Hawke & Hunter’s new all-day Menu

On Monday of this week I was over the moon to get a call from Hawke & Hunter to see if I fancied dropping by with a friend to try out their new menu that they launched this week. Never one to turn down a food related freebie, especially one as good as this, there was no delay and AVM, my first guest blogger, and I visited for lunch on Wednesday.

Situated opposite The Playhouse at the top of Leith Walk it’s a venue that I’ve visited for drinks or business meetings on occasion but never eaten in before. The decor is eclectic and on-trend, cleverly fusing gothic with geometrics and an open fire gives the dining room a cheery, welcoming glow.

What is the new menu? Instead of separate lunch and dinner menus, Hawke & Hunter have created one all day menu. It’s concise, offering 3 starters, 4 mains and 4 desserts and from Sunday through to Thursday they offer 2 for 1!! Usually when given a more slimline menu it’s easy for me to choose what I’m going to have but the dishes all sounded delicious so AVM and I had to be strategic about what we were selecting so we could try as much as possible! (Starters and Desserts all priced around the £5 mark and Mains around £14 and a selection of sides at £2.50)

To start, I went for the Glazed Baby Goats Cheese on a bed of Red Chard and Beetroot with a Coriander oil dressing and AVM, the Terrine of Chicken & Smoked Ham Hough with a Honey Mustard Dressing, toasted Brioche and a Gooseberry & Elderflower Jam. As if that wasn’t enough cheese for me I then decided on the Twice Baked Applewood Soufflé served on a Pumpkin and Sorrel Risotto with Pecorino shavings and Truffle Oil and AVM plumped for the Confit Chicken Leg with creamed Savoy Cabbage, Chorizo Mash and a Red Wine Jus….. feeling hungry yet?!

Unfortunately as it was lunch time and a work day we stuck with soft drinks but thoroughly enjoyed drinking our water out of medieval silver goblets, a nice touch! The dining room was almost full and there was a pleasing, calm and low key hum. There seemed to be a number of business lunches taking place (note to self for future reference!). When the starters arrived they were both visually very pleasing and it did seem a shame to demolish them, don’t worry it didn’t stop us and polishing them off! The goats cheese starter was as delicious as it looked, well-balanced and very tasty and the terrine was a nice robust affair with good flavour combinations.

Now for the mains, again both dishes were very well presented and we couldn’t wait to tuck in, so much so I almost forgot to take photos! The soufflé was rich and the risotto creamy, (I had been warned) so I struggled to finish it (cheese on cheese was a little excessive even by my standards) but AVM’s disappeared in record time, luckily I managed to grab a wee taste before the rabid gull had practically licked her plate clean! (I’m not joking, even the waiter commented on how clean the plate was!).

If you’re an Eating Edinburgh regular you’ll probably know by now that I don’t really do desserts and will usually opt for a cheese board but by this point I was in danger of bursting and time was ticking on. Knowing we wouldn’t have time for a coffee I decided to try the Coffee Crème Brulee, miraculously AVM still seemed to have room and went for the Sticky Toffee Pudding with Cinnamon Ice Cream. (We were really milking this freebie!)

YUM, yum and yum again! I’ve never really been a fan of Crème Brulee but this was outstanding and despite being in danger of recreating a famous Monty Python scene I ate the whole lot, although the accompanying lemon and cinnamon biscuits were well beyond my capabilities. I’m reliably informed that AVM’s also passed muster and the cinnamon ice cream in the ginger snap basket was a lovely touch.

All for the sake of the blog, (who am I trying to kid? we were making the most out of the opportunity!) we did manage to cover off almost half of the menu and I certainly wouldn’t have any hesitation going back and trying the rest of it. There were a lot of lovely touches and the staff were great but I especially loved the cleverly thought out seasonal menu. The prices are in line with city centre standards but the 2 for 1 offer makes it exceptionally good value. True, it didn’t cost us anything and they knew we were going to be there to review it but to be fair everyone else seemed to be enjoying their lunches just as much! Would I put my hand in my own pocket and return? Without doubt although I wouldn’t perhaps be so greedy!

Hawke & Hunter, 12 Picardy Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3JT. 0131 557 0952

AVM “delicious food, attentive service and so cosy you don’t want to leave” (Ed. to be fair I’d eaten so much I almost couldn’t leave!)

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13 Responses to “Hawke & Hunter’s new all-day Menu”

  1. Alex
    November 13, 2010 at 10:58 pm #

    And because it was a freebie you were obliged to write a good review……. next you’ll be getting paid for them like Bite magazine. Not good food review ethics. Even the Scotsman pay!

  2. November 14, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    Haha! I wish I was given free food…(sigh)

    Actually, come to think about it, I am! My brother is a chef and he often gives me free and/or cheap grub. But the reason I tell everyone about Naked Edinburgh (plug plug) is because the food is great! I don’t think the fact I occasionally get special treatment, or the fact it is my brother’s business, particularly lessens my objectivity regarding its quality. Furthermore, if I declare my interest before I make a recommendation, people can draw their own conclusions. I really don’t think that makes my comments ‘unethical’.

