Having spent our last two summer holidays in Italy we are all big fans of Italian cuisine. As such it was a no brainer to take up the offer to visit the recently refurbished ASK Italian in Aberdeen's Union Square Shopping centre. We went en famille for an early dinner on the Saturday before Christmas. Foodie Loon, Boy and Girl had spent the afternoon Piping, Drumming and Bag Packing in the local supermarket so were in dire need of sustenance. I suspect the shoppers and colleagues were in dire need of earplugs.
My absolute top tipple when on holiday in Italy is an Aperol Spritz. Delighted to see it on the menu as many Italian chain restaurants for some reason don't serve this typically Italian aperitif. Loved the chunky glass that it arrived in but would have like to have had it authentically served with an orange slice and green olive. The Alternato glasses were also used as wine glasses and were available to buy. We spotted two sets being sold during our visit. Secretly hoping that some were bought for me when I was at the loo.
The refurbished restaurant looked great and was also bedecked with stylish Christmas decorations. We particularly liked the utensil rails with foodie girl loving the rotary egg beaters. The atmosphere was buzzing and there never seemed to be an empty table. Service was fast, friendly, knowledgeable and unobtrusive. Time to peruse the menu and make our choices.
Antipasto, Arancini and Panzerottini were chosen form the standard menu and were all delicious. Girl discovered that her cheese doughballs were actually cheese and chilli, she should learn to read the menu better but she finished them regardless and promptly ordered a glass of milk to cool her mouth. I ordered Zuppa Di Aragosta from the Christmas Menu. It was fantastic. Lobster soup made with brandy and champagne. Totally up my street.
Pizza all round when we came to mains. Again I opted for a Christmas Special with a Prima Pizza Bianco Natale. I love a white based pizza and this one was festively adorned with Luganica sausage, mixed mushrooms, spinach, chestnuts, Fontal cheese and dollops of crème fraîche. A great combination of flavours. I'd have loved to have seen it Christmassed up a wee bit more with the addition of some cranberry sauce for a touch of sweetness. Girl aged 10 is at the difficult stage of being somewhat in between a Child's Menu and an Adult one. She perused both but opted to go large and made a very good attempt at finishing the whole of her Pizza Pollo e prosciutto. Strombolini with added Chillis and Calzone con carne piccante were our final two choices. All tasted great but not sure about the 'smiley face' salad presentation with the Calzone.
Iced glasses for all drinks was a fab touch. I'm not sure if my Peroni even touched the sides. Nothing beats an ice cold beer. I should point out that the pathetic pouring was mine not a member of restaurant staff! We were all pretty much stuffed after starters and mains so bar Girl who had Mango Sorbet we all skipped desert in favour of hot drinks. Cappuccino and a festive Hot Chocolate Orange.
The total bill for our meal came in at £105 for 4 starters, 4 mains, 2 alcoholic drinks, 6 soft drinks, 1 desert and 3 hot drinks. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and the whole ASK Italian #MakeItSpecial experience. It was a great opportunity to spend time as a family before the onslaught of Christmas week. As we were too full for desert I'll share with you one of my own Italian influenced festive pudding recipes.
Pannetone and Ginger Bread and Butter Pudding
Spiced Ginger Preserve
150ml single cream
50g Caster sugar
Freshly grated nutmeg
Slice the Panettone horizontally and spread bread generously with butter and spiced ginger preserve.
Cut each slice into quarters and lay upright in an ovenproof dish.
Whisk together the milk, cream, sugar and eggs and pour over bread.
Top with nutmeg.
Bake for 30-40 minutes at 180 degrees.
Ask Italian have provided a £50 voucher as a giveaway for readers of Foodie Quine so you can have your own #MakeItSpecial experience. Entry is via the Rafflecopter widget below.
To enter, let me know in a comment "What's your favourite Italian Dish?" For additional bonus entries you can follow me and Ask Italian on our social media accounts and tweet about the #MakeItSpecial Giveaway. Closing date is 05/01/15 Good Luck!
Disclosure - ASK Italian commissioned and compensated me for my time in creating this post. All views expressed are my own.