Authentic Parisian dining at Cafe St Honore, Edinburgh
One of Edinburgh’s best-kept secrets, Cafe St Honore is a little slice of Paris hidden down a traditional New Town cobbled street. A true hidden gem, this French-style brasserie is the perfect place to escape on a cold, dark winter night.
Cafe St Honore manages to make you feel like you’ve stepped in from the streets of Paris, perfectly capturing the tres chic vibe without feeling twee. Crisp linen tablecloths, antique mirrors and a checkerboard tiled floor all add to the authentic ambiance, made cosy and welcoming with moody lighting and plenty of flickering candles.
With an award-winning chef at the helm, the food menu is accomplished and refined without being inaccessible - there are plenty of comfort food favourites and rich, creamy dishes to warm you up on a cold evening. Chef Director Neil Forbes (who was named Catering Scotland’s Chef of the Year in 2014 and the Scottish Restaurant Awards’ Chef of the Year in 2011) comes from a long line of professional cooks, taking much of his inspiration from his grandmother.
Cafe St Honore has a ‘slow food’ philosophy, which means everything on the menu is seasonal and locally sourced. Not only does this ensure the restaurant uses the finest Scottish ingredients, it also helps support the local economy and reduces food miles - some of the fresh vegetables on the menu even come from Forbes’ own allotment.
It’s no surprise, then, that the a la carte menu changes daily depending on what’s in season. At this time of year, you can expect lots of rich flavours, seasonal vegetables and plenty of meat and game, and there are also gluten-free and dairy-free menus to keep everyone in your party happy.
After much deliberation, we opted for the Gartmorn Farm confit duck leg with Lawson’s black pudding, Lyonnaise potatoes and Arran Mustard greens, and the Scotch pork belly with organic lentils, Peelham Farm organic chorizo, organic greens and apple sauce. Both were excellent choices, with the meat succulent and perfectly cooked, and served with flavoursome accompaniments.
The drinks list offers a fantastic selection of both old and new world wines. Although bottles are a little on the pricier side, many wines are available by the glass so it’s easy to try a few and find the perfect partner for each course.
Dessert was a very indulgent Montezuma’s organic dark chocolate fondant with praline and vanilla ice cream - the ideal option for sharing. Rounded off with a cup of French bistro-style coffee, we left very happy and very full.
Service was attentive and charming throughout, without being over-friendly, making the whole experience feel relaxed with just the right amount of luxury. With delicious food, fine wine and a perfectly Parisian atmosphere, Cafe St Honore is well worth a visit, whether for date night or a cosy catch up with family or friends.