Day’s cares past
It has been a long long time between visits but finally I gave in to the siren song of the promised welcome. It wasn’t so much the quirky message on the blackboard as the stylish chairs in the corner window. Or maybe it was the outdoor bar with its corporate suits manning up around the fire, though it was possibly it was because it was there and so was I. Feeling a little weary and needing food and wine. Or wine, then food.
From its exterior Aikmans seems to be mostly bar. But once inside the restaurant unfolds into a large wide room with booths and tables on different levels. There is another bar but it keeps its distance. It is busy but we are told when our reservation is checked that ‘‘this is nothing to what it was like earlier this year’’.
Seems things have quietened down in the suburbs since more bars and restaurants have opened up in the central city.
The menu is small but well formed. There had been a suggestion online that pub meals were the go at Aikmans but the dishes listed suggest more finesse than food ‘‘to soak up the booze’’.
I like the look of the breakfast menu and if the ‘‘snacks’’ list is the aforementioned pub meals, great.
The American companion was hanging out for a steak, so with only one choice listed the decision was easy. An odd menu description though; eye fillet on the bone is not possible. Queried, the wait person informed us the bone was added afterwards. And actually it isn’t fillet steak tonight. It’s sirloin. On the bone.
As it turned out the steak came to the table sans bone but beautifully cooked so why confuse people with adding bones? The dish was a winner, with a square of potato dauphonais, a rich and delicious jus, mushrooms and asparagus.
The whitebait fritter is another success, but it is more of an omelette size which explains the price, and I love the sides of white bread triangles. Whitebait and white bread are grand companions.
A Caesar salad was a new take on the classic, incorporating smoked chicken and bacon to the nicely runny egg and crispy ciabatta slices. No fishy anchovies to be seen - or tasted in the dressing and far too much finely grated parmesan. But let me interrupt myself here and do a bit of a rave about the service. Swift, sure (apart from the added-bone nonsense) and pleasant.
The suggestion that we might really like tonight’s creme brulee was adopted and sure enough - it deserved a top mark. Creamy with a subtle orange flavour, a very good, very correct topping , a chocolate biscotti and a serving large enough for two (probably not intended) sent us on our way well fed with weariness dispelled and the cares of the day forgotten.