Monday, 9 August 2010
Howie's, Morningside, Edinburgh
Classy lunch, slick service and not an ounce of pretentiousness!
This week, my usual routine of a Saturday night out (incorporating a meal of course) was interrupted due to boring technical difficulties and instead, I decided to have an extravagant Sunday lunch. No baguettes or chips for the Vindaloo Queen this week! As the city centre was fit to burst because of some festival or other (don't know what that could be, not heard anything about it but apparently lots of tourists go, aren't I sarky?!), we headed up to Morningside, my new favourite area of the city. Bypassing my old faithful Lee-On after last month's debacle, we headed to the leafier, more polished Morningside Road and I immediately got excited at a treasure trove of bars, cafes and restaurants to sample and review. Some were ominously empty, some were closed and some were fit to burst. Howie's stood invitingly on the corner.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but Howie's has the appearance of an old bank. Once you are inside, the mixture of old architecture and crisp modern furnishings and tableware creates a cosy yet spacious atmosphere. It is a bit like a Tardis- it seems small and squashed but once inside, it is surprisingly spacious with room to manoeuvre and you can still have a private conversation here. For me, there is nothing worse than being nudged and shoved and hearing snippets of supposedly private conversations. After a warm welcome, we were shown to a roomy table for two and given beautiful fresh crusty bread and butter. On a Sunday, they have a special lunch menu for £8.99 but as I am veggie, the same meal was on the normal menu for 8! Always the sneaky bargain hunter...
The starter was a Tomato and Basil soup; this was fresh, plummy and piquant. The quality was evident in its texture and it definitely was not any of your bog standard Heinz tinned rubbish. Chives, basil, tomatoes and onions got on extremely well together in this little party in a bowl!
For the main, I opted for the vegetarian kievs with a side order of wedges. I was surprised at the superb quality of the wedges; they were definitely homemade. Sadly, I have become accustomed to being served up the frozen rubbish and was overjoyed to taste spuds so fresh. The kievs were a brilliant, experimental dish for veggies sick of getting fobbed off with mushroom risotto and bland pasta which so many British restaurants seem fond of. These spherical treats (see pic) were a rich combination of lentils, garlic and other herbs rolled in breadcrumbs, served on a bed of chunky courgette, minted peas and parsley.
The portions were not huge but they were filling, proving good things do come in small packages and appearances can be deceptive- excuse my corny choice of cliches please! This is quality food and most certainly not for gluttons used to Jimmy Chungs and N**do's (don't make me swear). Veggies like me will be impressed at the thought gone into the veggie creations; hats off to Howie's for pushing the boat out and being imaginative when creating a meal for us. The effort is appreciated and you have a repeat customer in me.