Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Kitchen Works

3-and-half1You’d think you’d have an ample choice of where to go for lunch or coffee, when working in the city centre; but, alas, Aberdeen is a curious place, and after some time you realise there’s only a few venues you’re keen to frequent – at which point any new arrival is a welcome distraction.

I’ve been aware of The Kitchen Works for quite some time (probably soon after its arrival last year), but looking from the outside in, it seemed like a tiny place – and whenever I walked past it (which was hardly a handfull of times), it seemed too busy for a quiet cuppa.

This time, however, I was finished with a meeting and wandering up Union Street at this funny time of “late enough after breakfast, but too early for lunch” – or, in other words: “a coffee would do just nicely”.

Even though the biting winter cold did not encourage long walks, I still decided to venture to the Works, to give my escapade a bit more purpose (coffee research, no less) – and was very surprised to learn that the venue was actually huge, extending far from the narrowish entrance.

Mocha at The Kitchen Works

Mocha at The Kitchen Works

It was also very clean and minimalistic, seeming a bit incomplete, but still harnessing a good dose of charm. The sandwich and cake selection was matchingly scarce, but at least there was hot soup in the pot; more importantly too, mocha appeared on the drinks menu which is all I was after. I made my order and took a seat on the bench by the wall on the right; at this time of day, there were plenty of tables to choose from anyway.

Some time after, the coffee arrived, delivered by the barista’s somewhat uncertain hand; the sight of it didn’t fill me with confidence either, as it resembled more of a cup of cocoa… and tasted like one too.

A bit too hot on arrival, at first I thought the coffee was on the mellow sweet side; but as the brew cooled down a bit, I figured it actually tasted more milky than chocolatey. It had a bit of a caffeine punch to it, but lacked a balance of flavours or smoothness of texture.

Despite that, it was still quite a pleasant drink, even though not the best mocha I’ve had; but if you’re after a bit of peace and quiet in the city – either to do some work on the laptop or to catch up with a friend – you certainly wouldn’t feel out of place or sorts at the Works. Definitely worth a try – who knows, this might turn out to be your new lunch destination of choice!

Mocha: £2.75

Verdict justification: Nice venue in the centre with good coffee – worth a visit

The Kitchen Works website

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The Bothy Braemar

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With the arrival of the new year came new resolutions – and one of mine was to take more time off at weekends, and explore further the beautiful Scottish countryside.

I’ve not ventured too far out so far, but at least I visited a new place – Braemar; very briefly too, as it was the closing part of my walk around the nearby residence of the Queen – Balmoral Castle.

And what a day to pick for a walk… from gale-force winds to snow storms, the trip was more challenging (and cold!) than expected, so a brew after all that was a must.

On my arrival to Braemar I spotted a few places worth visiting, but The Bothy definitely stood out – and seeing that I visited its sister in Ballater many-a-time, I thought it only right to see how the competition fared.

Mocha at The Bothy Braemar

Mocha at The Bothy Braemar

Following a path to a veranda with the entrance to the cafe – and passing the adjacent hiking and winter shop on the way – I gladly found shelter from the frost, as I instantly felt cosy in the spacious interior – featuring plenty of wood, a fireplace (sadly, already taken) and a back area overlooking the river underneath.

I felt no guilt when choosing my cake (caramel and pecan slice) to accompany my mocha, and once that was ready, I took my tray to one of the armchairs by the window at the front of the store.

Served in the same cups and saucers as the Ballater Bothy, the coffee looked very scrumptious – and tasted divine! I went for the option with an extra shot – something that was crossing my mind anyway as I was looking at the drinks menu, when the barista asked if I wanted it double. As such, it was strong and punchy, but also rich – and yet, not too sweet, striking the perfect balance of flavours. It was also very smooth throughout – I could hardly pull myself away from the cup, it was simply that good.

What’s even better, was that the cake did not spoil the coffee – nor did it make me feel bad, as I figured the huge dose of sugar was well deserved that day… and after all that, I truly felt I started the year on a high!

Mocha: £2.55 (+£0.40 for extra shot)

Verdict justification: Very welcoming place with fantastic coffee and great cakes – perfect for the weary traveller!

The Bothy Braemar Facebook page

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