Just as we round the final corner, our pithivier skids to the left.
“Nooooo!”, I screech, checking all the other precious cargo that’s stacked up on my lap and wedged into the footwell.
Thankfully it was the only minor casualty of our drive home from this new venture, which delivers from 6-8:30pm within a 1.5 mile radius of their Dundas Street premises, or you can collect.
Early on in lockdown, head chef of The Kitchin (temporarily closed), Lachlan Archibald, set up IN and, thus, pretty much created the new genre of “fine-dining takeaway”.
Since then, they’ve consistently been selling out their four course menu (£35pp), served from Thursday to Saturday, fuelled in part by swooningly gorgeous teaser photographs that appear on their Instagram account. Those had confused me somewhat, as all the lockdown takeaways I’ve had so far have involved plating up ourselves.
My track record is a D minus. We’ve had un-sightly blobs, smears, chipped plates and forgotten garnishes.
If you eat with your eyes, then mine would have left the table long ago and I’d have empty sockets. At least they’d be popping back in now, as these dishes were beautiful and ready-to-go, no re-heating required.
Each was served in a dome-like container, with gravy and purées that had a little more viscosity, to secure each bonnie garnish in place. They were almost too ornamental to eat.
The first course was amuse bouche-esque. This escabeche of two zingy west coast mussels featured a yolk-coloured pool of saffron creamy-ness, and there was a brunoise of tomato, carrot and other bits of dinky vegetation. Our bowls were swabbed with airy pads of sourdough, which they source from a local maker.
We’d gone for one of each of the two middle pair of courses. The early summer vegetables was a corsage of cauliflower, green beans, lettuce, peas, asparagus and herbs. This vibrant greenery was glued together with a sort of tahini-ish curd, and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Our roe deer carpaccio consisted of a rosette of blood red and thinly sliced fillet, dotted by cubes of turnip, whole hazelnuts, blobs of jammy preserved bramble and a flurry of oxeye daisy petals, like wedding confetti.
I started to feel that my living room, and indeed my entire flat, was inadequate. We’re going to have to move, or at least buy a tablecloth and silver candlesticks if we want to eat this kind of stuff à la casa.
The next pair included the beef cheek pithivier. We tried to repair it as best as we could, but it still seemed as if we’d drawn a moustache and specs on the Mona Lisa. It was probably our favourite course, with a centre of shredded meat and a chestnut coloured puff pastry lid, as well as a tempranillo infused gravy and a drift of shallots and mushrooms.
So deep, rich and comforting, like sinking into the fur of a recently awoken Yellowstone resident.
The gelatinous-ly soft steamed cod was served en papillote, as if it was an upmarket DPD delivery. This was the only thing that came with separate containers, perhaps since it was so delicate and couldn’t be bounced around alongside its boisterous companions – a clutch of pink fir apple potatoes, which came with parsley and a smooth smoked cod cream.
In common with the first course, there was just one choice of fourth, so we both had a chocolate-y mousse dome creation, which was injected with a gooey layer of salted caramel and topped by crumbled amaretto. It was circled by a roulette wheel of sweet and tangy blobs, and snippings of lavender, to complete that totally replete sleepytime sensation.
We checked the time and realised, while a four course dinner in a restaurant would usually take a couple of hours, we’d eaten the lot in 37 minutes. Oops, but some things are too good for pauses.
I’m amazed by what some restaurants have done to survive the last couple of months, and IN is a stroke of upmarket genius.
If you see a car this weekend, cruising through the middle of town at 5mph, it might just be me. n
144 Dundas Street, Edinburgh (0131-557 5123, Instagram: @in_take_out)