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The Honours, Edinburgh, history and cuisine under one roof

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Word has it that this Edinburgh cuisine landmark was once ‘James Bond’ actor Sean Connery’s favorite eatery when Cosmo Tamburri ran his Italian restaurant here back in the '70s.
Seeing satisfaction on the faces of diners in what is now The Honours, I’d bet it won’t be long before it becomes so again, if it hasn’t already. Centrally located in the city, the brasserie - one of three eateries owned by chef Martin Wishart - provides a warm and welcome respite after a shopping expedition or a simple, meandering stroll along nearby George Street and its immediate environs.
Clients enter from the steeply-sloping North Castle Street into an intimate, cozy area comprising a simple reception desk and a well-stocked bar running almost the entire length of a side wall. Pre-meal drinks are served at comfortable soft seating in an open lounge area featuring turquoise and black leather seats. This allows guests the opportunity to have a leisurely read of the menu before entering the restaurant proper beside it.
Small, delicate amuse bouche including mini-haggis and couscous bonbons ably tantalize one’s appetite especially when accompanied by cool glasses of champagne. Facing difficulty with reading the menu, you will be pleasantly surprised to be handed a second pair by one of the attentive waiters.
Established by Martin Wishart in 2011 The Honours’ brasserie-like concept offers a marriage of the classic with the contemporary. The floor is of chocolate and butterscotch-colored marble and the ceiling, with its black abstract twig-like stripes, grants greater sense of depth to the internal space.
The whole is enhanced by wall-length mirrors and delicate Parisian lamps. Subtle hints of gold set off this simple bi-color scheme. The Honours is a well-known addition to Edinburgh’s many eateries and its name resonates closely with Scotland’s history and legend. It refers to the occasion when Sir Walter Scott — who lived nearby — uncovered the Scottish crown jewels, also known as The Honours of Scotland, reputedly the oldest such jewels in the British Isles.
Scottish produce dominate the menu with a generous variety of local fish including bream, lemon sole, John Dory and halibut as well as lamb, rabbit and beef. Shellfish include crab from Lough Fyne in the Highlands and scallops from the north-easterly Orkney Islands.
The atmosphere over dinner could best be described as relaxing and informal with a lively buzz of conversation in the air and a waiter/waitress service that, while observant, is in no way over-fussy or pestering.
Subdued lighting and the restaurant’s division into several separate discreet areas adds to the overall sense of well-being, enhanced by soft background music. As well as dinner, The Honours offers lunch time and pre-theater meals.

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