Restaurant review

Palm Court Hotel Aberdeen

I recently started watching Ricky Gervais’ After Life TV show on Netflix and it really got me thinking about life.

We all have these visions of what our lives will look like as we age, but it can throw many curve balls at us along the way that change the course of our path.

I guess it’s similar to what happened with everyone and the coronavirus pandemic.

Routines have changed, groups of friends have changed, and even our eating habits have changed.

My Boyfriend’s Grandmother is a great example of someone who would regularly go out for coffees and lunches with her friends, only to then be forced to stay indoors and shelter from those she loved the most, and who liked to go out and travel with it.

Now that we are approaching the second anniversary of the pandemic, my boyfriend and I have been trying to make sure we take her out more as her restaurant dining confidence returns.

Palm Court Hotel

She loves traditional Scottish dishes like stovies, hash and steak pies, so we thought we’d treat her for lunch and took her to the Palm Court Hotel in Aberdeen on Seafield Road.

I had reserved a table for the three of us in advance to ensure we had an easy-access table for her. On arrival we were shown to our seats and asked to check in to follow and trace.

We asked for a pillow for her to perch on, which our server didn’t mind at all, and looked at the menu.

The Palm Court Hotel.

We received our drinks order promptly, with soft drinks for my boyfriend and I, and a glass of house white wine for his grandmother.

It wasn’t crowded when we arrived so service started out great.

The soup of the day was cream of broccoli, which piqued her curiosity.

Drinks delivered, it took us about 20 minutes to get someone’s attention to order our food.

The food

It had been a while since we had taken her grandmother to Palm Court and she was enjoying the refreshing look of Bothy’s restaurant.

With wood tones, a stone wall at the back of the room, and purple hues throughout, she said the place felt “much more welcoming” than before.

Inside the room.

Our entrees were about 20 minutes extra with haggis, neeps and tatties, the soup of the day and the crispy ginger beer king prawn tempura all on the line.

My prawns were huge and there was a lot of food in them.

The light chilli and cilantro paste was perfectly cooked, but the mild chilli and tangy Teriyaki sauces to accompany didn’t seem to blend with the flavors so well in my opinion.

Prawn tempura.

Grandma slipped into her soup and didn’t come back for fresh air until she was done.

She gave a thumbs up and gobbled down the leftovers with the Bannock bread it was served with.

The starter version of the Burns Night favorite was also a hit, with a side of whiskey sauce pouring all over it. It was also a reasonable portion size and quite filling.

Starter version of haggis, neeps and tatties.

We waited quite a long time for our dishes to arrive once someone collected the empty plates.

I had ordered the Loch Fyne Mussels marinière (which also comes as a starter) for main course and it came with a side of chips. I thought it would be a lighter option after the fried starter I had, how wrong was I…

Most of the places I ordered mussels as a main presented maybe around 30 mussels at most I would say. I counted 63 mussels (all shapes and sizes may I add) in my dish which I had to recount as I didn’t really believe a serving could contain that many.

Fried mussels.

While they were lovely and served in a delicious creamy sauce, I just couldn’t stomach them all. I started to feel disoriented just looking at the half-empty bowl, not even knowing how much I had or hadn’t managed to consume.

My other half didn’t believe me so, stubbornly, I recounted them in front of the table. Everyone was in shock, no one more than me. At £15 it’s the best value for mussels you’ll find in Aberdeen I’d say!

He had opted for The Bothy burger which also came with crispy fries, although there was only one burger on his plate.

The Bothy burger.

Our catering companion ordered the chicken club sandwich which she was a bit disappointed with.

The chicken had been overcooked on the grill and was hard to bite into, let alone cut.

The rest of the sandwich was nice, although the egg was overcooked too.

She had also asked for brown bread, but it was served with white.

Not one to fuss (she’s from the war era where wasting was not an option) she politely informed our server while clearing the plate. She mentioned that she would ask her manager to apply a 10% discount accordingly.

The chicken club sandwich.

Full to the brim, neither of us could swallow another bite, although my boyfriend enjoyed a coffee while his grandmother finished the leftovers of her wine.

Two hours and 15 minutes later we waddled after having to hunt down another member of staff to pay.

While the service was good when we received it, there was a lack of attention and haste in the room.

Addressing the table behind me as they left, they had been waiting for an hour and had just served their entrees, only one of their party of six had ordered soup. I was afraid it would be a long afternoon for them.

However, they wouldn’t leave hungry as the portions were phenomenal value for money.

The verdict

The Palm Court menu offers a range of main courses, sandwiches, desserts and even offers a breakfast offer until midday on weekdays and 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Their cuisine is traditional with a slight twist, and there’s no denying that they try to have something to please everyone.

What I will say though is that their portion sizes are very large, and while I got what I paid for, I felt 60+ mussels in one portion was quite overkill and a bit wasted.

I guess the moral of the story is, when life throws curveballs at you (and a gazillion molds your way), make sure you have a finger bowl handy.


Address: 81 Seafield Road, Aberdeen AB15 7YX

P: 01224 310351

Price: £77.64

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[Palm Court Hotel in Aberdeen]


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