They do an excellent job, but it’s always comfortable and dress-down Friday. I’ve seen one of them in the same saggy T-shirt about 57 times.
I don’t blame him, I’m writing this in a yolk-stained slanket and Crocs.
Thus, it’s a bit of a shock when there’s a knock at my door and James Bond/the Milk Tray man appears (be-masked and a couple of metres away, naturally).
I think he calls me madam and bows, though I may have imagined some of that. Blame Bridgerton. I curtsy and salute anyway.
Smooth, but such is the new Further Afield delivery from Grazing by Mark Greenaway. (I suppose that also explains the £10-£15 delivery charge).
They’ll drop dinner off to Edinburgh postcodes EH1 to EH17, or you can collect from their gaff Thursday to Saturday, 12pm-3pm.
All the four courses (plus petit fours, cheese and bread) are beautifully packaged, wrapped in branded tissue paper like a designer dress from Harvey Nichols, and presented with a single purple thistle (all because the lady loves…) on top. You can also add a bottle of Laurent-Perrier Champagne and two negronis for a further £45 and/or a bottle of sommelier selected red and one of white for £35. It’s nobody’s birthday in my house though, so we’ll be taking tap water.
As far as cooking goes, Greenaway has designed a menu that requires a soupcon of heating and stirring, but not the full Fanny Craddock faff. Just as well, as I’m currently using my sous vide machine as a foot spa.
Every pot is labelled and numbered, which helps, when you’ve had takeaway meals during lockdown that have tested the brain as much as a 1000 piece Rothko jigsaw puzzle.
The feast starts with a bread course - aka bollards of malty and crispy shelled treacle and stout sourdough, to be heated in the oven, until they’re steamy centred.
These come with a huge potful of rich and lardy “whipped duck skin butter”, which I’ve had in Greenaway’s 18-month-old restaurant before.
Then there’s another bready ducky course, thanks to two door-stoppers of golden brioche, each individually vacuum-packed like an addition to a space picnic.
These are toasted before you spread clods of the mushroom butter on top, then a layer of plush confit duck leg terrine and a single pickled walnut. It’s salty and gouty, coating our insides with pleasingly meaty lard.
For mains, there’s a beautiful-looking salmon wellington, enclosed by a perfect lattice. We made an amateurish version at home recently, and it resembled a pine chair leg, so we appreciate the advanced skills.
It felt like vandalism to cut it open, but we sliced off each end, as instructed, then halved it to expose the innards, which included a fillet of velvety fish, creamy sauce and finely chopped mushrooms.
There was also a chive veloute, which we should have decanted, but instead used the microwave and ended up with a warped pot, like Ghost gone haywire. The balmy liquid was rescued, and sloshed onto the plate, along with a few sweet braised leeks and a clutch of roasted artichokes.
For pudding, there was a pair of mahogany-coloured sticky toffee puddings, which came in perfect cubes, with a sachet of rich and sticky salted caramel sauce, a pot of cream and some pumice-like hunks of honeycomb. Ooft, as they say.
I had to be stretchered onto the sofa.
We save the cheese course of Tain Cheddar wedges, poppy-seed-speckled and bubbly lavosh crackers and the apple and date chutney for the next day’s lunch.
Our petit fours of shell-shaped dark chocolates filled with a passionfruit curd and blackberry and lime pate de fruit are buried in the garden, so we can dig them up in the spring.
Nah, these mouthfuls go straight down the hatch, and very special they are too.
After this Mark Greenaway experience, I will try not to look disappointed next time my regular delivery guys come to the door.
(I’ll still curtsy though, it’s only polite).
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian, Rutland Street, Edinburgh
Dinner for two, £75, excluding drinks and including a £10 delivery charge