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Best of local: Experience a taste of luxury with one these ‘fine dining at home’ services

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While some are rushing back to restaurants today, others will still be looking to get the same luxury delivered to their door from these high-end eateries.

Restrictions have been lifted and the doors to some of Scotland’s best restaurants have finally reopened today.

When eateries first closed many chefs turned to social media, offering comfort in virtual masterclasses and cookalongs, while others got their thinking caps on figuring out how to diversify their business in troubling times.

Some immediately launched delivery services to ensure their food could make it from their kitchens to their customers.

And then there were others who created bespoke dining experiences, bringing their quality cooking and much-loved dishes into the homes of hundreds where they cater on-site for them.

While many will have booked reservations at their favourite haunts already this evening, others are still choosing to enjoy food from their local eateries at home.

Here, we look at those continuing to take their fine-dining experiences to your doorstep…

Jamie Scott of The Newport Restaurant.

The Newport Restaurant

In Newport, Jamie Scott, owner of The Newport Restaurant launched his A Taste of Newport experience to give customers the chance to enjoy his fare in the comforts of their own home while the restaurant is closed.

Jamie also launched his latest venture The Newport Bakery just before lockdown which has been proving a huge success.

He said: “It’s just another step in trying to get back to normality. The bakery has been doing really well so we’ve not had too much pressure in getting the restaurant to do much. The team at the restaurant are still furloughed and we haven’t made solid plans to reopen yet. But this is a great way for customers to get a taste of the restaurant at home.

Newport at Home Part 2

Part 2: We have one sneaky little spot left for tomorrow if someone feels like a last minute treat! Message us or call 01382541449.

Posted by The Newport Restaurant on Friday, 10 July 2020

“We do it alternating weeks and its been really popular. We always try to make everyone feel spoiled at the restaurant so we have made sure we can do that at home. We try to make it really special and will sometimes sneak in the odd course here or there if you’re a regular. We do a selection of snacks at the eatery so we wanted to make sure we could carry that over into the ‘at home’ service and spoil them without us being there.

“It is limited and within one pack for two people there’s around 64 elements and packaging in it and we’re doing 25 per night. The easy bit is the cooking – the hardest is all the packaging and weighing it all out. It’s a lot of work that way and it’s not something I really want to be doing – using more packaging – I’ve never missed a plate so much in my life.”

Some of the dishes included in the offering.

Featuring five courses with the option of adding extras, including a cheese board, the eatery is operating a collection-only service which is open from 2-5pm on the Friday and Saturday it is available. And with just 25 slots per day, diners have to be quick if they want to bag a spot.

He added: “You get bread, two snacks, the starter, a fish course, main course and two desserts. The cheese course is optional, and it also includes wine – although most people are adding the cheese, too.

Posted by The Newport Restaurant on Monday, 6 July 2020

“The prep for it isn’t too bad. We know what we’re doing. It takes around two to two-and-a-half days to prep everything – taking into consideration we’re still operating the bakery and fulfilling those orders.

“We’re working out when we will be reopening the restaurant which is looking like the start of August. I think we’ll continue to offer the service for a bit longer, too.

“I’ve actually booked to go out to some restaurants in the coming weeks and I can’t wait to visit them as that’s where I get a lot of my inspiration from, just being in them. Everyone is working at their own pace but we’re just waiting to reopen when we think it is best for us.”

Brian Mcleish of Moonfish Cafe.

Moonfish Cafe

One Aberdeen chef who recently launched his “at home” collection service was Brian Mcleish, owner of Aberdeen’s Michelin Guide recommended eatery, Moonfish Cafe.

Situated on Correction Wynd, Brian has seen hundreds of hungry diners turning up to his door over the past two weekends to enjoy his fare at home. Offering a collection-only service Brian says this was the best option for him and his team to ensure food arrived safely to customers.

He said: “I wasn’t expecting to be this busy, it’s pretty full on. It’s a completely different ball game and way of thinking. It has been great, but has been difficult, too. We wanted to offer the service for about a month before we reopen and there’s probably been about a month of planning put into it to get all the packaging and that sort of thing organised.

“It’s all about understanding how the food will travel. It’s very easy to put food in tubs, but you still want it to be nice when you get it home. There’s been lots of trial and error but that’s part in parcel when developing dishes. The packaging really threw us more than anything.

The wellington main.

“We bottled it down to having the main course as a wellington of some description. We can do them in quite big numbers and it’s quite easy for people to bang in the oven at home. That’s the guts of it, and everything else we work around that.

“We decided not to offer delivery. If we can’t have full control of it to get it to the customer then we just wanted to eliminate it.”

Reopening his eatery tomorrow, Brian has sold more than 350 boxes within the past two weeks, with orders for this coming weekend already sold out.

Dear friends, thank you so much for supporting our Moonfish at home launch. Week 1 is now SOLD OUT, absolutely humbled…

Posted by Moonfish Cafe on Tuesday, 30 June 2020

“We sold 197 last week, on our first week we did around 150-160. It’s increasing every week but we’ll have to put caps on how many orders we can take as we’re going to reopen tomorrow with limited numbers,” said Brian.

“We’ll keep the boxes going for a while. It works for both parties, some people won’t feel comfortable going out to restaurants. The restaurant is small anyway so it will help us keep numbers up too as we’ll probably have around five tables.

One of the ‘at home’ starters.

