Social media. I have a love/hate relationship with it, but no matter how I feel, there’s one thing I cannot deny; social media can be a powerful and effective way to market a business.
Take The Tartan Pig – it’s nailed the use of social media. Since opening in September last year, the eatery has shared countless mouthwatering pictures of tasty dishes and unbelievable cakes. The coffee house has really caught the attention of Aberdeen foodies, enticing them through the doors. So, I figured it was time to try the place out for myself one Saturday afternoon and my wee niece joined me.
The Tartan Pig, on Hollybank Place, was exactly as I’d pictured it; cosy, quirky and busy. My niece and I grabbed a seat at one of the few free tables and within seconds a friendly young waiter – who said it was his first day – greeted us, gave us a menu and took our drinks order.
As we browsed the menu, I took the time to glance around the room and take it all in. With green cladding on the walls, bright and colourful chalk board menus and fairy lights draped from the roof, it was a relaxed setting. The tables were wooden and rustic and the grey leather covered chairs had a retro vibe. A variety of artwork was for sale and hung on the walls which were wallpapered grey, complementing the jade green wooden cladding.
And well-behaved pooches were obviously welcome as one or two were slouched on the floor – probably hoping their owner would drop a crumb or two.
There were a few different options to choose from for lunch but my niece was excited by the idea of trying out a bubble waffle – something she’d never heard of. Torn between sweet or savoury, she decided to top the waffle with tomato and avocado in the end.
It didn’t take long before our waiter was serving it up and my niece’s eyes lit up when she saw the golden brown mysterious bubble waffle which was exactly as it sounded, a waffle which had bubbled.
After one bite, she confirmed it tasted as good as it looked and offered me a nibble. Of course, I obliged. Light and fluffy, the waffle tasted very sweet and was perfectly cooked. The tomatoes were bursting with more sweet flavour but all the sweetness was balanced out by the creaminess of the ripe avocado.
Meanwhile, I was tucking into my own dish. I had decided to go for a chicken, red onion and avocado panini. I absolutely love avocado – it brings back memories of watching Star Trek with my dad as a young girl while we both ate avocados like yoghurts! But aside from making me think of childhood memories, I quite simply love the taste of the on-trend fruit. However I’d never imagined eating it in a hot panini. Nevertheless, I gave it a shot and I wasn’t disappointed.
The juicy chicken chunks fell apart in my mouth and tasted great with the creamy avocado. The red onion added a bit of a tang to the mix but I had to pluck a few onions out because they were a touch too overpowering for my liking. The bread itself was golden, thick, fresh and crusty – not the usual pale, thin panini I’m used to seeing.
The panini was accompanied by a side salad which I felt let the meal down a little. It wasn’t the end of the world by any means, but presentation is just as important as taste in my opinion and the salad was pretty basic. Some iceberg lettuce leaves sat in a pile with a few pieces of sliced cucumber and the cherry tomatoes were whole and hadn’t been sliced. Plus it was lacking a dressing – a touch of balsamic wouldn’t have gone amiss.
After munching down our mains, I told my niece we should treat ourselves to something sweet. I recommended she tried the Creme Egg hot chocolate which I’d spied on The Tartan Pig’s Instagram. And while she ordered that, I opted for a Kinder egg brownie and a rhubarb and ginger tea.
Just as I thought our order was done, my niece asked the waiter to bring her a strawberry brownie too, which was teasing her in the fridge across from our table. I laughed as I told her that her eyes were maybe too big for her belly – she hadn’t seen the Creme Egg hot chocolate which was coming her way!
When the impressive Cadbury creation arrived, she declared I was right. The sweet chocolate was spilling over the top of the mug, dripping all down the sides which made for a sticky drink. But the beaming smile on my niece’s face said it all after the first sip. “Wow, that’s delicious,” she said. As well as tasting great, it was quite a sight too.
Unsurprisingly, the strawberry brownie was too much for my niece to polish off but she gave it a good go. After sitting in the fridge, it was a little bit hard and it was a touch sickly – but I think she’d just consumed too much hot chocolate which was a dessert in itself.
Initially, the ginger punched my tongue when I sipped on my tea, which arrived in a clear mug. But then the sweet, soothing rhubarb burst through and it didn’t take me long to drink it up. The brownie I’d ordered came with a piece of Kinder Bueno on top which I quickly picked off and devoured. Like my niece, I found the brownie was a bit hard but it was simply because it had been kept fresh in the fridge. It didn’t matter though because it was absolutely delicious. Rich with chocolate, I ate the whole thing.
Feeling full, I made my way to the till to pay and my Tartan Pig experience ended with some friendly chit-chat with who I assumed was the owner.
The Tartan Pig is a real gem and a fantastic addition to Aberdeen’s food and drink scene. The food is good and a perfect place to grab lunch or even just a cake and a cuppa. Aberdeen needed a place like The Tartan Pig.
It’s still early days for the city eatery, so I’m really keen to see how it develops its offering over time. But with a strong social media presence, I’ve no doubt it will keep reeling customers in for a bite.