Having often enjoyed the delectable dishes of Dine, we are of course thrilled to savour their many nuances at home. Delivered by Chef Stuart Muir himself, a lovely, lovely man btw, we are instantly impressed. Whether standard practice, or the VIP vibe we Social Bitches SO enjoy, it’s a good omen of a fabulous evening to come.
After embracing the notion of free-pouring a little too enthusiastically the night before, we are this day feeling a little dusty. Occupational hazard we tell ourselves.
But we’re adamant that three gorgeous courses, a bottle of French rosé, and twelve cheeky cocktails should be just the elixir we require.
Moments later, we’re taking our first sip of an Old fashioned. After all, breakfast was at least two hours ago. We jest, we jest! Actually, it’s late-ish afternoon.
More importantly, it’s superb. Smooth, with just a hint of honey, its restorative powers are undeniable. It reminds us that Dine’s not only a wonderful restaurant, but also one of our favourite spots for cocktails.
All of which prompts me to announce: we are now ready to cook!
“We??” Isaac raises an eyebrow, almost to the point of it departing his forehead. He is of course alluding, once again, to the fact he does ALL of the “cooking”.
I gently close my eyes, and take another sip. This is my meditation, allowing me to rise above. In my defence, I’m front of house: pouring the wine, setting a fabulous table, and reminding Isaac when it’s time to mix another cocktail.
It’s a unique but much needed skill set. And besides, his plating abilities have gown immeasurably during lockdown. Why rock the boat?
So, flashing forward just a little: we’re now at the table, listening to a little Babs
[ The Way We Were, tres classique ] and about to enjoy two spectacular starters.
I’ve wisely gone for the Escabeche of red mullet with a pisto sauce & garnished with salad leaves. Lightly fried in oil, the fish is just bursting with flavour. Meanwhile the pisto, like pesto but sans pinenuts, gives an intense feeling of freshness.
Chef Isaac, meanwhile, is rather taken by his Clara brie & prosciutto salad, with roasted grape chutney & balsamic dressing. Rightly so! Creamy, indulgent, and full of flavours that absolutely pop. Tastebuds invigorated, we can’t wait to eat more.
Once the mains are safely in the oven, we’re thinking this might be an opportune moment for another eensy weensy little cocktail. Actually, there’s no might about it, and soon we’re being wowed by a sublime Mango daiquiri over crushed ice.
One of Isaac’s favourite fruits, add alcohol and you really have a party. Even more impressive, is the perfect balance between sweet and sour. None of your sweet-sugary-cocktail nonsense here, just sophistication and great taste all the way.
Some time later … we’ve returned to table, and Lionel Ritchie’s Stuck on You is proving to be the perfect soundtrack for our main course.
In my case, a soul-warming Pork & chorizo hotpot. Guaranteed to cure any hangover, I can’t imagine a better choice. The chorizo is full of spice, the pork so utterly tender and moist, and then there’s the rather moreish slices of roast potato.
I must also heap praise upon the seemingly simple addition of sour cream. Culinary science in motion, it slowly melts and combines with the dish’s natural gravy. The effect is both magical and utterly delicious.
It’s a similarly glowing review from Isaac. His Roast Salmon with tarragon cream is mouthwatering. With its beautifully crisp skin, and fluffy pink meat below, it’s cooked to the point of total perfection.
Isaac’s also delighted by the well-judged crunch of the confit harissa carrots, the bliss of his sauteed potatoes, and the sheer indulgence of that tarragon cream. It’s another five-star main, compliments to chef. Stuart that is, not Isaac [ #awkwardd ]
As the candles seem to almost flicker in time, Dionne Warwick tells us she knows, she’ll never love this way again. Yeah, we totally get that babes, and agree it’s an uncanny introduction to our third final and course, dessert.
Deciding, for once, to share: we begin with a delicious Lemon cheesecake with berry compote. Yet again, the flavours are delicately balanced, sweet and sour in perfect harmony. We’re also exceedingly pleased by the crumby, biscuity base.
We then move swiftly to the Sticky Toffee Pudding with toffee sauce & clotted cream. While it’s a common dish about the New town, we love the fact every restaurant brings something different to the mix.
In Dine’s case, the portion size leans towards gigantic, with flavour to match. And oh the heavenly aroma as it emerges from the oven. [ NOTE: you can microwave if you wish, but tsk tsk! ] With crisp edges, yet so light and spongy within, it’s truly divine.
With all traces of food and wine now removed from the scene, we head to the drawing room where cocktails continue to be served. But after declaring the mango daiquiri our new favourite thing in life, that honour may instead go to the Bramble.
The tartness of the blackberries, a sweet splash of orange juice, and a shedload of alcohol. What’s not to love? Though to really determine which cocktail is best, it’s such a blessing we have another round of ALL three waiting to go. What a relief!
Our overall verdict: Despite Isaac’s silly fuss about doing all the cooking, this gorgeous meal really is as simple as: heat and plate. The portions are generous, there’s loads of flavour, and every dish truly pops – we love that! Add to the mix those epic cocktails, and it really is an experience beyond fabulous!
Reviewed March 2021
Dine @ Home
Delivering: Friday – Sunday
A three-course meal for 2 people + wine £49
For a family of four, including 2 bottles of wine £98
Pre-mixed cocktails £7.50 [ 3 serves ]