With freedom still weeks away, we continue to be in awe of the legendary people who are Edinburgh hospitality. They offer us a lifeline of creativity and mouthwatering flavours. Just pick out a fabulous outfit, light the candles, and place your order. Then you too can embrace the joy of being a Social Bitch @ HOME.
With many of the city’s best restaurants delivering dinner, wine and cocktails, the spoils of fine dining can be regularly enjoyed at yours. In fact, it’s amazing what one can achieve with ambient lighting, solid gold cutlery, and the right soundtrack.
For us it’s been a total game-changer, providing the opportunity to dress, eat and of course drink like we’re still Social Bitches. It also means we can support an industry we love, and keep our few remaining threads of sanity firmly in place.
What follows are just SOME of the incredible meals we’ve recently enjoyed. Mind you, it’s a list, along with our waistlines, that’s rapidly expanding:
Each week Bad Seeds – a joyous collaboration between chefs Tomas Gormley [ The Lookout ] & Sam Yorke [ the Kitchin Group ] – offers a brand new, utterly sumptuous menu, that’s oh so simple to follow. Like the rest of Edinburgh, we’re just loving the creativity these lovely, talented men are literally bringing to the table.
We thoroughly enjoyed week four: a rather playful Venison sausage roll with a spicy brown sauce; an incredible Breaded Scottish lamb with an intense garlic sauce; lush Steamed Cod with coco beans & bulgar salad; and a superb finish, thanks to one of the richest, most chocolatey, throughly moist Brownies EVER.
Yes, there is some work involved [ not lots ], but the step by step instructions make it super easy to achieve. Especially for those of us drinking wine, and watching Isaac do the hard yards. Tomas & Sam, we SO love your work!!
Four courses £38 per person
Having often enjoyed the delectable dishes of Dine, we are of course thrilled to savour their many nuances at home. They also make some of the city’s most indulgent cocktails, which is how our three courses came to be gloriously punctuated by an Old Fashioned, a Mango Daiquiri, and a life-changing Bramble.
Despite Isaac making a silly, silly fuss about doing ALL the cooking ALL the time, Dine’s gorgeous menu is pretty much just heat and plate. We enjoyed a gorgeous Escabeche of red mullet with a pisto sauce; a Clara Brie & prosciutto salad; Roast Salmon with tarragon cream; and a soul-warming Pork & chorizo hotpot.
Each mouthful was of course utterly delicious, the portions incredibly generous, and every dish truly pops – we love that! Add to the mix those epic cocktails, and it really is a fine dining experience that’s must-have!
Three courses + wine £49 / Feeds 2 / Pre-mixed cocktails £7.50 [ 3 serves ]
Angels with Bagpipes / Angels Wings
Proving itself an absolute godsend, Angels Wings has been delivering luscious three course meals for the last ten months. Being one of our first @home experiences, Executuve Chef Fraser Smith wisely delivered instructions via video. His first being: pour the Strawberry Kiss cocktail into a martini glass, and DRINK!
Our confidence bolstered, we went on to enjoy a superb Smoked haddock mousse with nut granola & lemon mayonnaise. Its pleasing crunch, teamed with a hint of sweetness, and the addictive tang of that mayo is magic. Then came the Confit duck leg with smoked garlic mash, caramelised chicory & cherry jus: WOWSERS!
But Fraser’s genius doesn’t end there, oh no. He then took two Social Bitches, unsure of whether Italy’s favourite cream dessert is really their thing, and made us fall utterly in love with his Earl Grey panna cotta, with apricot gel & ginger crumb. He also inspired us to make fine dining @ home our number one pastime. Mwah!!!
Three courses £25 per person / Cocktails £5
Naturally, we’d heard the rumours. Tales of epic flavour, sensual delight, and tremendous portions. But nothing prepared us for the sheer joy of Hickory. Perhaps we’ve been in lockdown a little too long, but this is a meal SO FABULOUS, it feels almost as if you’re having a sexual experience. You know, in a good way …
From the opening of a truly stunning rosé onward, this is food that arouses much passion and excitement. The smell of warm cornbread; the Smoked pancetta salad with its immense parmesan shavings and wonderfully creamy dressing. All foreplay my dear, leading up to an intense climax of Buttermilk chicken, Charred sweetcorn roasted in butter, and Truffle baked man n cheese. Woof!!
Obviously, providing a restaurant experience at home is challenging, with us foodies insisting on meals that dazzle, satisfy, and are still easy for a non-cook to prepare. But somehow Hickory achieves all of this and so much more. Squeeze in a cheeky Warm Banana bread with caramelised pear and we are truly spent!
Four courses £33 – £40 per person / Wine pairings also available
Mamasan: One Night in …
By February, we felt like prisoners in our own superbly stylish Georgian home, and so, jumped at the chance of One Night in Shanghai. With the hard work already done by Mamasan, it’s four seductive courses of South East Asian cuisine, plus one very cheeky cocktail. It’s also just one of the brasserie’s many fine dining options.
Soon after we screamed YES PLEASE, there was a handsome man at our door, bearing an incredibly large package. Teasing us with his spicy sauces, he suggested we might also enjoy a mouthful of his creamy coconut paste. Always nice to meet a fan! Even nicer, the exquisite and imaginative dishes that followed.
