Great Places to Eat in Scotland
- Hewat's Restaurant, Causewayside, Edinburgh
In a prime site, near the Grange, the Meadows and Marchmont districts of southside Edinburgh, Hewat's can be seen as a local restaurant for nearby residents, University students and staff as well as conveniently located for visitors to the city.
After a long career in the restaurant industry, co-owners Richard and Margaret Hewat (who has worked for over 20 years in 5 star hotels), decided it was time to open their own eponymous restaurant in September 2004.
With its fresh dark red and white frontage and bold black and white chequered flooring, Hewat's has a real French bistro ambience about it. Just inside the front door is a cosy wee bar area for a pre-dinner drink. Around the corner is the L shaped dining room, with high backed upholstered chairs, as well as comfortable banquette seating. Tables are formally set with white linen tablecloths, glistening wine glasses and fresh flowers. The walls are decorated with a fine collection of Scottish artwork. There's also a small private dining room for parties of eight guests.
Head Chef Richard Hewat gained great experience over four years as head chef at Fishers seafood bistro in Leith, Edinburgh, winning the Egon Ronay Best Seafood restaurant award. He then moved into the corporate side of catering, working for the management and board at the Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters. This level of hospitality required the highest quality of cuisine with meticulous attention to detail.
The cuisine is described as Modern Scottish with a slight French accent. Richard's philosophy is to keep the dishes simple using the finest ingredients from Scotland's superb larder of fresh fish, meat, game, fruit and vegetables. For a small intimate restaurant with an equally small team in the kitchen, the dinner menu is impressively wide-ranging. With Richard's experience in Fishers, fish and seafood are well represented. Start perhaps with Mussel and Fish chowder or two very tasty, 'fishy' fish cakes with baby capers and chive mayonnaise. Alternatively a light and deliciously fresh smoked salmon and king prawn salad. For meat eaters there are black pudding and haggis with wild mushroom sauce or for vegetarians, a grilled avocado, red pepper and Brie filo parcel.
A choice of six main courses follow such as Medallions of Aberdeen Angus beef with brandy and peppercorn sauce or roast escalopes of corn fed chicken with morel mushroom sauce and dauphinoise potatoes, baby corn and asparagus. Dishes are well composed and not over complicated with complex flavours or culinary fuss. Portions are perfectly judged so that even after a substantial starter, the main course is not over the top (with room for pudding). Again fish lovers are well catered for. A tender slab of white halibut steak with king scallops on a bed of lobster and potato mash is absolutely fantastic. Meanwhile my dining partner very much enjoyed an unusual aubergine and goat's cheese risotto drizzled with truffle oil, which was an inventive combination.
Sip a glass of wine while you await the dessert menu, which is too tempting to ignore. We shared a classic French lemon tart with raspberries, which ended a superb dinner of exceptional quality.
The great value lunch menu too might entice you along with a similar choice of fine Scottish food. Sunday Lunch is a new initiative (summer 2005) and quickly taking off. Why bother getting hot and bothered in the kitchen at home when you can treat the family or relax with friends at Hewat's? Expect traditional Roast sirloin of beef with Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes, or roast rump of lamb with crushed potatoes. Alternatively salmon, tuna steak or mushroom, spinach and cheese tart - something for every taste and appetite.
See hewatsedinburgh.co.uk for current menu and prices.
First and foremost it's the outstanding value for an outstanding, first rate meal which should make you ring up Hewat's straightaway and reserve a table. There is true professionalism, perfection and passion in the creation of these dishes - you can taste the freshness of food from scallops to salad leaves, in every mouthful. Richard and Margaret deserve every success in their venture - it's a huge commitment and investment to run your own restaurant. But with such good food, friendly service and leisurely atmosphere, Hewat's should become well established very soon with a queue of regular diners at the door.
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