Restaurant Review: Hickory at Home, Edinburgh

The Hickory meal on delivery.The Hickory meal on delivery.
The Hickory meal on delivery.
Covid has somewhat killed the traditional date night formula, so this time, rather than dressing up in the glad rags and hitting the town, I was still finishing up bits and bobs of work while my partner, Ian, watching telly as we awaited the doorbell with our Hickory dinner.

I have, however, been able to follow the classic Mackie family trick of not eating anything for ages before having fancy food so you can make the most of it and I can almost hear my mum’s voice as she would barricade the fridge, her hungry children glaring at her while prowling like hyenas.

Posh grub was not readily indulged in by my family growing up, as no matter how well we were able to behave at home, when in public, my siblings and I always seemed to make a spectacle of ourselves, leading to one memorably humiliating exchange with my parents desperately apologising to a furious woman mopping gravy off her shoulder, unaware it had trickled all the way down the back of her dress.

But I digress.

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The assembly instructions.The assembly instructions.
The assembly instructions.

We ordered our Hickory meal on a stormy day and wild winds, rains and snows were still battering the windows into the late afternoon as our sturdy and heroic driver battled through the elements to feed us.

We had no idea really what to expect, and whatever came closest, that wasn’t what happened.

Ian came through from answering the door wide eyed and clutching a huge box filled with a large variety of tubs, bags and bottles.

After gazing at the box and at each other with bemused looks on our face, it became apparent that some of this would require home assembly.

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This may have been obvious to many, but this was definitely our first rodeo with home taster menus.

The main course was prepped and bagged, ready to be put in a pot of boiling water, and the bread, arancini and vegetables popped into a hastily preheated oven.

A DIY element was certainly unexpected, but turned out to be fun, like we were putting a puzzle together.

It only took a few minutes to create the starter, and probably wouldn’t have taken that if we hadn’t enthusiastically tucked into the wine first.

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A fresh, light and zesty mozzarella salad with heritage beets and preserved lemon was the opening fare, coupled with the nicest, freshest bread – a Hickory Wholemeal focaccia – I may ever have the pleasure of eating.

The mushroom arancini, those beautiful Italian rice balls, with truffled parmesan aoili and Fennel Seed Crackers were also sensational and packed with flavour, and, billed as a ‘snack’ to go with the starter, we definitely began this meal on a high.

The main course wasn’t quite the heady delights that the starter presented, particularly as Ian, while attempting to pick the Osso Bucco (veal) out of the pot, split the bag and the contents slipped neatly out.

Fortunately, perhaps anticipating this problem, Ian had taken the water out first, so we weren’t actually left with a chaotic, watery mess.

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This didn’t stop me letting out a shriek and reaching for the bottle – a 2019 Argentinian Trapiche Melodias Malbec – as we watched the bag tear in slow motion.

The presentation wasn’t quite what it could have been given the high tension that had briefly consumed the kitchen, but the meat was tender and plentiful, if not completely flavoursome.

It was coupled with a saffron barley risotto, that had thankfully remained in the bag until serving,

I enjoyed the risotto and cobnut gremolata that accompanied the Osso Bucco, it was thick and full of flavour and the crumbled anster cheese it was paired with added just the right tang.

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Ian was less keen due to his aversion to barley, so we made some messy swaps, me passing him some of my veal and him launching his risotto onto my plate alongside the liberal helping of Garlic roasted courgettes, Grilled broccoli, EVO and aged balsamic sides.

This, it should go without saying, is something we would never consider doing were we seated in a candlelit and intimate restaurant, and maybe that was my favourite thing about my Hickory experience.

There was something pleasing about eating a taster menu without the usual constraints of fancy restaurant.

A whisky tiramisu completely the dinner, sweet and smooth and thankfully light after a weighty main.

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Again, we could saver the luxury of crashing on the sofa with pudding and putting on a terrible Christmas movie on Channel Five, a joy that we would not (I expect) be offered if we were out and about. Which I think sums our experience up.

Sure, the main didn’t quite measure up taste wise to the promise of the starter, and the prep that we were required to do was a surprise, but sitting at our own kitchen table, we were still able to savour that something special that comes with a good food experience.


Hickory at Home, Hickory, 23 Stafford Street, Edinburgh, EH3 7BJ

0131 287 0530

The Total

£66 for two including wine (£33 set menu, minimum two people)

The Verdict

Food – 7/10

Ambience – 8/10

Total – 15/20

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