Edinburgh restaurants

Martin works his magic at new brasserie The Honours

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Our visit to Martin Wishart’s new Brasserie created such excitement that we increased our numbers from 20-25 and could have easily filled a table of 35.

The reputation of Wishart’s Michelin-starred restaurant in Leith had people chomping at the bit to try his new city-centre brasserie offering.  And The Honours did not disappoint. So good is it that Richard Bath’s glowing review in the Scotland on Sunday last week opened with the line “If you’re lucky enough to get a seat at Martin Wishart’s new brasserie, The Honours, then cancel everything else and go”. Read the review

Along with Head Chef Paul Tamburrini, Wishart has created something very special.

The decor is lovely, a contrast of dark and light complemented by perfect lighting. It feels contemporary without the starkness that can sometimes by the enemy of intimacy and atmosphere. The picture below of of the lounge area (I didn’t take any of the dining area).


The service was great too. The team were super. It makes dining out such a wonderful experience when you are given the impression that nothing is too much trouble and your pleasure is upmost in the minds of those serving. It’s no mean feat looking after a group of 25 people and Steven and his team  did it beautifully.

And so on to the menu. As a large group, we chose the Prix Fixe menu at £19.50 for 3 courses. Amazingly good value. And wines started at just £15 per bottle.


The starter of smoked kipper parfait with salsa verde. Rich and creamy, perfectly complemented by the greenery which was dressed very tastily.


For me, the bavette of beef was the highlight. Just look at the colours. It was cooked to perfection. To do that once or twice is easy but 25 times is a bit more challenging! It was tender. It was medium rare. It was divine. The dauphinoise potatoes were great too. I hadn’t seen braised lettuce on a menu before. It was delicious and I enjoyed it so much I ordered more!


And another picture so you can see the braised lettuce.


The Honours earned further brownie points for offering this salmon option for the three in our party who don’t eat red meat but do eat fish.


The chocolate delice was a delight. It was one of the mmmmm desserts which get your tastebuds very excited. The crispy bits (technical term!) absolutely made it.


And to finish…

I was so charmed that I failed to take a photo. This picture is from The List

I met the Marvellous Mr Wishart in his kitchen and we had a chat. He’s lovely. I could see why his service team is so good. He’s clearly passionate about what he does and luckily for us Edinburghers, he’s on our doorstep. If you haven’t already, open the door!

I’ve wasted no time in booking our next visit. And I’m going to need a third to try the full menu. I can see The Honours becoming the kind of habit you don’t want to break.

58a Castle Street, Edinburgh EH2 3LU
0131 220 2513

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Have you been to The Honours, what did you think?
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Castle Terrace Does It Again

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Since my first visit Castle Terrace Restaurant I’ve been smitten. You can read about it on my Diva blog here. It was a most wonderful lunch and I hoped Castle Terrace would be able to recreate the same magic for a group of 20 of us from Sunday Brunch Club for our Easter Saturday lunch.

What I love about Castle Terrace is that it’s fine dining in a relaxed setting with super service. At an amazing price. The 3 course lunch is just £20. While this is a similar price to many other restaurants, the presentation of the dishes, the attention to detail in service and of course the inventiveness and deliciousness of the dishes makes it stand head and shoulders above most in a similar price bracket.

It’s easy to see why Castle Terrace has won a Michelin ‘Rising star’ and Newcomer of the year at the Scottish Restaurant Awards this year. All this within just 8 months of opening last year.

Here’s a little visual taster for you…

The smoked salmon mousse and cucumber cappuccino amuse bouche.  This was described by one of our party as “the most delicious cucumber flavour I’ve ever tasted”. It was heavenly. The cucumber, smooth light and fluffy with the rich salmon mousse beneath.


The starters

This was the option that got provoked much discussion. Can you tell what it is? I think you’d struggle. It’s smoked eel panna cotta served with red onion and a poached quail egg. I was dubious so didn’t choose this but one of the people who did said it was delicious. That’s the eel on the left and the panna cotta on the right. I’d thought from reading the menu that the eel would be in the panna cotta.

And look at the presentation. What a beautiful dish. I look the way the apple and onions are arranged on the eel. Will try this one another time. I can’t recall ever having had eel.


I opted for the crispy braised shoulder of wild rabbit served on a puree of mini gem lettuce and bacon. I enjoy rabbit so was delighted to see this on the menu.


The two vegetarians in our party were delighted to find that Castle Terrace has an additional vegetarian lunch menu offering 3 choices for each course, as us meat eaters had. “It’s a refreshing approach to make do and mend, let’s cobble something together”. The starter shown below is ravioli of fresh herbs and Highland crowdie cheese served with a light tomato sauce and crushed black pepper.


And finally the pan fried fillet of red mullet served on a raw vegetable salad. Again another beautifully presented dish.


The mains…

For me the highlight of the lunch was roasted rump of lamb served with basil gnocchi, aubergine, tomato and a kidney brochette. The lamb was pink and tender, the gravy rich and flavourful and the gnocchi was pan-fried for a perfect finish. I was in heaven.


Others had ling (fish, not pictured), Braised Ayrshire pork cheek served in a blanquette of spring vegetables with crispy potatoes.


