The latest venture from Martin Wishart – the Michelin-starred chef behind Edinburgh's Restaurant Martin Wishart and Restaurant Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond – eschews high-art cuisine in favour of cosmopolitan brasserie chic. Situated just off stately Queen Street, Honours – named for the moment Sir Walter Scott uncovered the Scottish Crown Jewels – exudes a tasteful, urbane vibe. With stone floors, spotlights and black leather banquettes, its tranquil surrounds are equally suited to dressed-up or dressed-down carousing.
By and large, the kitchen steers clear of cutting-edge flounces, but quality is a given. Suppliers are local where possible (Wishart is as proud a Scot as any), but since the chef insists on the very best for his creations, you’ll find ingredients from further afield where necessary. Scallops from Orkney, Finnish caviar (sustainably sourced, of course), and oysters from a farm established by the monks of Lindisfarne Priory in the 14th century all feature on the menu.
Elsewhere, magnificent grass-fed, dry-aged steaks grilled over charcoal on the centrepiece Josper grill, before being finished with a Madeira glaze, promise to satisfy any beef purists. Ox cheeks and roast loin of roe deer are two more solid bets for carnivores (which is who the menu is clearly aimed at), though there is a rich goat’s cheese gnocchi for non-meat-eaters.
Delicate French desserts, such as white chocolate mousse, passion fruit tart, and apple tarte Tatin – all served with a different sorbet – are designed to round off your meal nicely, while the concise but varied wine list has you covered no matter what you choose to eat. The fixed-price express menu, available at lunch and dinner times Tuesday-Saturday, is an absolute steal, while the five-course ‘Honours Table’ menu is ideal for a special occasion.
Full marks, too, for offering a three-course kids’ menu (£12.50 per child) which offers far more interesting-than-usual options for junior gourmets. Expect the likes of Morteau sausage with French beans and crispy potato cube followed by halibut fish fingers with chips and peas and white chocolate mousse with strawberry sorbet and puffed rice.