Once inside The Honours, nothing else matters. The gentle lighting is welcoming (and flattering) while the lively atmosphere of the restaurant area beckons you inside.
We were welcomed into the warmth, (and out of the cold Scottish weather), by charismatic Steven Spear, long time Honours Restaurant Manager. Before we knew it, we had a glass of wine in front of us as we scoured the menu for something that caught our eye. The difficulty of The Honours is that everything on the well-considered menu sounds utterly delicious. Once Steven had introduced us to the specials, however, the decision became even more difficult.
We were soon presented with an amuse bouche of an Fal Estuary oyster, served with a Rose Champagne Granite. This oyster shery is known as the most sustainable in the world & is the last to use rowing boats to harvest the catch. It certainly tasted as fresh as you could imagine!
Here, (in the most part) Scottish ingredients are cooked with a French style and flavours ar rich, complex and indulgent. Famous for their steak, courtesy of Donald Russell, the restaurant prides itself on big, bold flavours and quality produce. The hardest decision of the evening was not to have one of these delicious slabs of meat cooked over charcoal, and instead, to choose alternative dishes.
As with all of Martin Wishart’s restaurants, there is a focus on seasonality and origin. My partner settled on the Loch Fyne crab Marie Rose starter while I chose from the opposite end of the spectrum and decided on the richest dish I could find, Foie Gras Risotto. Unlike any similar dish that I had ever tasted, the crab, rightly so, took centre stage. Lightly dressed and served elegantly in a martini glass, this signature starter was as delicate as it gets without compromising on flavour.
My risotto, on the other hand, was the anthesis. Rich, decadent and entirely self-indulgent, the risotto was just incredible. By far the most delicious I had ever tried, the rice had the perfect bite, while the depth of flavour in the velvet coating was quite surprising. I polished it off and instantly regretted my decision to order an equally rich main course.
While my partner had, once again, opted for a light main course of Gigha Halibut, I had ordered Rabbit a la Moutarde with Pommes sautées – a braised rabbit with mustard, to you and I.
The dish was presently beautifully and while the intense flavour jus was rich and sticky, it was not overwhelming and coated the mouth, (and potato!) perfectly. Served alongside was a portion of Creamed Spinach, Parmesan and Nutmeg. All in all, a delicious main course – the only flaw was down to my menu choice. Next time, I shall perhaps try to balance my taste for the indulgent and opt for a slightly lighter course. Still, it was a Wednesday.
Across the table, the giant bowl of Gigha Halibut served with Cockles and Clams in a Chorizo Broth managed to look both hearty and delicate. Served alongside was a side of French Fries, perfect for dunking in the velvety broth. (Essentially, a rather upmarket Moules Frites, and what a winner it was!)
Chef Paul Tamburrini heads up the kitchen at The Honours. Not only does the kitchen send out impeccable food, but the service was faultless. Perhaps we were just lucky, but not only were the waiters observant and helpful, but full of personality – comedic even, something which certainly added to the experience.
Naturally, in the interest of providing a comprehensive review, (and encouraged by the couple next to us), we ordered puddings. While I opted for The Honours’ version of a sundae, my partner ordered the towering Souffle du Jour – which in this case, was Mango and Banana.
Toffee & caramel ice cream, honeycomb, caramelised banana & pecans were probably the last thing I needed after two calorific courses but, waste not, want not! The classic combination was simply delicious. The souffle was as expected, light, airy and perfectly fruity.
The Edinburgh Honours offers impeccable service, faultless food and a hugely enjoyable experience. While the brasserie menu, of course, differs from Wishart’s Michelin star restaurant, the experience was equally as enjoyable, albeit, a bit quicker than a 6-course tasting menu. If you consider The Honours a compromise, think again. In fact, just edge it up to the top of your list.
Find Them: 58a North Castle Street, EH2 3LU
Contact Them: 0131 220 2513