horrible birds, circling over the square like vultures. Despite that looming threat, I decided to stay around a while longer, and ordered a mocha, having seen nicely presented coffees on the table next door. All great up until that point.
Yet, the arrival of the coffee was a disappointment. Served in a mug that looked a far cry from those coffees next door, with a wooden stick in place of a spoon, it seemed a bit of out of place in this rather stylish setting; its contents didn’t look very promising either, resembling more frothy cocoa rather than a smooth coffee, and I somewhat regretted ordering a mocha, instead of something more sophisticated.
The taste did not make up for the looks, with this bitter cocoa taste throughout that I can’t really pin down, whether it’s influenced by the type of chocolate used, or the steaming method, whatever that might have been. Other than that in terms of flavour, the caffeine-to-chocolate ratio was good and it was a good enough cup of coffee. But, I guess, it didn’t stand up to the quality of the whole event, certainly upped by the beautiful weather – and for £3.00 I would have expected something better anyway.
I will certainly make future trips to Rye & Soda‘s for a patio lunch, but this time I will take them up on the £5 Champagne Brunch offer, which would certainly round up a summer afternoon nicely…
Verdict justification: Lovely venue for food, but not the best for coffee.