Howies – Bruntsfield, Edinburgh

Recently, and bear with me on this one, I upgraded my Bank account to a special account that gives you a bunch of freebies and helpful phone and Internet services, one of these is for eating out and getting a nice 25% off your bill!

Thanks very much we thought and decided to book Howies in Bruntsfield, a very atmospheric restaurant in a lovely building and location. I had expected that the experience would be dampened by the 25% off deal, as we would get lesser a table or service.

There was a problem with the booking where the Internet service for booking the restaurants didn’t actually tie up with Howies system. This means that the Internet service phone Howies each night with the new bookings, and considering that Howies is taking bookings from a number of sources, including directly with customers, you can imagine that it’s not guaranteed. We never knew any of this when booking. Add to that the fact that the Internet service also has half hourly intervals for booking tables, Howies does not operate tables in that way and therefore didn’t have the eight o’clock sitting that we’d booked.

Give them their credit though, they had tried phoning the daytime number I had entered for my registration on the site a number of times to try and clear things up. My daytime is of course my work number, and I was on holiday for two days! So we turned up, and were none the wiser, just seated and served. It was only at the end of the meal when the Manager talked to us and told us the issue, asking if we had received their messages, and then all was clear.

So we began the meal, brought a lovely bottle of Barolo from home and paid the £3 corkage fee to drink it, and ordered.

Chicken Liver with Brandy pate with Oatcakes and Salad

Mussels

Lamb Chump with Sweet Potatoes

Smoked Haddock Lasagne

Cheese and Oatcakes

Banoffi Pie

What we ate…

The starters were really nice, although there could’ve been a few more Mussels on the plate because they were so good, not a single closed one. The pate was rough and very rich, and there was more than a healthy serving.

For the mains, the lamb was good, although it wasn’t as strong a taste as I had been expecting, the sweet potatoes were very moist and soft but added a lovely taste with the lamb. The £3 supplement for the lamb was a little surprising, but with 25% anyway it was worth a try. The Lasagne was probably the weirdest looking option, but it was lovely. More of Haddock atop a Lasagne, but the combination was unusual and tasty.

The cheeses were nice, although not overly strong, and that added another £2 supplement to the bill. As for the Banoffi Pie, that was quite disappointing with a very mild flavour and not the richness you associate with a such a desert.

Overall the service was good, polite and friendly. The atmosphere makes this little Howies a particularly nice place to eat, and the ever changing Howies menu is often the most attractive quality of these restaurants. Despite the additional charges, the booking problems, and some of the food lacking a richness, it was still a good evening out and a very enjoyable meal. The Barolo did certainly help!

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