Great Places to Eat in Scotland
- Howies Restaurants, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen
There are four restaurants in and around the city centre of Edinburgh (4/6 Glanville Place in Stockbridge (phone 0131 225 5533), 10/14 Victoria Street (phone 0131 225 1721), 208 Bruntsfield Place (phone 0131 221 1777) and 29 Waterloo Place (phone 0131 556 5766)) and now new premises in Dundee (South Tay Street - phone 01382 200 399) and Aberdeen (Chapel Street -phone 01224 639 500).
Each of the Howies has its own individual character depending on location and design, yet all creating a similar relaxed environment with pine or mahogany-effect tables, stripped wood floors and a buzzing, bustling atmosphere akin to a Parisian brasserie. Service is friendly, quick and efficient from a team of young (often international) staff all adding to the relaxed, free and easy charm of the essential Howie`s atmosphere.
Simple ideas are often the best. The concept behind the thriving group of Howies restaurants is "Fine Food Without the Faff." In other words quality cooking, casual ambience and friendly service at an affordable price.
The key to the success is a fixed price two or three course menu, with a choice of around six dishes for each course. Unlike a typical chain of restaurants, the chefs in each restaurant have the freedom to use their initiative and culinary flair in order to develop their personal reputations. The underlying theme is contemporary Scottish-French cuisine with an international twist using quality, freshly prepared local produce.
Starters may include home-made soup, chicken and brie pot pie, wild mushroom and lentil risotto cake, salad of steamed tiger prawns, fine herbs, orange, coriander and spring onions, or squid with passion fruit sweet and sour sauce.
Moving on to main courses select between duck breast with braised chicory and quince liqueur sauce, casserole of Scotch beef cooked in red wine and fine herbs, grilled red snapper with seafood and tomato bouillabaisse, braised lamb shank with garlic mash and for vegetarians, a spiced parsnip and broccoli filo pastry parcel. Dishes are well presented with generous portions and the emphasis on hearty casseroles, roast meats, grilled fish and imaginative vegetarian choices, all served with a huge platter of potatoes and seasonal vegetables, all adds to the `home-cooked meal` style of cooking. Puddings too are of the homely variety - sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce, roast pears in mulled wine, coconut rice pudding with fresh papaya and (Howies famous) Banoffi pie, and a good cheese board served with chutney and oatcakes. Selective but well priced wine list or bring your own.
Lunch: £7.95 for 2 courses. Dinner: £15.50 for 2 courses, £17.95 for 3 courses. House wine: from £6.90. Bring Your Own Beverage: £3.00 corkage.
This is fine dining on a budget, popular for quick business lunches by day, moving on to leisurely candlelit dinners by night. "Food here is exciting and delicious" says the "Taste of Scotland" and few would argue with that.
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