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The Honours, Edinburgh, restaurant review

The Honours is a haven for foodies who fancy treating themselves, finds Kaye Nicolson

Published: January 19, 2016

The festivities already seemed like a distant memory and I was recovering from a cold.

The January blues had well and truly set in, so the thought of dinner at The Honours - the little sister of Restaurant Martin Wishart in Leith -  cheered us up.

Walking in from the dreich night, we were whisked to our table by the waiter who promptly offered us some champagne; a fitting tipple given the decadent black, white and gold surroundings in which we found ourselves.

It was a busy Saturday evening with a few larger parties in, but the unflappable army of staff appeared to take it all in their stride and atmosphere was relaxing.

Manager Steve took time to talk through menu recommendations and somehow charmed us into sampling a “pre-starter” of rosé champagne oysters.

If this wasn’t indulgent, I don’t know what is. They were plump and delicious, and the champagne granité gave an extra kick to the flavour.

Next, I was presented with a funky oval bowl containing Wishart’s blend smoked salmon (£14) - an elegant-looking dish which had come highly recommended by Steve.

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A dinky spoon of onion salsa rested snugly on one of the stacks of thickly-cut salmon, while a juicy lemon wedge was perched on the other, scattered with a couple of colourful micro flowers and capers.

The chunky pieces melted in the mouth and the portion was generous.

With his appetite whetted by the oysters we’d sampled at first, my companion went for the grilled hand-dived Orkney scallops (£16), piled high on the plate and surrounded by jamon bellota, coconut and cauliflower.

He was also full of praise for his starter - and after pinching a mouthful of the succulent scallops, I concurred.

As we cleared our plates, we knew we had set the tone for an evening of indulgence - and this was confirmed when The Honours chateaubriand for two (£69) was delivered to our table.

I kept a watchful eye on the waiter to make sure he divided the medium rare slices equally between our plates (you’d forgive me for my greed if you saw how good this looked).

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We tucked in to the bowls of duck fat chips, onion rings, salad and sauce béarnaise which had been placed on our table to accompany the main event.

The meat was good. Seriously good.  It was the kind of food which stopped our conversation because we were enjoying every mouthful, washing it down with a Malbec. And it was the kind of dish that you mourn when it’s over.

Still, we’d started as we’d meant to go on - and it didn’t take much persuasion from our waiter to have a quick look over the dessert menu.

I went for the dark chocolate mousse (£9), which was scattered with crisp sugar and served with lemon chiboust and jelly, and a cute little shot glass containing a frozen gin and tonic.

The other half opted for The Honours sundae (£8.50), which was a far cry from the sickly gloops of ice cream you’d see in a parlour. This was a chic martini glass containing delicate layers of toffee and caramel ice cream, honeycomb, and caramelised banana and pecans.

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Our plates were cleared despite the plentiful previous courses, and it was time for a nightcap - a zingy amaretto sour for him, and a punchy Zacapa rum espresso for myself -  before reluctantly heading back out into the torrential rain.

You’ll have gathered by now that this isn’t the kind of place to rush to if you’re feeling strapped for cash, but as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for and The Honours offers impeccable food and slick service.

It’s definitely on my list for a special celebration or treat, and I may well be lured back in leaner times by the more wallet-friendly Prix Fixe menu, which offers three courses for £22.50.


Kaye Nicolson writes occasional food and travel reviews for the Scotsman titles. She's a food-loving farmer's daughter who is always on the look-out for the perfect hearty meal and a good G&T.

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