Well priced, early 20th century style Parisian bistros are a current British restaurant trend that is very welcome, especially when they are executed with such care as at The Honours in Edinburgh’s New Town. With a playful black and gold interior, Martin Wishart has created a relaxing environment where diners can eat well prepared classics, some with twists, for a fraction of the cost of Michelin set menu with all the satisfaction.
True Parisian bistros are frenetic, bordering on chaotic; that’s their charm. With a lively full house, The Honours waiting staff busily rush about the dining room making sure that guest are well looked after, recreating the atmosphere perfectly. Starters kick the evening-off to solidly with homemade potato gnocchi served in a beurre noisette and a touch of sage. Luscious rich squid ink risotto is pepped-up with a zing of ginger, cauliflower and an oozing coddled egg; very satisfying.
Mains wise, both the rabbit à la moutarde and Madeira glazed sirloin are unashamedly simple dishes that are elevated by flawless cooking and great seasoning. The crispy pork belly though is the dish that is the real surprise. A surf and turf of sorts, accompanied by tender scallops, enveloped in a heavenly foam and served with the rich earthiness of Puy lentils; the whole dish just hums with pleasure.
Desserts don’t disappoint either (which is rare) with the caramel délice with a mandarin sorbet getting the whole table’s seal of approval. Though the best things about The Honours is that after such a rewarding meal, with not a single blunder, you’ll walk away feeling like you got exceptional value for money. Wishart can certainly be said to be serving food at the level of London’s Clos Maggiore of Gauthier. We’d wager that his second location will become an Edinburgh institution if it keeps delivering above expectation.