As the saying goes 'fortune favours the brave', and this has certainly been true for chef Lachlan Archibald and his associate Matt Urry who have fearlessly chosen to launch IN, a fine dining takeaway business during the height of the Covid-19 lockdown.
However so far the gamble is paying off, and Lachlan is delighted to admit that the response has been "phenomenal."
Dinner bookings can then be made in advance for that Thursday, Friday and Saturday and can either be delivered to you in EH1, 2, 3 & 7 areas or collected by arrangement from their Dundas Street kitchen in Edinburgh.
The dishes are specially created to ensure the dishes travel well, with limited need to reheat. The packaging is all environmentally friendly and the food is immaculately presented.
Standards are naturally high, because until lockdown Lachlan was head chef at Kitchin.
He explains four weeks of being furloughed was enough for him, saying: "I was definitely missing the fast-paced environment of a Michelin starred kitchen, when you are used to working 14-16 hour days in the creative environment, doing nothing is hard.
"You need serious passion to do those hours, be 100% committed to the lifestyle, but it is incredibly rewarding, but you are always chasing the clock."
Definitely not one to sit back on his laurels, the concept of IN happened by chance following an exchange of foraged wild garlic with fellow foodie Matt Urry who revealed he had a commercial kitchen sitting empty.
His boss, Tom Kitchin has been supportive of the venture even enthusing on Instagram “Fancy a dinner treat in Edinburgh? Check out this great initiative by @Chef_Lachlan_Archibald_ and his gourmet takeaway @in_take_out …limited spaces so get your orders in for next week. Great work Chef!"
Lachlan explains: “I have a great relationship with Tom" adding " he looked after me, he pushed me and I respect him to the highest level.
"Despite the lockdown people still want to eat well and have a great dining experience.
"At IN we source local, super-fresh seasonal ingredients and create menus that mean you can treat yourself at an affordable price point, but because the menu changes every week, repeat custom has been really high."
Whilst borne out of adversity, Lachlan believes the concept will continue for a long time to come. The key question for many venues being able to reopen is resting on one metre between tables guidelines and the government are likely to come under a lot of industry pressure about this.
Lachlan said: “Sadly, the catering industry will feel the long term impact of this crisis as people adopt social distancing for the foreseeable future. The sector is suffering hugely, and no one really knows what will happen, I guess we are lucky up in Scotland because we can see what happens first in England.
“We hope we can continue to do what we’re passionate about – championing Scottish suppliers and local produce to create quality, tasty, everchanging menus that people love. Adding there are a passionate group of people desperate to get out and who want to support the sector and at £35 pounds for four dishes, it means that it is accessible to order not just once in a while but every week.
Since this article was first published, Lachlan Archibald has returned to work at The Kitchin. However, fans of his fine dining at home will be delighted to hear that the project continues with a slight change of name, ROGUE DINING, with a new chef Sean Clark of @thetableedinburgh. For further updates instagram @rogue_dining
One last query, before we put Lachlan through our usual Under the grill questions,
What's your ultimate takeaway dish? "Well, I'm a sucker for an original authentic stone-baked pizza."
“Contemporary European with Asian influences showcasing local and seasonal produce. We have incredible fresh produce on our doorstep in Scotland, and often these products are partnered well and can be shown in their best light, when combined with tastes and textures from further afield. ”
“After studying professional cookery at college, in Cupar I worked as a waiter before taking up the reins as head chef at the West End Bar and Gantry in Pittenweem. The West End holds a special place in my heart as that’s where I met my partner, Rowan. In the summer months, Rowan and I ran the place together, me in the kitchen and her front of house, whilst the proprietor took care of a busy local bar and outside catering business.”
“Chilli- for me specifically birds eye chilli. My favourite dish to make with chilli is spicy papaya salad, som tam [papaya pok pok]”
“I prefer the energy of a fast-paced kitchen, so definitely not peace and harmony! I’m extremely passionate about maintaining standards so sometimes this is expressed in a raised voice, but as chefs go, I think it’s fair to say I’d rank somewhere in the middle on the temper scale!”
“Food that’s not seasoned well”
“I’ve spent a lot of time in south-east Asia and I’m always interested in learning more about Asian cuisine. At home recently we’ve been exploring the vast pantry of China- especially Szechuan, which means I’m cooking with a lot of chinese spices and condiments. The Asian influence has found its way into the kitchen at IN, which has been well received so far by our customers. Can't wait to travel again when lockdown ends!”
“Both- I can’t operate without my morning espresso but I really enjoy a cup of Japanese or Taiwanese green tea. I can't stand builder's tea! It has to be a nice green tea.”
“I’m partial to a white chocolate magnum!”
“Michel Bras - even his food of 30 years ago appears contemporary with today. Working for Tom Kitchin has given me a great understanding of how important it is to have good relationships with great suppliers.
To name but a few: Castle game provides me with the best Scottish wild game and great knowledge of their produce; Robert and AJ at St Brides Chicken- their care and understanding of their product is phenomenal; John Bastinelli the veg rep for Mark Murphy who’s always on call to solve my fruit and veg emergencies. Welch fishmonger, hands down the best fish suppliers in Edinburgh- of course my roots are in the east neuk so David Lowrie Fish deserves a special mention.”
“Anthony Bourdain; Brian Kinsman [the malt master at Glenfiddich]; Tom Weir of Weir’s Way; Alan Brazil, and it would be steak frites with béarnaise sauce- who doesn't love that.”
“To be honest, I’ll eat anything that’s been prepared with care and respect for the ingredients.”