The Honours – a new Brasserie from Martin Wishart

“To do the honours of a table gracefully, is one of the outlines of a well-bred man” Rev Dr John Trussler, Author “Rules for Behaviour During Meals for the Use of Young People”

The lounge area

From the moment of hearing that Michelin starred Chef Martin Wishart was to be opening a city-centre Brasserie style restaurant in Edinburgh there has been a lot of excited buzz about “The Honours”. The website certainly doesn’t give much away still being essentially a holding page with the contact details to facilitate booking so it was with completely open minds (yet very high expectations) that Strawberry Blonde & I were lucky enough to secure a lunch table there on its 3rd day of business.

a cheeky Dirty Martini aperitif

The greeting on arrival was jovial and welcoming, being the first to arrive I was welcome to sit wherever I wished, the bar, the lounge or at the table to await my companion! A glass of water was promptly brought & I perused the drinks menu. There were a number of cocktail options, which gave me a wee hankering for a dirty martini! It wasn’t on the menu and on inquiring if it were possible, we were told it would be added to the list they are compiling of feedback which will be evaluated in a month or so to see how they may improve their offering. Then, a marvellously moustached barman offered to make us one anyway, proffering several options of gin or vodka, wow!

Our table

Gleefully sipping our drinks in the lounge area we admired the decor, a huge difference from the days when it was Cosmos! (they even obliged us with a before & after photo). The animated chatter from the restaurant itself washed over us and we felt perfectly at home. The decor was wonderful, soothing and comfortable, with marble walls and floors, bright turquoise leather sofas and chairs matched with geometric shapes on the walls and ceilings, slatted blinds and elegant yet robust driftwood ‘flowers’.

SB’s Scallop starter

After leisurely enjoying our drinks we were taken through to the restaurant and shown to our table, menus were brought and the deliberations began. Being a Martin Wishart restaurant there was a heavy seafood influence, unfortunately I was unable to have many of the shellfish based dishes although they sounded lovely! Both SB and I for once, found it very difficult to choose our courses, nothing really jumped out and grabbed me which is unusual. After a bit of to-ing & fro-ing and some help from the waiting staff I settled on a Tuna tartare to start and a Rabbit dish for my Main. Strawberry Blonde went for a Scallop starter and a Rib Eye Steak for Main.

my Tuna tartare

The wine waiter gave us a great recommendation for a white to accompany our starters however was very open about the fact that where Reds are concerned her forte lies with Italian offerings so we took the decision in  our own hands to try an interesting sounding French Malbec.

The starters came and were colourful and fresh and we couldn’t wait to get stuck in, so much so that I actually realised I hadn’t even tried the white wine until my last mouthful of my tuna, oops! We hadn’t stopped smiling since we got there and it just kept getting better! We were also delighted to find that our favourite Edinburgh waitress (who we had been so impressed with at Wedgwood some months earlier) was now at The Honours and it was lovely to see her again.

Rib Eye Steak and a Spinach side

The Mains again looked delicious, my rabbit was melting off the bone tasty and luckily for me, SB was starting to feel full so I got a fair amount of her steak too! The French Malbec was a winner with a lot more subtlety and complexity than an Argentinian one, I think we could easily become converts. We were far too stuffed for the cheeseboard we had promised ourselves but were enjoying The Honours experience so much we didn’t want to leave!  After savouring the last of our wine we ordered coffees and basked in that delightfully satisfied feeling you get after a truly lovely dining experience. Looks like my top 10 needs some re-jigging!

The Verdict – when can I go back? I think The Honours is going to set a new standard for Brasserie style dining in Edinburgh, high quality food, exceptional service in a relaxed modern environment. The prices were very reasonable – I’ve often paid more for totally substandard experiences in other places. At no point were we rushed and nothing was too much trouble for the staff with their ready smiles and clear eagerness and pride in this venture! I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it and would definitely think about returning for the Prix Fixe or Pre Theatre offerings. With over 1400 bookings until the end of August already in the diary, I’d recommend getting on the blower as soon as you can!

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

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10 Responses to “The Honours – a new Brasserie from Martin Wishart”

  1. July 18, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    Great review Nadine, based on this I have booked a group of us in for lunch on Thursday. Very much looking forward to it!

    • July 18, 2011 at 10:48 am #

      You’ll really enjoy it Ian, we had a super time there! Just don’t drop your mobile phone into your food whilst trying to photograph it! :o)

  2. Strawberry Blonde
    July 18, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    We visited two days ago and I’ve already called to book again! The most sensuously appealing brasserie in Edinburgh – can’t think of an occasion or an excuse for which it wouldn’t be a great treat!

    • July 18, 2011 at 11:00 am #

      Funnily enough, I’m also booking again for when a good friend comes up to stay in September! I think we’re on to a winner here!

  3. July 22, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    Completely agree Nadine, it was a great dining experience!!
    Lots of Edinburgh eateries could learn a thing or two from The Honours!

    • July 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

      So glad you enjoyed it, I was very jealous when I saw your tweets from there! I will be returning soon though that’s for sure!

  4. November 24, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    Better late than never! This was an important call as it was our 23rd Wedding Anniversary and needed to be just right. Indeed it was just as good as you described in terms of the food, service and atmosphere. What was a pleasant surprise was the mix of clientele which ranged from young couples to grandparents in family groups and all ages in between. One tip is to make sure that you are seated away from the kitchen and on the south side as you might find yourself in a busy thoroughfare otherwise. I’ll certainly be back and hopefully before the next anniversary.

    • November 24, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

      Hey Richard, so glad you8 enjoyed it! I was actually back there for lunch on Tuesday (a lovely rolled Fillet steak) and enjoyed it just as much again! Definitely going to be on my favourites list for some time to come :o)


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