Lunch at Howies, Edinburgh Old Town

24 Oct 2018

I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that as soon as I have a trip booked, I jump straight on Tripadvisor and look at all the top places to go and eat in that area. I like to feel at least a little bit organised and like I have some idea of where I'm going to end up. The only problem is that I completely forget about everything I've read (note to self: start using notebooks more). Sometimes, this is a bit of an issue because I tend to get in a bit of a flap when I have no structure, but luckily, on our recent trip to Edinburgh, Alex and I stumbled across Howies in the old town. Granted, it was pouring down with rain and we needed somewhere to eat, but we were both so impressed with it that it was definitely worth telling all of you about.

Howies was launched in 1990 by David Howie Scott. He had dreamed about opening his own restaurant after finding a passion for food and cooking whilst helping his mother in the kitchen. 28 years later, he has now opened three Howies restaurants in Edinburgh and Aberdeen, as well as Scott's Kitchen in Edinburgh, which serves up breakfasts, hearty lunches and home baked goods. But what makes Howies so special is that it prides itself on serving locally sourced, seasonal Scottish food 7 days a week. And to make that even better, the menu is extremely affordable considering that it is made up of local produce, so the restaurant is budget-friendly and accessible. I was surprised by just how affordable it was, but we enjoyed a two course meal with drinks for a little over £30, so it was ideal for us.
From the outside, the restaurant looked pretty busy, but we were seated very quickly and comfortably. It was a little TARDIS-like, in that it looked fairly small from the outside, but it was actually really spacious. There were plenty of cute little nook tables and larger ones for big parties, so it seemed like somewhere that was ideal for any occasion.

And speaking of occasions, their drinks menu was certainly impressive and had something to suit every need. I'm talking about over 20 wines by the glass, Scottish craft beers, and whiskies and gin from across Scotland. I opted for an Irn Bru, because when in Scotland! Alex was a little more adventurous, ordering a Bitter and Twisted cocktail and stating "we're on holiday." This was a concoction of malt whisky, angostura bitters, lemon juice & ginger ale served with ice & lemon. As the name would suggest, the sip that I took was a little too bitter for me, so I was perfectly happy with my Irn Bru and the table water. Alex absolutely loved it though!
For our food, we decided to order from the 2 course for £11.95 menu. We couldn't believe the variety of food that it included and we couldn't fault the price point, so I chose the charred chicken that you can see above. This came on a bed of potato and smoked bacon terrine, creamed hispi cabbage, spinach, grain mustard and tarragon, however, I'm pretty certain my terrine was missing the bacon, which was a little bit disappointing. That being said, the chicken was absolutely beautiful. It was cooked to perfection - juicy and tender - and the crumb on top just added such a gorgeous texture. I also loved the veg that it sat on top of, so there wasn't a single morsel left on my plate!
Alex was after something hearty to combat the cold weather we'd been having, so he chose the casserole of the day, which just so happened to be lamb - one of his favourite meats. Even though I loved my meal, I couldn't help but be envious of his because it looked simply scrumptious. There were chunks of melt-in-your-mouth lamb, chopped carrots, leeks, onions and an army of potatoes, so it was a true home comforts meal. Sadly Alex was suffering with the flu throughout our trip, making distinguishing taste difficult, but he happily described the lamb casserole and accompanying whiskey cocktail as “the perfect warming pick me up.” However, he did let me sample his food and oh my goodness, was it good. It tasted like something my mum would have made int he slow cooker. The meat fell apart perfectly, the veg made the best accompaniment and the potatoes were like heaven. It really was difficult to suppress the green-eyed monster!
As always with a 2 course meal, you can either have a starter and a main, or a main and a pud. Alex and I are self-proclaimed pudding people, so we perused the dessert menu before making our order. It was pretty easy for me and I went for the sticky toffee pudding without any hesitation. You just can't go wrong with a good sticky toffee pud and this one was absolutely brilliant. The cake was moist and was topped off with the gooiest, most flavoursome toffee sauce. It was piping hot too, which was great for battling the weather, but it also made the scoop of vanilla ice cream melt into a sumptuously creamy puddle around it. It was honestly like heaven!
Alex opted for the banoffee pie and it was completely different to what I was expecting. It was more like a cheesecake than your 'normal' banoffee pie, but it was seriously tasty. Again, Alex let me have a try, and it was super light and packed full of banana flavour. It featured a biscuit base, layers of banana, toffee, whipped cream and toasted almonds, which all worked in harmony to produce a stunning dessert. It was seriously moreish and I could have quite gladly eaten more.

By the time we had finished, we were completely stuffed! Like I mentioned at the start, this meal only cost us a little over £30, which I think is very reasonable for two people for a lunch of this quality. Everything was exceptional and tasted divine, and you could tell that a high standard of ingredients had been used. If you ever find yourself in Edinburgh's Old Town, I really recommend that you check Howies out. Even if you don't pop in to eat, it's location makes it the ideal spot to stop for a drink whilst on a shopping spree!

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  1. We recently went on holiday to Edinburgh and absolutely fell in love with Howie's! Everything there is so delicious. I got the chicken main and banofee pie too - great minds think alike!

    1. Yes, it's such a hidden gem! And you're absolutely right... great minds DO think alike ;) x

  2. Sounds lush and really good value too - we might visit Edinburgh this December so will check their festive menu out x

    1. I DEFINITELY recommend it, Sam! I'm not sure what their Christmas menu is like, as it was the wrong time of the year when we were there, but having a look won't hurt x