Richard Bath tucks into a takeaway from L’Escargot Bleu in Edinburgh.
THE reimposition of lockdown in all but name – certainly when it comes to restaurants in the central belt – has led to a whole slew of restaurants quickly starting up their mothballed home delivery service. For those of us who come home from a long day and just want to slump, and who love our tucker but don’t fancy having a food-coma-inducing pizza delivered, this is good news.
My most recent experience of posh carryouts was a delivery from one of my favourite restaurants, L’Escargot Bleu on Broughton Street in Edinburgh, which served as a timely reminder that convenience does not have to mean cheap n’ nasty.
The Blue Snail is run by chef-patron Fred Berkmiller, who is one of the most Gallic men in Scotland. He also happens to be a very good chef, with his trademark brand of cuisine – typically, rustically, and unapologetically upscale French comfort food – ringing my bell.
So it was quite a treat when the front doorbell went and a package of goodies arrived from Fred. It was, needless to say, just the same as being in his restaurant, save for the absence of Edith Piaf posters and wine at a quarter of the price.
We started off with a remarkably good terrine (pictured), that great staple of French country food, which was served cold with the obligatory cornichons, a dish that needed no cooking.
The same was not true of the next dish, a casserole of roe venison with poached pear and dauphinoise gratin, which spent 20-30 minutes in the oven (the potato) and on the hob (the casserole) until the jus became beautifully slick and ready to consume. Merveilleux.
This was easy cooking – we put the main course on just as we were plating up the starter and by the time we’d poured a glass or two of wine the whole ensemble came together beautifully.
We rounded off with a bread and butter pudding, which was the only slight disappointment of the meal (I love this and do a mean version myself), plus an utterly sublime dish called Chocolate Nemesis, both of which were warmed in the oven and served with crème anglais.
Depending on what you order the prices vary, and at £58 for two people our meal was not exactly cheap, but now that we’re confined to quarters again what price the opportunity to get a little luxury back in your life? Throw in a bottle of very nice red and what better way is there to spend an evening while doing your bit to keep the wheels of the economy turning?
L’Escargot Bleu, 56 Broughton St, Edinburgh EH1 3SA; www.lescargotbleu.co.uk/takeaway; 0131 557 1600