Lobster prawn toast with burnt chilli sauce; Spring rolls of Aromatic braised duck leg; Sweet & sour Iberico pork with pineapple, banana shallots & dragon fruit; and topped off with Asian pear sticky toffee pudding. Every single dish a champion, offering surprise, intrigue, and plenty of spice.
One Night in Shanghai £65 / feeds 2 / Other menus available
Having recently celebrated its first birthday, and survived the most challenging year for Edinburgh hospitality EVER, we’re thrilled to say Pier Brasserie continues to be at the top of its game! Once again we strongly recommend three courses, a few sides, and their truly excellent cocktails as a date night of utter perfection.
We kicked off with an outrageously good Cosmopolitan, and soon moved – to a disco beat – over to an outstanding North Scallop Tortellini with smoked marrow, aromatic carrot puree & red wine jus. But the fabulousness doesn’t end there, you MUST also try the BBQ chicken wings with crispy spiral potato; the Slow Braised beef cheek with buttered mash, and a truly epic Fillet steak Wellington. A-mazing!
We’re also thrilled to see great things happening on the dessert front. So while Pier B’s Sticky toffee pudding is undeniably wonderful, the all-new Dark chocolate mousse with citrus sponge, and the Belgian Chocolate Spheres with cherry compote really are utterly next level.
Waldorf Astoria: Brunch to Go
Luxury, extravagance and indulgence are of course the Social Bitches’ core values. They’re also the perfect headline for Waldorf Astoria’s mouthwatering brunch. An experience so fabulous, so involved, it can easily last an entire day. Especially once you add Bloody Marys, or a cheeky bottle of fizz to the mix.
Naturally, our brunch did indeed begin with alcohol, and was soon followed by Honey Greek yoghurt with homemade granola; a Duo of Salmon with Avriga caviar; many a magnificent pastry; as well as sensational Drop scones with vanilla cream and berry compote. Then, after a cup of coffee and lie down, we also managed to devour a faultless selection of Scottish cheese and cured meats. SCHWING!!
The very definition of indulgence, we cannot recommend brunch-to-go highly enough. Every bite, every flavour demonstrates genius. Top marks to the Astoria: close your eyes and eat, it’s just like being there.
Brunch for 2 people £49 / with Bloody Marys £65 / with champagne £79
Six By Nico / Home X
Over the last few years, Six by Nico has taken the UK by storm, with hugely successful restaurants in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast and Manchester. Every six weeks, there’s a new six-course menu fill of quirk and serious flavour, for less than thirty quid a head. Wowsers! But clearly a man of ambition, Nico also delivers.
His latest innovation, four course meals that allow you to play master chef in your very own Georgian home. Following a regional theme, you’re invited to taste the delights of France, Italy, Vietnam and many more. All the real work’s already done, wine pairings decided in advance, and you can even follow Nico’s Master Class videos which show you how to prep, cook and plate like a culinary god.
Over two decadent nights, we did just that, whipping up Roasted Cod with aubergine baba ganoush, and a spectacular Aged Beef Wellington with confit heritage carrot & red wine jus. Even more exciting, neither our constant arguing, or dependence on alcohol could stop these meals from being utterly divine.
Four courses start at £60 for 2 people
Whiskers Wine Bar & Bistro
Though if you don’t wish to sully yourself with ANY of the actual cooking, then look no further than a Friday night dinner or Sunday Roast from Whiskers. Aside from table-setting and choosing something fabulous to wear, obvs, this is fine dining at its absolute easiest. It arrives piping hot, perfectly cooked, and ready to plate.
We happily went with the roast: a generous, wonderfully tender beef, with just the right amount of pink. Its joined by roast parsnips & carrots boosting intense flavour and caramelised edges. Then there’s the flawless green beans, mashed neeps, and Yorkshire pudding, covered in a gravy of expert construction and full of oomph.
In other words, the perfect, perfect Sunday Roast! Made even more so thanks to a seriously cheeky bottle of cab sav, and a delicious panna cotta with steward rhubarb. So smooth, so creamy and SO filled with vanilla. All in all, this is a meal so delightful, it almost takes away the agonising pain of the weekend being over.
Two course roast dinner & bottle of wine £50 / feeds 2
But THIS is just the beginning …
With so many of Edinburgh’s best restaurants offering @ Home, it’s almost impossible to try them all. Though believe us, we really are giving it our best shot!
Easily three (ish) nights a week, with our bellies full and wine bottles empty, we find ourselves saying: it feels like we’ve just had an amazing night out.
The flavours, quality and innovation, not to mention the obvious mental health benefits, remind us that our city’s hospitality scene really is world class.
So, as well the restaurants we’ve just paid tribute to, we also encourage you to explore the scrumptious dishes of our other fine dining heroes, such as:
LeftField / Chef Barry Bryson @ Cater / Aurora / New Chapter / Decanter / Shardana Catering / Fhior / Pinkertons / Haar / Gardner’s Cottage / Ondine / Kyloe: Steak Me Home / Mark Greenway Further Afield / Contini / White Horse Oysters & Seafood / Wedgwwod / The Little Chart Room / Chop House
And the list, like the Social Bitches’ serious risk of obesity, goes on ….