Dine on fine food at home as Edinburgh's top chefs turn to the humble take-away - Liam Rudden

THERE was a time, back in the day, when as Evening News restaurant critic I’d find myself regularly dining in one of the Capital’s finest restaurants, scoring their fare.

Friday, 5th June 2020, 4:32 pm
Updated Friday, 5th June 2020, 5:52 pm
Dine Edinburgh do top cocktails to compliment their food

That weekly experience only came to an end when, having visibly piled on the weight over a year or so, the duties were shared out - far healthier, and remember, not all the venues we descended upon served culinary delights. Throughout that period, if anyone had told me that just a few years later any of these acclaimed establishments would ‘lower’ themselves to do take-aways, well, it would have just been unthinkable.

In fact, I doubt it had ever crossed the minds of the chefs that such a move could prove an additional revenue stream, let alone offer a vital business lifeline in the face of the ‘new normal’ forced upon us by Covid-19.

Whereas the choice of take-away was once restricted to fish and chips, a Chinese meal, curry, pizza or perhaps a kebab, today the choice is far more extensive and, far more refined. Eateries across the Capital are now offering their menus as ‘Dine at Home’ options, and one of the first to do this was the aptly named Dine, normally to be found feeding the city’s discerning diners in the ‘hidden gem’ that is their Cambridge Street premises above the Traverse Theatre.

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Dine decided to explore the take-away market when, being forced to close due to the lockdown, their income dried up. Many other local businesses face the same predicament but what makes Dine’s meals different, is the fact they’re prepared and cooked by Michelin starred chef Stuart Muir.

Now, although I love cooking, and have cooked more over the last few months than ever before, the lure of a proper ‘restaurant’ meal proved too much.

Choosing from an online menu every bit as appetising as their inhouse market one, I spotted a favourite starter, Confit duck. But it was the fish pie that really excited me, and rightly so - it proved to be the most amazing creation absolutely stuffed with tasty chunks of seafood in a creamy sauce topped with light fluffy potato. Delicious.

There’s an extra layer of satisfaction too from knowing that you cooked (well, reheated) it yourself - each course arrives fully cooked and individually packaged between 1pm and 4pm on the day it’s ordered for to ensure the food is fresh. Easy to follow reheating instructions are included too.

On that first occasion, I finished with a fine cheesecake and raspberry compote. Let’s be honest, this isn’t normal ‘take-away’ food, this is Stuart Muir at the top of his game, so much so, I decided to treat my self to another meal a week later. Again I wasn’t disappointed, the retro North Atlantic Prawn Cocktail was simply the best. The seafood risotto rich and creamy and the Apple and Rhubarb Crumble, comfort food at its finest.

A three course meal for one with a half bottle of wine and olives costs £24.50, a meal for two is £49.

Dine also delivers a selection of nine cocktails on Friday and Saturday evenings - a 300ml 3-serve cocktail mix is only £7.50.

Let me recommend the Old Fashioned. Tempted? Visit www.dineedinburgh.co.uk

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