Let’s set the scene. An old patisserie resembling a bistro in the Marais, Paris. white linen tablecloths, flickering candle light, bentwood café chairs, wine bottles stacked to the ceiling, Edith Piaf on repeat, dinner cooked by Neil ‘Scottish chef of the year 2011’ Forbes– where am I? Welcome to Café St Honore, Thistle Street Lane, Edinburgh, where Gallic meets Gaelic in award-winning mouthfuls. Locally supplied provenance is choice du jour for Mr Forbes, and why not when Scotland is his oyster?
Having dined in typical neighbourhood bistros in Paris on several occasions, Mr Predictable and I were super excited about this particular assignment. With immediate reminders of one of our favourite Parisian bistros, Le Taxi Jaune on Rue Chapon, this was going to be ‘impressionnant’.
We were seated in a cosy corner near the window overlooking the rest of the bistro. Tables are close together but the intimate atmosphere is part of the experience. Excellent wine list, we opted for a French Voignier at £20.50. Menu, limited and on the expensive side but it covers all bases, something for him (meat), something for me (fish). We chose from the A La Carte menu but set-priced menus are available. Warm crusty Poilâne bread arrived to tickle our taste buds.
Mr Predictable opted for potted shrimps, watercress and toast followed by New Milm Farm mutton, duck fat roast potatoes, wilted wild greens. I chose free range ham hock terrine, sauce gribiche followed by Farmed Isle of Gigha halibut, West Coast mussel and wild garlic chowder. Starters range from £7.50 to £9 and mains average at £19.50. Délicieux, clean plates all round.
Fit to burst, we perused the dessert menu with a requested half hour break to loosen off the waistbands. The maître d’ was extremely helpful throughout and although had a tendency to ‘upsell’ the wine he did recommend delectable pudding wines to accompany my British Apple tarte tatin with Calvados ice-cream and Mr Predictable’s vanilla crème brûlée and British Rhubarb Bakewell tart. Heaven.
Coffee and Scottish tablet to finish, a reminder that we were indeed in Edinburgh and not Paris – you never would have guessed though……
As featured in the May 2011 edition of BITE magazine.