Under lockdown, our favourite restaurants’ takeaway offerings seem to fall into a couple of groups.
They either want to treat you like the princess/prince/poodle you most blatantly are, by helping you recreate the restaurant experience at home. You might even eat at an actual table, rather than on the settee. (Some diners dress up for that kind of thing, but I’ve force fed my formalwear to the moths, even though they can’t digest artificial fibres).
While the others, like kindly grannies, want to make sure that you are eating properly, because you’re looking peely-wally and wasting away, and have you got a vest on?
Despite it being an upmarket venue, two-year-old Fhior is definitely the latter, and was quick to respond altruistically when the bad happenings began to percolate.
They set up their Root to Market scheme to support the community, who might not want to brave the shops and supermarkets, and in order to help out their suppliers and the struggling hospitality sector. The profits “will be returned to the industry through loans and grants for small businesses”.
Once you’ve signed up at www.fhior.com, you’ll be emailed a weekly list of what’s in stock, to be delivered within the capital on whatever day is your postcode’s allocated slot.
Their selection of weekly produce might include reasonably priced and good quality meat, bread, fruit, vegetables, eggs and dairy products but also delicacies like Lunan Bay Farm asparagus, Secret Herb Garden Gin or wares from The Edinburgh Butter Co.
There are also pre-prepared meals, but don’t expect an iteration of the seven course tasting menu served at Fhior back when things were normal.
Instead, there’s a small selection of rib-sticking and traditional grub, all packed into takeaway trays so you can whap them straight in the oven. Most of these dishes are totally Scottish granny-alicious.
One of our orders was the thick and moss-coloured potato and wild garlic soup (£4 for two), which was liquid joy. It tasted like it contained almost half of a pungent hillside harvest, and was thick with cream and a bit of white pepper. I could feel it coating my insides, like an internal lamination of allium.
We had to space these courses out a bit, because our vests were already skintight à la Freddie Mercury.
After a pause of two hours or so, we tried the smoked ham hock mac and cheese (£7.50 for two), which had gone all crusty and flaky round the edges of the container and featured fat and salty strips of ham that clung to chunky ridged tubes of pasta, with a thick white sauce as the glue.
The wine that we’d ordered – Picpoul de Pinet, Domaine Muret, France 2019 (£14.50) – was glacial and palate-clearing when swigged in between every couple of bites of sticky carb. Another course of beef and smoked porter pie (£7.50 for two) featured loads of rich shredded meat, as well as peas, shallots and a gravy that was as clingy as molasses, all topped by a sarcophagus lid of sepia-coloured and parchment thin Scotch pie style crust. It made me pine for my late granny’s Sunday lunches, though she would have served this kind of thing with buttered cabbage and floury potatoes that had been boiled until every atom had come loose and they were as fluffy and dissolving as snowballs.
As far as veg on the side goes, Fhior are offering something slightly more modish (and solid), with their new potatoes and herb butter (£3.50), topped with chopped tarragon and mint, and we had a second option of slippery and super sweet treacle glazed carrots topped with mixed seeds (£3.50).
For later, there were two beremeal and chocolate cookies (£1.50 each), slipped into a brown paper bag.
These spotted and coaster-sized biscuits soaked up any remaining sadness like tea.
And I’ve ordered them again since, because Fhior wouldn’t want me to waste away, along with some other new stuff.
After all, the moths have eaten my going out clothes, so there’s no point ordering anything too fancy. n