Tackling the challenges of fine dining in lockdown, Angels with Bagpipes has proved itself a godsend. While us Social Bitches worry about what to wear, its takeaway counterpart – Angels Wings – will deliver three fabulous courses, vino, and even a few cheeky cocktails directly to your door. Cue a rousing burst of the Hallelujah Chorus!
Unlike many of our fellow foodies, we’re actually a bit shite when it comes to cooking just about anything. So when people ask what we like to make for dinner, we take a sip of champagne, roll our eyes ever so slightly, and simply say: Reservations!
Granted, we set an exceptional table, dress impeccably, and give wonderful front-of-house, thank you for noticing. But the truth is our tastefully decorated kitchen, with its fabulous views, is mostly just a place to briefly store wine.
When trying to make anything more complicated than a toasted bagel with a dab of raspberry conserve, we can’t help but compare the disappointment that ensues with the great work of Edinburgh’s many outstanding chefs.
So, you might ask, how did we fare when Angels’ executive chef Fraser Smith dropped off a package lovingly tied with a bow, and containing everything we needed to create our own fine dining experience at home?
The short answer is: surprisingly well!!
Looking to slowly build our confidence, the first step – according to the instruction sheet – is to pop the jars of cocktail mix into the freezer for ten minutes. Then pour into a martini glass, and drink, drink, drink. Oh my god, even we can’t mess that up!
So, after 11 minutes of prep, we’re both enjoying a Strawberry Kiss. Exceedingly alcoholic, hooray, the first sip feels like the rush of a rollercoaster. But not only is the taste rather wonderful, it seems to give us both a much-needed burst of: You can do this!
Our mission it to complete three lavish courses. Fortunately most of the the hard work has already been done. In fact, neither the starter or dessert require any cooking at all. Then, when it comes to plating, it’s as simple – apparently – as following Chef Fraser’s step by step YouTube video.
So without further ado, we pop on our aprons, pour a little fizz, and prepare to tackle the starter – Smoked haddock mousse with nut granola & lemon mayonnaise.
Using a spatula, we carefully position the mousse on to the plate, and artfully sprinkle the granola. Then, in what seems like the bit where disaster might strike, we’re asked by Fraser to carefully pipe generous dots of lemon mayonnaise at regular intervals.
Instantly we both panic, and look for comfort in a second glass of champagne. But it turns out the piping bag, with the mayo contained within, has already been prepared for us. Boom! All we need to do is cut off the tip, then squeeze, regular interval, squeeze.
My god, this is almost as easy as drinking the cocktails. What’s more, with the right camera angle and a few cheeky filters, it looks almost as good as Fraser’s.
As for the taste, which we can take no credit for, it’s absolutely gorgeous. Refreshing and inventive, it boasts surprising contrasts in texture and flavour. The mousse is delicate in consistency, but bold on the palette. The pleasing crunch of the granola, with just a hint of sweetness, and the addictive tang of the lemon mayo – magic!
Suddenly feeling as if we’ve been underselling ourselves, we return to the kitchen full of gusto. But glancing at the main dish’s impressive description – Confit duck leg with smoked garlic mash, caramelised chicory & cherry jus – we freeze for a split second.
But a quick glance at our instruction sheet, and seriously, this couldn’t be easier. Everything – the duck, the mash, the chicory – is good to go, and only requires 30 minutes in the oven. Heat up the jus in a saucepan, let Fraser talk you through the plating, and that’s it!
The results, even in our hands, are incredible. In fact, we’re genuinely perplexed as to how something so aesthetically pleasing, and so delicious could emerge from our oven!
The duck is beautifully tender, juicy, and just falls from the bone. The mash is superb, soft, creamy and bursting with garlic. Meanwhile the chicory gives an exciting and nutty contrast to the dish. It looks great, tastes even better.
We’ve also taken a stab at preparing – and thus eating – the vegetarian main as well: Malt baked Celeriac with smoked garlic mash potato, and a mushroom & leek ragout. Again, the results are restaurant-and-Social-Bitches-quality, it’s delicious.
More champagne to celebrate? Yes we think so! For now, these budding, and perhaps slightly merry, sous-chefs are about to whip up dessert – Earl Grey panna cotta, with apricot gel & ginger crumb.
Employing the culinary techniques we learned so far, it’s once again a case of artful sprinkling, then squeeze, regular interval, squeeze thanks to piping bag number two.
Moments later we’re loving the flavours, thinking how amazing this will look on Instagram, and deciding both the apricot gel and ginger crumb can be added to our list of favourite things in life.
It’s been a brilliant, funny, and confidence-building night. Not only have we enjoyed fine dining in our own home, we’ve also had a hand in creating it.
Though just to make sure we’re okay with the trauma of having to use our own kitchen, Fraser’s also included a little cheese and a few handmade chocolates to end on.
Yes chef! Thank you chef!
Reviewed June 2020
Each week there’s a new three-course meal that can either be delivered or picked up from Angels with Bagpipes.
343 High Street
Delivery postcodes: EH1 – EH27 and EH31 – EH42
£25pp / Cocktails £5 / Wine from £10 a bottle
07588 836 383