Renowned for catering some of Edinburgh’s best parties, the award-winning Appetite has embarked upon an exciting new venture. Fine dining delivered directly to your door. An ever-changing menu which showcases utterly gorgeous flavours, and transforms dinner into an all-singing, all-dancing event.
Appetite first appeared on our radar when we gatecrashed their fifteenth birthday party. And thank goodness we did, what a fabulous night! Having transformed the George Street Assembly Rooms into an enchanted forest, every detail was exceptional.
Stunning food, obvs, endless fizz, and an exceedingly warm atmosphere made it easy to believe we’d actually been invited. Come the birthday speeches, we were even tempted to jump up on stage and say “Oh my god, we love you guys SO much!”
Thankfully, we held back the happy tears, and decided to devour yet another tray of delicious canapés instead. But suffice to say, Appetite had made a lasting impression.
A year or so later, we’re thrilled to join their latest cause for celebration, Appetite Delivers. Designed by their executive chef Iain Thomson – formerly of Cafe St Honore, Timberyard & Martin Wishart’s – each week there’s a brand new INSIDE or OUTSIDE hamper to choose from.
So, with a table we hope rises to Appetite’s incredibly high standards, we pop the accompanying bottle of chardonnay into the fridge. Then pour a little more champagne, and open our hamper.
The presentation is of course stunning!
A simple white box with a gloss finish, and emblazoned with just one word: appetite. Carefully we lift the lid, revealing a vibrant splash of fuchsia. It’s akin to opening an expensive gift, like the latest MacBook Air, or a Birkin handbag from Hermès.
There’s even a card, which we set to one side [ btw, this small, seemingly insignificant detail will be incredibly important later in story. But for now, just file it away ].
Below that, soft tissue, which we pull back to reveal more boxes, one for each course. Inside each of these, small containers housing the likes of braised fennel, sticky wild rice, and sun blushed tomato fondue. Already THIS is really exciting!
There’s also instructions on how to prepare and plate each course. Which means, dear reader, we’re finally ready to talk about the food! Well, almost …
It’s also important for you to remember: while the Social Bitches are excellent at drinking, eating, setting a fabulous table, and drinking a little more, our plating skills can sometimes be a little hit and miss. More on that soon.
Right now, the food!
We begin with a little amuse-bouche, Veggie haggis bon bons.
Nine minutes in the oven, and absolutely lovely. They most definitely pack all the spice and pleasure of their meaty counterpart. Though to really take them into overdrive, we’re thinking a whisky cream might be the perfect addition.
This is instantly followed by Broad bean & parmesan tartlets.
Wow, these really are a revelation. It’s as if they contain fresh pesto – even though they don’t – that’s been made with basil plucked, just moments ago, from one’s edible garden. Earthy and delicious, we adore how the taste just pops.
Then, after topping up our champagne saucers yet again, the next dish out of the oven is a Demi baguette. Simple enough we grant you, but the wonderfully crunchy, almost fibrous bread, when combined with the soft, creamy whipped butter is a real treat.
Once there’s nothing left but the odd crumb, we concede it’s time to really start cooking, and of course, face up to our insecurities about plating. Gulp!
Out starter is a fabulous Gressingham duck breast marinated in honey, chilli & ginger with an orange & fennel puree. Even more exiting, no cooking required. Boom!
But hang on. We freeze, then slowly exchange nervous glances. How the Gressingham duck do we plate it?? Oh my god, what do we do??!? IF only there was a photo!! [ again, file this small detail away for later ]
More champagne is poured, a small argument is had, and bow ties are dramatically loosened. But finally we agree on how best to present these wonderful ingredients. Tension that’s instantly forgotten after just one bite of this vibrant, exciting creation.
The duck is so tender, so moist, so bursting with flavour. But then it reaches next level when tasted with the orange and fennel puree. Combining both the bitter and the sweet, it’s the most wonderful substance ever.
Astoundingly, it gets EVEN better by adding just a little slither of the pickled daikon. Which, in case you didn’t know, is white radish, aka Japanese radish, aka Chinese radish. But more importantly, the combination of these three elements is sublime.
A real treat for the tastebuds, it also comes with a perfectly cooked Sticky wild rice salad, and Spiced green slaw with plenty of kick. However askew the plating may be [ I blame Isaac ], there’s no denying this is a brilliant starter, we can’t wait to eat more.
Following the step by step instructions, we’ve soon cooked the perfect Pan-seared sea bass with tomato, olive & basil vierge, herby crushed potatoes, braised fennel & sun blushed tomato fondue. Confidence rising, we’re even happy with the plating.
The taste is sensational. The fish is so fresh, the skin so wonderfully crisp. Even better, pairing it’s strong flavour with the intensity of capers, olives, and the amazing tomato fondue is genius. Fish is often presented so simply, but here every lovely, intense bite offers something new.
By now our inhibitions about plating are pretty much gone, as is the champagne and chardonnay. So we decide “a little” Pedro Ximenez will be perfect with our final course.
A luscious Lemon polenta cake with summer berry consommé, compressed Scottish strawberries & lemon curd. Utterly divine, and not too sweet, it’s the perfect finish to what’s been an incredible meal.
We awake the next morning, somewhere around 3pm, and reflect on what a wonderful night we’ve had. So many beautiful, bold flavours, making us feel as if we were dining at a favourite restaurant.
Our happy reminiscences also prompt us to take a second look at the card from our hamper. Suddenly, and embarassingly, the penny finally drops. This so-called card is actually a “how-to plate” picture of our starter, main and dessert!
Oh, that’s SO awkward!!
Reviewed July 2020
Appetite Events, Edinburgh
Available for delivery & collection Thursday / Friday / Saturday
Order online: Inside Menu / Outside Menu / Wine