“I was a bit naive initially thinking it wouldn’t be that busy on the first week and did it all myself. It was very tough. It was just the front of house team that were brought back to help out initially, but the rest of the team are back now too and we’ve put a lot of planning into how we’re going to work, controlling customer, procedures and that sort of thing. It’s about making it as safe as possible for staff I feel as customers can choose to be here or not.

Moonfish Cafe interiors (pre-Covid-19).

“Everyone’s looking forward to returning and I think it will take a long time to get it back to what it was. We like a busy restaurant and the hustle and bustle, but we’re all in the same situation so we’ve just got to go for it.

We sold 197 last week and on our first week we did around 150-160. I was a bit naive initially thinking it wouldn’t be that busy on the first week and did it all myself. It was very tough.”

Brian Mcleish, owner of Moonfish Cafe

“The takeaway service is really safe and I think a lot of people will continue to use it, but ultimately, its not who we are, we’re a restaurant and we miss having the customers here.”

Craig Wilson of Eat on the Green.

Eat on the Green

When Craig Wilson, proprietor and head chef of Eat on the Green in Udny Green, Aberdeenshire, was faced with the potential of losing thousands of pounds worth of food for Mother’s Day, he knew he had to adapt to ensure he and his customers didn’t lose out.

He said: “We started the collection service immediately as we had thousands of pounds of food in for Mother’s Day and we knew we had to do something. We knew we could safely dispatch food from our chef’s table window at the restaurant.

“We sold out and we ended up serving hundreds of people. It was very challenging and we didn’t even let people leave their car at that point. Where we are, the village green is easy to turn into a drive-through and that was it. The best decision I made was having a complete set meal where you get everything.

Some of the dishes included in the Eat from the Green package.

Closing the venue after Mother’s Day to protect their staff, Craig and his wife Lindsay got to work setting up “Eat from the Green” – a collection service from which customers would be able to order their favourite restaurant meals.

Little did they know they would be inundated with hundreds of orders on their very first weekend.

He added: “We already had a format which worked and when we reopened we were really overwhelmed with the support. We sold out very quickly on the first week. Our online Live at Five show, which we host on Facebook, was a great platform for us to communicate to customers what we were doing easily.

Two of the mains plated. Diners both receive a portion of each.

“Initially we couldn’t really accommodate for every single dietary requirement or allergy as we needed to focus on the quality and efficiency of the volume of food we were making, but as time has gone on, we launched the Kilted Chef Dine At Home offering for private bookings which means we can accommodate to them now.

“With the Kilted Chef Dine at Home option we cook what they would have loved to have had if they had come to the restaurant and it means you can have different starters, mains or desserts. There’s a lot of people celebrating special occasions and many people have ordered for these.

“We’re catering for 250-300 across the two days at the weekend we run the Eat from the Green service. We’ve also run Zoom dinners alongside it, and have also been running our Live at Five online cookalongs so it has been very, very busy.”

Taking days to prepare, Craig and his small talented team work tirelessly to pull the service together.

Kilted Chef Dine @ Home Bespoke Offering- some information! PM us for more info. £150 for 7 course menu for two and optional generous matched wine/drinks package for £50 – also bespoke!

Posted by Kilted Chef Craig on Sunday, 12 July 2020

“The VIP boxes we make are freshly made that day and are picked up or delivered at an arranged time,” said Craig.

“For Eat from the Green we start base preparations on Tuesday because we’re preparing a high volume of food. We make the bread fresh on the day it goes out and certain herbs and things we add to our sauces are added at the last minute. We’re very passionate about the freshness. At times the few of us who are in the kitchen have struggled to keep up with the demand, but the messages we’ve received have been unbelievable.

“Lindsay’s attention to detail in printing the instructions and everything in the dishes is something we’ve also had a lot of feedback for. Throughout lockdown we’re actually raising more per order for our nominated charity, so it also just goes to show how generous people are being right now.”

Roots @ Home by Roots Catering – Aberdeen

Nick Coetzer is serving up his three-course vegan offering from Aberdeen’s 99 Bar & Kitchen. Usually serving up vegan junk food, his fine-dining style menu has also been extremely popular with diners and proves to be a big hit at the weekend. The meal is priced at £20 per person and can be purchased here.

Rocca @ Home by Ross Cochrane – Aberdeen

Executive chef Ross Cochrane has been cooking up a storm at his home providing exquisite three-course meals for those across the north-east. Prepared by the chef at home, diners then assemble and reheat the dishes, following instructions the chef sends out. You can private message the chef on Facebook to place an order. A meal for two is priced at £30 per head.

Haar at Home by Haar – St Andrews

MasterChef: The Professionals finalist Dean Banks has kept some of his team busy during lockdown by launching his Home at Haar boxes. Sending out more than 450 to 500 per week across the UK, Dean has raised more than £30K for his Haar at Home Crowdfunder which you can read more on here. Prices start from £60.

At Home with The Stong Water Co. – Banchory, Aberdeenshire

Michelin-trained chef Craig McKenzie has teamed up with The Strong Water Co. in Banchory to create a unique fine dining-esque experience at home. Featuring three luxurious courses and a bottle of wine the boxed is priced from £75.

Lobster, Lamb & Fondant "The perfect three-course date night– “At Home with The Strong Water Co.”

Lobster, Lamb & Fondant "The perfect three-course date night– “At Home with The Strong Water Co.”

Posted by The Strong Water Co. on Sunday, 28 June 2020

For more on top chefs…

How to cook along with top chefs Nick Nairn, Jamie Scott and Craig Wilson on social media

Fine dining to your door: MasterChef star on the growing demand for luxury takeaways