For my birthday meal I chose The Cock and Bull which is on the road from Peterhead to Aberdeen. It has a reputation for winning awards - Grampain Young Chef of the Year and Scottish Gastropub of the Year being their most recent - so my expectations were high. It's a place we've passed many times but never popped in, so my birthday seemed like the perfect occasion. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.
We were greeted on arrival by a friendly staff member, who invited us to take a seat in the cosy lounge area while we looked over the menu. From the outside the restaurant has a country cottage feel and inside is no different. It's decorated with what I can only describe as antique-looking "bits and bobs", with a rustic feel from the beams on the ceiling and black and white photographs that cover the walls. The one thing I couldn't fault from our experience is the staff - they were warm and welcoming and really gave us service with a smile.
When they were ready for us, we were guided through to the more modern restaurant and seated by the window. Our starters arrived quickly and I have to say I enjoyed mine. I had the King scallops with oven-roasted carrot and hazelnuts. Gordon had the pressed smoked ham and didn't think much of it.
A few people had warned us about the small portion sizes at the Cock and Bull but we didn't find this a problem at all. Our main courses arrived - Gordon had the steak but felt it had far too much fat and was not worth the (almost) £27 price tag! I went for the Aberdeen Angus burger. Now, I know burgers are not exactly a delicacy but, given the reputation of the restaurant, I was expecting much better than what I got. The burger was full of solid, fatty lumps as if it had been made with really cheap meat and I actually had to spit a few bits out cause it was that inedible... in public! I couldn't finish it. Personally I'd expect the Cock and Bull to use the best of the best ingredients and this didn't live up to that at all. Add to this the overwhelming heat in the restaurant (partly due to weather I'm sure) and the fact that I was already feeling bloated and uncomfortable when we arrived, I was not a happy bunny.
Usually I'd give them the chance to redeem themselves with dessert but by that point I was so unimpressed that we decided to give it a miss. All in all, it wasn't the worst experience of my life but I'm in no hurry to go back and wouldn't recommend it to anyone. If you fancy a real gourmet, special occasion meal in Aberdeenshire head to Eat on the Green instead!
Luckily, we had booked ourselves into the Soprano hotel in Aberdeen for the night so all was not lost! After checking in and freshening up we headed out to some of our favourite bars in town for a relaxed night of cocktails and banter. Cocoa was the first stop, where we sipped frozen strawberry belinis (so yummy and perfect to cool us down on a hot summer night!) and spent most of our time trying to avert our gaze from a drunken couple giving it some serious PDA!
H&M dress // Zara wedges // Primark necklace // "Chanel" bag
I wore a H&M geometric print wrap dress, as I was feeling brave enough to show off a little cleavage for the first time in ages. It actually ended up being the perfect choice as it hid my food baby while flattering my shape at the same time. Think I'll need to invest in a DvF beauty in the future! After Cocoa we took a short walk up to our latest haunt Ninety-Nine. You can read about our first visit here.