The world outside might have taken a pause, but special occasions still happen in lockdown, and if anything that makes it more important to unlock a great occasion at home! Let’s take a look at the options on offer, and how to make a special occasion memorable for the right reasons in difficult circumstances.
Food is sort of a big thing in my household. That’s even more true for special occasions. My husband and I are lucky enough that we normally try and plan a trip for our wedding anniversary, or at least enjoy one of the many amazing venues that make up Edinburgh's vibrant restaurant scene.
Obviously this year that wasn’t happening. You heard about that COVID thing I’m sure? But like the brave food addicts we are, we still wanted to make something of an occasion out of it, so a restaurant at home experience seemed like the obvious answer.
We had a look through the growing list of exciting options available, before settling on Wedgwood. Their home dining experience offered us the perfect combo of delicious menu, good value, and crucially — delivery on a Thursday.
The menu was small but perfectly crafted, which worked well for us as we’re pretty indecisive (read greedy and want everything). We like to split our meals 50:50 so we can try more dishes, and because my husband is terrible at ordering, so we opted for the home-cured mallard ham and celeriac remoulade, and chorizo and spring onion risotto for starters.
For our mains we chose the 80-hour slow cooked smoked beef brisket with chips, and the confit pork belly with ham and savoy cabbage potato cake. Dessert offered my husband’s go-to favourite of sticky toffee pudding, with us choosing an accompanying chocolate brownie with rhubarb Turkish delight. The sticky toffee pudding was a particular treat, as he’s raised the issue of making it mandatory on all restaurant menus several times in the years we’ve been married.
Special occasions at home tip 1 - food: Food is the central part of most celebrations, and luckily loads of Edinburgh’s top restaurants have pivoted to provide their delicious creations at home. Check out our post on top Edinburgh restaurants offering takeaways and fine dining at home options.
The process was simple and straightforward. We emailed our order in on Sunday night, then spent the next few days with rumbling stomachs eagerly awaiting its Thursday arrival. When the day finally came our meal was hand delivered in the afternoon, neatly packaged and with comprehensive instructions. The beautifully printed copy of the menu was an added flourish to stir that welcome restaurant vibe.
Next up was the prep! One critical note I would raise about the restaurant at home experience is that in a real restaurant there’s a good chance the chef won’t start proceedings with half a bottle of champagne before they begin cooking, but I think we did surprisingly well all things considered.
The instructions were clear, although we did have to do a wee bit of juggling with pans etc. but that was mostly down to our mains combo. This could possibly have been a bit intimidating or confusing to someone who really doesn’t cook, but as foodies who consider themselves OK-but-not-award-winning in the kitchen, it wasn’t too daunting.
Special occasions at home tip 2 - drinks: No meal is complete without a nice bottle of wine or two. Really up the fancy restaurant vibe by ordering some cocktails for an at-home aperitif. You’ll find we've got Edinburgh’s most comprehensive list of booze delivery services, or check out our blog on alcohol takeaways. Enjoy responsibly folks!
Wedgwood had handily posted photos of how to plate up on their Facebook page earlier that day, although our best efforts didn’t really live up to that vision. See - champagne.
So how about the taste? Everything you could hope for! Every dish was absolutely delicious, just what you want from your restaurant experience. The risotto was creamy with the spring onions providing perfect balance to the chorizo. The sticky toffee pudding and the brownie were the rich delights you wanted them to be, and the rhubarb Turkish delight was a delicate counterpoint.
The star of the show was definitely the brisket, which was incredibly tender and flavourful. The pork belly was also delicious although we probably should have cooked it a little longer to caramelise it. Sometimes our impatience/greed gets the better of us.
Our order came to £45 plus delivery, which we felt was fantastic value compared to what you would pay when sitting in a restaurant. The only downside was having to clear up afterwards, another bottle of wine deep!
Special occasions at home tip 3 - décor: Even with a delicious meal on the way it can be hard to get too excited about sitting down at the exact same table you’ve eaten every single meal for the last three months. Get creative and go beyond the food by bringing the restaurant ambience home too!
I’ll let you into a secret - I wrapped some fairy lights around our clothes drier and draped a white sheet over it to create a backdrop! It actually came out a lot better than I expected (or it sounds!).
Decorate your table with some fresh flowers from, Rose & Ammi, Mud Urban Flowers, Rowan Flowers & Crafts or Pyrus. Want something more permanent? Grow Urban and Snapdragon Flowers will deliver houseplants to your door!
Turn the lights down low, and create an atmosphere with the soft light of some candles. Don’t have any? HAZE Candles and The Botanical Candlemaker have got you covered.
Edinburgh boasts a wide range of amazing businesses offering wonderful treats in our lockdown economy, from the delight of home dining to delicious tipples of cocktail tasting .
Take the time to find the perfect offer that fits your own view of ‘special’, and then go that extra mile to transform the experience at home. Just dressing up a space to make it a little unique, or dressing up yourself in your best glad rags, is a great way to change your mental space. You can keep your slippers on if you want, we won’t judge you.
Special occasions at home tip 4 - experiences: Great celebrations are about great experiences, whether that’s a full day of fun or an amazing night for a special occasion. Edinburgh Lockdown Economy has some awesome experiences for you to try from the comfort of your home. So why not learn something new, or reconnect with an old favourite? Check out our Experiences to see the fun you can enjoy together at home. It’s a wonderful gift option for that special person in your life too. You’re special too, so don’t be afraid to buy it for yourself!
Marketer, foodie, traveller, rugby geek, petter of other people's dogs.Contact the author
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