When it comes to doing things a little differently, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd when launching a new business.

But Faffless on Netherkirkgate in the city center has done just that.

The coffee shop meets wine and whiskey bar opened in September last year and its main selling point isn’t just the fact that you can order a variety of drinks, but that you can also purchase all of the art in the venue.

Working with artists from across Scotland, expect to see plenty of it at Faffless and Craig Thom, the owner, is also partial to creating and selling some of his own, too.

When I saw the venue was participating in Aberdeen Restaurant Week I figured it was the perfect opportunity to sample some of the food and drink, and get an eyeful of the art for myself.

I’d arranged to visit with my friend Amy on Friday night. Faffless was offering either five plates from the menu or two with a charcuterie board.

When walking into the venue we were taken aback by a bright light being triggered as we stepped through the door. We would later find out that this indoor streetlight was one of the art installations on sale.

The crisp yet light rose.

There was a table at the front with our name on it so we took refuge from the bitter cold weather and settled down.

I was keen to try one of Craig’s recommended wines and he returned with a crisp yet light rose for me. My friend was driving so opted for the blood orange and elderflower tonic water.


The food

We’d decided to commit to the five plates, but took a while deciding which ones.

After asking for recommendations we ordered the squid salad, pear and prosciutto, orange and halloumi, sardine and rocket and asparagoza.

We were treated to a small bowl of olives while waiting for our food, which I thought was a nice touch.

The olives were a nice touch.

All of the dishes arrived at the same time and they were all served on a bed of bistro salad leaves.

We tucked into the orange and halloumi with carrot, honey mustard and pomegranate first. The halloumi, of which there was six pieces, was warm when served and the fresh orange segments were juicy and went really well with the cheese.

Halloumi and orange plate.

The asparagosis – asparagus, mackerel and chilli – was up next.

The fresh chilli was warming and the saltiness of the four pieces of meaty mackerel worked well against it. The asparagus was slightly al dente so had a nice crunch to it.

The asparagosis.

As for the pear and prosciutto, this dish was completely different. The light sweetness of the pear complemented the saltier salami with peppercorns which had taken the place of the prosciutto. There were three pieces of it, and sesame seeds were sprinkled all over it.

The venue filled up as the night went on and we continued to make our way through the dishes. Up next was the sardine and rocket plate with cucumber, onion and pomegranate.

Sardines with onion and cucumber.

There were three chunky pieces of the fish with the skin on, and they had been blow torched to make the skin a bit crispy. They weren’t too oily and had a little saltiness to them, but not too much that it was overpowering. The raw red onion was sharp and cut through the fish flavor as soon as it hit my tongue.

Last but not least and my favorite was the squid salad. Four squid tubes stuffed with a variety of ingredients including olives, tomatoes, walnuts, mint and more, it and the salad was tossed in a dressing.

The squid was soft and not chewy in any shape or form. My knife glided through it and because Amy isn’t a fan of it, I got to enjoy them all.

Filled squid.

After we had finished Craig gave us a tour of the basement which also boasted artwork for sale.

He told us about the artist in residence that was working on a project and gave us insight into what he hopes to do with the tasting room at the back of the venue.

His ambitions for the venue are big and it is great to see art, food and drink come together in a collective space that feels like it has community as its heart.


The verdict

I really enjoyed my visit to Faffless and I have already set a date to meet some colleagues there for after work drinks soon.

The venue is quirky with the likes of crocodile and eagle statues calling it home, and there’s some fun art throughout. While some of it is out of my price range, there are plenty of fantastic pieces that would look spectacular in someone’s home.

Craig mentioned that he hopes to advance the food offering when he can in the future, but with no real kitchen space, he has had to think creatively on what he can offer to go alongside his impressive drinks menu which features gin, vodka, rum, sake, whiskey, wine and more.

He also hosts tasting events at Faffless, which customers can purchase tickets for.

Advanced booking is recommended when visiting and those looking to take advantage of the ARW deal should quote “Aberdeen Restaurant Week”.


Information

Address: 47 Netherkirkgate, Aberdeen, AB10 1AU

T: 07501 402373

In: www.fafflesswhisky.com

Aberdeen Restaurant Week deal: Either five plates from the menu or two plates and a cheese and charcuterie board for two


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