  3. Strawberry Blonde
    November 14, 2010 at 9:31 pm #

    @ Ewan – sounds like a tip top recommendation – it’s on my list!

    Having the confidence to invite a reviewer doesn’t imply a venue will get an easy ride – in fact, I rather think it has the potential to elicit even more rigorous criticism – I’m sure you wouldn’t hesitate to tell your brother if he’s not coming up to scratch 😉

  4. November 15, 2010 at 9:48 am #

    I find the implication from Alex that this is a good review just because it was a freebie as a bit odd.
    Surely if that was going to be the case then surely the fact that it was a freebie would have been left out of the review? It seems very clear to me that the reviewer has emphasised the fact that she didn’t pay for the meal and as this isn’t a commercial blog the Scotsman comparison is irrelevant.
    I am not Miss Marple but if Alex knows that the Scotsman pay for reviews it would suggest that they work in the industry, a disgruntled restaurant owner maybe?
    btw I have eaten at Hawke and Hunter on many occasions it is very good!

  5. November 15, 2010 at 10:53 am #

    Thanks for the comments all!

    Eating Edinburgh isn’t a commercial enterprise, it’s just me, ‘joe public’ along with some of my friends blogging about something we enjoy (and do a lot of).

    The honesty of the blog is important to me which is why I feel it is essential to be very open about such matters.
    It’s fair to say that I have, on occasion, been ‘sounded out’ by restaurants asking if I would write a good article in return for a free meal and they have all been told the same thing, yes, I will happily try it out, why ever not?! but, that I will clearly state if it is a ‘freebie’ and I will still be critiquing it in the same way as the others in my review, so it’s entirely up to them.

    As always, I’m delighted to hear from people who have also eaten in any of the establishments I write about and see their comments……

  6. November 15, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    I think its called ‘disclosure’ and it would have been far easier to not mention it was a freebie.

    Good review and plus points for transparency.

  7. Mike
    November 15, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

    I’d say that a restaurant that wasn’t sure of its ability to provide quality food wouldn’t invite a restaurant reviewer for a free meal. If anything, it’s more likely to be a good review because of that than because the reviewer feels some sense of duty to repay them for the offer.

    If you don’t think Nadine is capable of providing impartial reviews, go read another food blog, there’s plenty of them. And they will have all eaten for free as well.

  8. November 15, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    Maybe a freebie does make it taste that little bit sweeter, and maybe this does effect the ‘integrity of a review’. But it could also be said that a writer for an ‘official’ publication could be expected to write something more sensational, thus effecting a review either way.

    As long as a writer is honest about these things and doesn’t try to claim to be/do something they aren’t, then what’s the problem? Nowhere on this blog do I see any claims about the reviews being anything but what they are (in fact they don’t even seem to be referred to as reviews). When talking about ‘my top restaurants’ and ‘my experience’ as the site does, then surely this is a personal thing, if a freebie is part of this experience, then so be it!

    After all, there’s many of us take heed of Nadines recommendations, if they didn’t match up to subsequent experiences, then I’m sure she knows she’d hear about it! 🙂


  9. November 15, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    Delish! I’m hungry now.


  10. November 15, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

    It was right and proper that Nadine declared the ‘freebie’. I say well done for being honest.

    We would have felt decieved if she hadnt and then we later found out.

    I dont see it being a problem if the author gets a free meal providing it is declared in the article and the review is honest. If the author does this then she has no need to justify her position.

  11. November 16, 2010 at 9:49 am #

    Wow, thank you everyone for all your kind comments and messages both through the blog and Twitter, I’m really feeling the love at the moment! :o)

    And I guess the outcome is I’ll just keep going as I have been, as for the most part, people seem to think I’m doing the right thing and enjoying the blog

  12. Strawberry Blonde
    November 19, 2010 at 8:06 pm #

    Lunched at H&H today!

    Thought was pretty quiet for a Friday lunchtime – but very cosy sitting next to the fire … and the Twice Baked Applewood Soufflé hit the spot!

    Nadine – can see why two cheese courses may have beaten even you!

    £35 for two mains, soft drinks and coffees wasn’t the most competitive pricing .. so will be back to take advantage of the 2 for 1 days instead (maybe why the dining room so empty?)

  13. Hazel Hall
    November 21, 2010 at 8:03 pm #

    My pal Sandra and I had dinner at H&H last Wednesday night and I have to say that we really enjoyed ourselves there. The service was so attentive that I asked my dining partner if it was our anniversary. Given that we are married to other people, this was not the case… The food was fabulous, especially the scallops we had for first course and the chocolate mousse that I had (and Sandra wished she had chosen) for pudding. With wine the bill was £66 and well worth every penny. Just think, this is only a tenner more for PizzaExpres for two. I don’t know the nationality of the chef, but on the basis of the mousse he/she is either French or has trained under a French chef. I will definitely be returning to H&H for more.

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