It was Wednesday.
We were the only ones in the restaurant.
I was wearing a blue top, it was raining, we sat by the window and I ordered a steak sourdough sandwich with skinny fries. One Schnauzer walked past. Somebody’s umbrella turned inside out.
I probably remember my last trip to Bruntsfield’s Chop House so vividly, because it was one of my last non-review meals out before lockdown.
At the time, I felt guilty about my lardy lunch. Now I wish I’d eaten more. Carpe diem ante pandemic, even though it’s going to take me ages to ditch this paunch, which makes me look like a Weeble (we wobble but don’t fall over).
It feels like we’ve come full circle, now that they, along with many other restaurants, are in their first week of reopening. In their case, just the Bruntsfield branch (not Market Street or Leith yet) and only from Wednesday to Sunday.
However, they continue to offer the new Chop House At Home menu, as the demand has been huge. Yay.
Our delivery came on a Friday, in torrential rain and lightning, like a storm child.
Their thing is “dining packs” for two, which come with a bottle of Musso de Casaraojo Tempranillo.
Though you can also choose bigger cuts, up to 900g, and a bone in rib or porterhouse, we’d gone for the neater 400g size of 35 day dry aged chateaubriand.
Everything is nicely presented and branded. There are hand wipes, paper placemats and clear instructions.
“The secret to a great meal is timing. We’ve made your Chop House At Home experience simple to prepare, but you’ll need to follow the below timeline to bring...” blah blah blah.
I handed them to my other half – the Debbie McGee to my Paul Daniels.
Our meat was zipped tightly into its vacuum pack, as if it was wearing an Azzedine Alaia dress.
After being decanted, it was oiled and salted with the pots of chunky sodium provided and seared, before being tickled with herb butter using a feathery rosemary brush.
Once Chunk had been zhuzhed (or whatever the technical term is) in the oven, we put him in the middle of the table to rest, and divvied out the re-heated sides.
There are 18 triple cooked beef dripping chips (no lite or diet version available), which have caramelised vertices and are the size of railway sleepers. As three is the magic number, we’d also ordered a side of triple cheese macaroni (£5), which was made from a subtle and pale mixture of IJ Mellis’ wares and topped by a sprinkle of herb and cheese crumb.
There was also a selection of wild garlic mushrooms, including pale skinnies and muddy brown fatties.
The only cold side dish was the sesame slaw. It was slightly unwieldy, since every strip of carrot or cabbage seemed as if it was the length of a pole vault and destined to poke you in the nostril. However, it felt like a token cleansing thing, with a citrus dressing and a scattering of sesame seeds. Vitality, be mine.
Our meat though. It was a tender hunk, like the man cradling the baby in the Athena poster of the Eighties.
Although it might have lacked the haemoglobin punch of other cuts, it sliced as easily as a damp Battenburg.
Since my At Home delivery, I see that they’ve extended their offering to puddings, among other things.
I would have totally been up for the new addition of chocolate caramel mousse (£12) with honeycomb. However, as an early adopter, I had to make do with a pudding cocktail of coal roasted pineapple daiquiri (£12 for two). I’m pretty sure I’ve tried this at one of their venues before: it was a sour, scurvy-beating and fat-scouring mixture of coal roasted pineapple syrup, Sailor Jerry Rum and loads of fresh lime.
Although I’m looking forward to visiting Chop House’s Bruntsfield branch in person, having Edinburgh’s restaurants come to me is a treat that I don’t want to relinquish, ever.
In or out, it’s all just as good as far as us Weebles are concerned. n
88 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh (0131-629 6565, www.chophousesteak.co.uk)
Takeaway dinner for two, including bottle of wine (delivery an additional £4.50, collection free)