Advantages Fresh produce cooked well
Disadvantages Pricey, cold atmosphere, small portions
Cafe Montmartre is a restaurant in Aberdeen that has been around for some time. I have always heard good things about it but "French Food" is never something that came up as top of our to do list when choosing a restaurant. At any rate, a friend of ours was in town and had enjoyed it previously , so there we went one frosty Saturday eve.The atmosphere is slightly peculiar when you walk in. The tables are set in a very "fine dining" manner, the place wan't terribly crowded either which always leads to more self consciousness when there are half a dozen staff staring you up and down as you walk through the door. There is an attempt in the decor to recreate an "authentic" French restaurant - i.e. wood beams and other accents. It vaguely reminded me of a restaurant in the Latin Quarter, without the warmth unfortunately. I don't know if it was the high ceilings, the slight starkness of the rest of the decor, or the stiffness of the service, it just felt a slightly mismatched amalgamation of style.
However these things can be overlooked if I am properly fed. The menu was relatively small, with a half dozen or so options for each course there should be something to suit everyone who isn't terribly fussy/a vegetarian (I speak as a former veggie). There were a few nods to traditional French cuisine - escargots, steak tartare, etc, but the dishes seemed largely cooked in a more rustic, simple manner than the heavy sauces and such one might think of as "French".Getting the distinct impression that portions would not be generous, we all opted for starters. Myself and a friend opted for the mussels, my husband had the soup, and our other friend had a tart of some sort (ooh er). There was freshly baked crusty bread and nicely softened butter, deliciously simple but surprisingly hard to find in our dining experiences where we live. All were satisfied, the mussels were a generous portion and perfectly cooked, served in their steaming pot. This always reminds me of New England which I love. They were steamed in a light pernod sauce that had an aniseed flavour however so might not be to everyone's taste (no allowances were mentioned in terms of this but we were both happy with the slightly unusual flavouring as it didn't overwhelm the mussels).
We had a bottle of red wine which was decent if no doubt overpriced.For the main my husband and I opted for the sea bass, our friends had the monkfish and chicken, respectively. The food was by and large cooked well and seasoned perfectly. The fish had a nice crispness but was still soft and fleshy. The fillet was definitely on the small side and for the price I did find this a bit stingy. It was served on a bed of "chargrilled mediterannean vegetables",which were a bit underwhelming as this consisted of peppers and some overworked scraps of courgette. No lovely aubergine or anything else exciting/imaginitive. I think there were approximately two small wedges of new potato. This was perplexing to me. If a dish isn't meant to come with potatoes, fine, I will order them on the side (although I do find this irksome).
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