Well-established Scottish restaurant serving local, seasonal food. One of two Howies restaurants in Edinburgh.
Howies (Waterloo Place) £8.95 set lunch menu
Reviewed by Irene Brown
Friday, November 2, 2012 - 11:25pm
Where can be a more apt venue to be serenaded than one with a minstrels’ gallery? A number of years ago, that’s just what happened to me when some good friends arranged for crooner Craig McMurdo, and two of his band, That Swing Thang, to appear at what was then Clarinda’s restaurant that was a bit of a haunt of ours in those days and sing to me. At the time, the event had the big WOW factor as we all had lunch together post crooning! The restaurant, whose bay window pleasantly looks over to St Andrew’s House, has been under the ownership of Howie’s since 2005 but those happy memories linger.
As part of this season’s EdinburghGuide £10 Challenge, four of us gathered to lunch this week on the set menu of £8.95 for 2 courses. My starter of smoked duck breast with asparagus, poached egg and watercress was also chosen by my fellow diner, H. The tender duck slices were utterly delicious and the watercress accompaniment was rightly fresh and peppery. The white of my poached egg was just a smidgen undercooked so much so that another diner would not have commented, but as someone who did not eat egg white as a child that wee bit of runny albumin still troubles.
Howie’s fish cake, which came beautifully presented with salad, was the choice of M. who described it as “tasteless” with the ratio of potato to fish being too much for his taste. The deep fried Brie that came withering a tasty dollop of red onion chutney I.’s verdict was that the coating was stronger than the cheese. I noticed that either comment stopped the plates being cleared!
Three of us chose the Catch of the Day which that day was Sea Bass, but could have been trout. Either way, we were happy. The fish was perfectly cooked and came on the bed of a massive mixed green salad that had been coated in a sharp dressing and accompanied by, for my taste, superfluous sliced boiled eggs.
The amount of salad unusually defeated me, but not the others. M. went for the potato topped Venison pie with red cabbage which, as a self-confessed aficionado of that particular meat, he regarded as just ordinary.
However, the fish and the venison were swapped and H. polished it off with little comment other than the value for such good food is excellent. My sentiments entirely.
The three fish eaters also had puddings which took the price to over the £10 so it seems unfair to say anything other than we all cleared our plates of a very sweet Banoffie Pie, a decent slice of chocolate ginger torte and a tall glass of Affogatto that was attractively layered but with too much ice in the otherwise scrummy ice cream.
There were no minstrels this time in this old Georgian ballroom but good company and a great value lunch served by pleasant staff made for new memories.