The last time I got dressed up and took longer than 10 minutes on my makeup was in March, 2 weeks before lockdown. Mr GT and I got on a train to Edinburgh and dined at the acclaimed Six by Nico and had an absolutely wonderful time. Little did I know that the next time I would board a train to eat out in an Edinburgh restaurant would be 6 months later.
The venue was Howies in Waterloo Place, a long standing favourite for Edinburgh diners young and old. This time Mr GT was ditched in favour of the bestie. The excitement of food, wine and gossip in Edinburgh – it was almost too much.
After possibly the most civilised (and expensive) glass of wine I have ever had in my life at the Balmoral Hotel’s Bar Prince (successfully avoiding the crowds, actually, successfully avoiding pretty much everybody) we headed to the restaurant.
There are two Howies restaurants in Edinburgh but the beautiful and impressive Waterloo place venue, tucked beneath Calton Hill is the flagship. the Georgian building is actually an old debating hall and it certainly is a bit of an architectural treasure, with a rather grand, spacious interior. The restaurant was doing a swift trade and we were seated in the smaller Calton Room (which can be booked for private dining). It is a slightly less impressive and airy part of the restaurant but still lovely.
Wine ordered (it is BYOB Monday – Thursday but not at the weekend) it was time for the main event. Howies do a fantastic lunch deal of £12.75 for two courses or £15.75 for three courses. Amongst the starter delights there was Whipped Crowdie and Mascarpone with tomatoes, pepper, mint and red onion and Haggis, Neeps and Tatties with Thyme Jus; however I opted for Belhaven Trout Pate with fresh creamed horseradish, shallots, capers and oatcakes.
At Howies the presentation is always rather lovely and the portion sizes are great. Not so small that you plan a burger run later in the day but small enough that you are most definitely going to manage pudding!
There was lots of pate packed into a little glass jar and it was beautifully light and creamy with the capers and horseradish giving it a nice tart edge. I could have done with one more oatcake but perhaps I am just a little on the greedy side. It was a thoroughly enjoyable starter.
It was hard to choose from the lovely array of main courses on offer but it turned out to be a Chicken Pot Pie kind of a day for both of us. The chicken was cooked in Thistly Cross Cider and Sage Cream with a Isle of Mull Cheese Pastry. The pie was a warm hug of a thing, all creamy and warm inside and satisfyingly flaky on top – however I was not really getting the cider or sage. It was lovely but not utterly stunning which is not how I would describe the star of the show.
HOWIES FAMOUS BANOFFEE PIE
Whomever came upon the combination of a crisp biscuit base, layered with bananas, sweet gooey caramel and lashings of freshly whipped cream, is a genius. It is a superb pudding in any restaurant but Howies creation is renowned and it is in my opinion THE ONLY dessert to order. Now this WAS an utterly stunning end to a lovely meal.
We were evicted to accommodate a wedding but thankfully we were allowed to continue our coffees and more wine whilst soaking up some early Autumn sun and watching the world go by.
It was a wonderfully wine drenched, foodie sort of a day and certainly worthy of lipstick.
If you want to find out more about Howies and try it out for yourself then click the link www.howies.uk.com
More from the (not so healthy this week) Grumbling Tummy soon