This is one of the vegetarian options: a selection of home-made potato gnocchi served with tomato confit.


And on to the sweets

I had the crème brûlée on a previous visit. And it was very good. It went down very well judging by all the mmming and aahing that went on!


And I choose the lemon tart which was incredible. The other option was cheese served from the trolley at a £6 supplement (not pictured).


And afterwards tea, coffee and petit fours. Petit fours not pictured as they went in a flash!


Wines and other drinks
I receive questions sometimes about wine/drink prices, so thought I’d include a few basics.

It is possible to push the boat out and find something very special on Castle Terrace’s extensive wine list but equally it’s possible to bag a super wine for just £20. We went for a Languedoc-Roussillon viognier and merlot at £20 per bottle for the table which were both excellent. Some of our party opted for the matched wines, a real treat, and just £17.50 per person.

Vodka or gin and tonics were £5.50 and coffees £3.50.

It was so so good.

Maxim looked after us without a hitch. I eat out with groups often and know how challenging it can be for waiting staff, especially in finer restaurants more used to smaller parties. I was very impressed with the way he knew the full menu for everyone, looked after the vegetarians (without needing to be reminded), kept our wine glasses topped up all whilst being professional and friendly and giving the impression nothing was too much trouble.

I was stunned when on returning from a visit to the ladies, I returned to find a lid over my plate to keep it warm. Maxim if you’re ever looking for another job…

I think the secret is the staff training at Castle Terrace and generous staffing levels. It makes such a difference to be looked after so beautifully.

So they’ve done it again. I really can’t fault it.
Castle Terrace makes it look so easy.

33/35 Castle Terrace, Edinburgh EH1 2EL
0131 229 1222
Castle Terrace Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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We’d love to hear your comments below.
Have you been to Castle Terrace, what did you think?

Brunch at Malmaison

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We’ve had a lot of brunches and dinners at Malmaison. I like it there, good food, relaxed ambience and great bar area and patio (when the sun’s shining) to while away an afternoon.

Our visit at the end of January was no exception. We were treated to a very tasty 3 course lunch.

So here we go. I ordered the eggs benedict. I just love eggs benedict on a Sunday and this one didn’t disappoint.

Eggs benedict at Malmaison
Eggs benedict - A lovely start

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Dinner at The Bonham Restaurant

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The Bonham Restaurant has an excellent reputation. We went there last some years ago and decided it was about time we went again. And with the unbelievably good Boozy Snoozy offer now being extended to a Thursday evening we couldn’t resist. Boozy Snoozy offers diners 3 courses and half a bottle of wine for around £20 with 4 options for each course.

So last Thursday 16 of us (this is the most that The Bonham could accommodate for this 4/4/4 menu) went along to enjoy this weeknight treat and kickoff our weekends early.

I like the restaurant’s decor. Very simple with wooden floorboards, dark wood and statement light fittings.

So to the food! It was very good. 

Ham and potato terrine at The Bonham
Ham and potato terrine. A little out of focus

I opted for the pigeon was was very good and worked really well with the black pudding.

Pan-fried pigeon supreme at The Bonham
Pan-fried pigeon supreme with black pudding salad

Main courses

Chicken supreme at The Bonham
Roast chicken supreme wish mash potato petit pois a la francaise
Seared sea bream at The Bonham
Seared sea bream with fettuccini and chorizo fricassee
Pan fried rump steak at The Bonham
Pan fried rump steak with dauphinoise potatoes

There were other delicious options – including vegetarian – not pictured here. 

A wonderful evening of good food and company. The quality of the food and inclusion of wine make Boozy Snoozy exceptional value. Well worth a visit.

Our next brunch is at Angels with Bagpipes read Edinburgh Diva’s review here. If you’d like to join us book here.

35 Drumsheugh Gardens Edinburgh EH3 7RN
0131 274 4444


Restaurant at The Bonham Hotel on Urbanspoon

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Dinner at Prestonfield House Hotel

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It is becoming something of a habit. The sort of habit one doesn’t want to give up.
This is my third visit to Prestonfield House Hotel in four weeks! You can read about my previous visits for champagne afternoon tea with the girls and the Sunday Brunch Club Christmas Dinner.

I looked forward to this dinner with some excitement.  Sixteen of us went along to enjoy the delights of the Prestonfield experience.

Dinner at Prestonfield House Hotel - Table
The table

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Christmas Dinner at Prestonfield House Hotel

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On Friday we went along to Prestonfield House Hotel for the Sunday Brunch Club Christmas Dinner.

Prestonfield has a reputation for luxury, opulence, decadence and indulgence. I’ve twice before, some years ago, and on both occasions food and service were exceptionally good. The Hotel looks simple from the outside but inside is grand, sumptuous and elegant.

Prestonfield House hotel logo

At Christmas it looks particularly wonderful. We entered along the main hall past 2 huge Christmas trees sparkling with twinkly red lights and made our way to our private dining room. There we were greeted by Robin who looked after us all evening. Robin was super, service was efficient, friendly and flirty. OK maybe the last was wishful-thinking!

The 3 course Christmas menu was stunning . There were 4 choices for each course and the it was priced at £39.50 including tea or coffee with petit fours.

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