Martin Wishart has pulled a blinder. Brasserie style food at brasserie style prices delivered in French brasserie style surroundings, are we in Edinburgh?! Yes we are. Welcome to The Honours, the newbie in town where Mr Wishart brings his ‘fine dining’ influences to this stunning new venture with chef Paul Tamburrini at the helm.
Fourteen days in and the atmosphere is spot on, ambient background music, marbled floors, chic styling, cool lighting, you would never guess that you were sat in the same restaurant that was previously Tony’s Table, the low budget diner. Somehow the styling works, huge gold spots painted high up on walls framed by typical Edinburgh cornicing painted black with huge black pendant light shades hanging from the ceiling. Brass wall lights line the restaurant giving that ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the space. White table cloths are definitely not required.
Smart front of house staff with long black aprons glide smoothly across the floor attending to the customer’s every need. Steven Spear, the restaurant manager, keeps his beady eyes on the evening’s proceedings, meeting and greeting the clientele and later on asking how people had found their ‘Honours Experience’.
You could sense that all of these ‘things’ and ‘moments’ had been crafted to perfection in anticipation of creating the best new brasserie in Edinburgh. Tick, they’ve nailed it and I’ve not mentioned the food yet.
The foolhardy Mr Predictable was of course my dining companion for the evening, this was one he was never going to miss! Ah, the food. The menu is a joy to read although with so much choice we both found it quite difficult to decide as everything sounded so delicious. We ordered a glass of fizz to ease our indecisiveness. Earlier in the day I had been advised via the medium of twitter (check me!) to opt for the Swiss cheese soufflé, spinach and bechamel to start (£8.25), so I did, and wow, taste sensation. Thank you to my fellow twitterati! Mr Predictable chose line-caught Yellow Fin tuna tartare, avocado cream, ginger and soya butter sauce (£7.95), an extremely healthy option for him. This too was pitch perfect, extremely fresh and a palate cleanser before the mains.
After eying up the mains that had been delivered to the table next to us our choices were made. Sautéed fillets of John Dory, leeks and mussels with curry and Sauternes sauce for me (£18.50) with a side of extra fine French beans (£3.75) and no second guesses allowed….yes, Mr P decided upon Pave rump steak served medium (£20) with a side of French fries (£3.50).
The fish dish was mouth watering, the mild creamy curry-ness sitting perfectly with the flaky white John Dory. The rump steak cooked in the all singing all dancing ‘Josper’ grill was awesome. The grill was purchased by Wishart after visiting acclaimed eateries in New York and Singapore and claims to be the ultimate way to cook steak – tick, job done. The steak was beautifully cooked and rested and oozed flavour. This was all washed down with a lovely 2010 Rioja Blanco (£21).
And relax. Time out needed if we (aka me) were going to proceed to the desserts. For those of you who think portion size is a problem when dining in the finer establishments of Edinburgh then fear not, you will not leave here feeling hungry, trust me!
After a trip to the ladies which are glitzy and luxurious, followed by a good bit of people watching and a dip into other people’s conversations (adding to our overall ‘Honours Experience’!) and we were on to the puds.
A no brainer for me, it had to be apple tart tatin served with milk ice cream (£7.25), when in francais and all that. It was a sticky caramel delight, the pastry was perfect and melted in the mouth. For Mr P, who had a wobble earlier in the evening with an unusual indecisive moment, this was a quick hit – a Black Forest Gateau ice cream sundae (£6.75). This one deserves a fuller explanation – vanilla ice cream (artisan ice cream churned in The Honours Carpigiani machine), chocolate sponge and Griotte cherries, finished with a warm Valrhona chocolate sauce. If I could freeze a moment in time from the evening and put it on repeat it would be me drinking that warm Valrhona chocolate sauce neat. As ever, Mr Predictable was quick to point out that chocolate sauce does not go with apple tart tatin and that the sauce belonged to him, I beg to differ.
Coffee to follow and then a cheeky Glenkinchie for the road, why not, at our age a seat is a pre-requisite with a drink so no point venturing anywhere else in my opinion! I wanted the evening to last for the duration as had enjoyed every moment. We never felt rushed during the meal and the service had been top notch. So, how had we found our ‘Honours Experience’ Stephen asked and would we like to go into the kitchen? Twist my arm….a foody’s dream scenario…! Suddenly we found ourselves ‘back stage’ being introduced to chef Paul and his sidekick ‘Josper’.
Although service was over the kitchen was a hubbub of activity and Paul chatted away about the food and his magnificent ‘piece of kit’. Wow, every man’s dream to be honest. Josper is quite literally an indoor barbecue which can reach temperatures of up to 650°. Mr P was extremely excited, what is it about men and meat?!
A fine end to a very fine evening. All boxes ticked…ambiance, service, food, Josper.
You won’t get much change out of £130 for two (with drinks and service) but you won’t find anywhere else quite like this in Edinburgh, a well deserved big TICK for Mr Wishart and team, we’ll be back soon.
Meeting chef Paul Tamburrini and his amazing 650° grill oven named Josper!
‘flat’ Cava which was quickly replaced after I mentioned its lack of ‘sparkle’ to the waitress
Thanks for reading my 100th post.