Dinner at Howies in the West End

Last night I went for dinner at Howies at One Alva Street, Edinburgh. This restaurant opened in January 2005 and is the latest addition to this chain of restaurants in Edinburgh. We originally tried to book Beluga in the morning, but this was full, whereas Howies could still find us a reservation on the day.

Howies restaurant, One Alva Street, Edinburgh

The restaurant is located in the basement and its split into three distinct dining areas. It was a little confusing on arrival as there were no staff in the small bar area as you enter. After standing around confused for a few minutes we walked through to the main dining area and caught the attention of a waitress; who happily found our reservation and we sat down on a corner table for two. It was very busy when we arrived and with low ceilings and close proximity tables the acoustics meant most people were raising their voices to compete; certainly not a place to go if you want a quiet dining experience.

You choose the meal from a set menu, costing £16.50 for two courses or £18.95 for three: although a fair number of the dishes had surcharges. If vacating the table before 7.30pm they do a cheaper deal.

We both opted for the Haggis starter and I had a main of Chicken, served with potatoes in a honey and mustard sauce. While my dining partner had a roast confit of ducks leg served on a bed of mash potato. I thought the Haggis could have done with more of the tasty sauce, but in itself was tasty stuff. This was a generous sized starter. My dining partners duck scored highly with her, especially the quality of the mash potato. I enjoyed my chicken, as the portion size was fairly decent, although I wouldn’t choose it again; the sauce was interesting, but not in any way stunning.

Haggis starter at Howies restaurant, One Alva Street, Edinburgh Chicken and potatoes main course at Howies restaurant, One Alva Street, Edinburgh Banoffee desert at Howies restaurant, One Alva Street, Edinburgh

Bottles of wine ranged from around £11 to the £30 mark. A typical 250ml glass of white cost £4, bottles of Budvar were £3 a time and Vodka Tonic cost £3.20 a time.

For dessert I had Banoffee, which was a delight to eat and the highlight of my meal. The other desert we ordered was Lemon and Lime tart, whose pastry was very good, but I thought as a whole it could have been better.

All in all I enjoyed the meal and at ¬£18.95 for three decent courses, it’s a fair deal. The service was happy and smiling and the food all came out in good time, although there was a lot of rearranging tables and noise. Howies seem to do a decent trade, especially with larger groups. It’s not a great place for two persons to head to, but for a group of friends or family there should be enough to suit everyones taste, within everyones budget.

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