21 May 2013

Review: Hewat's Restaurant


WHEN I FIRST punched ‘Hewat’s Restaurant, Edinburgh’ into Google my mouth watered at the number of rather appetising dishes the menu had to offer.  I thought to myself… ‘This looks like my sort of food’.

The restaurant opened in Edinburgh in 2004 and is run by husband and wife team Richard and Margaret Hewat.  Chef Richard boasts a formidable CV indeed; positions as head chef at RBS world headquarters and Fisher’s in Leith giving him notable pedigree. With Margaret’s wealth of front of house experience, the couple work closely to maintain the reputation of this well-established business.

The warm, rich dining room had a lovely atmosphere to it indeed.  Each table immaculately laid and complemented by the glow from the tasteful chandeliers and contemporary art work which adorned the spotlessly clean dining room.

For starter I opted for Cullen skink with mussels (£6).  I do enjoy sampling the different variations of this classic dish from chefs around the land I must say. The mussels were plump and perfectly cooked, as I’d expect from a chef who once headed a team (at Fisher’s) that won the coveted Egon Ronay award for Seafood Restaurant of The Year.

It did take me a few mouthfuls to get into the dish as I felt it lacked a good whack of seasoning, but it did grow on me as the flavours from the smoked fish met with the creaminess of the soup to start the meal off on the right foot.  It was also great to see a restaurant make its own bread; something I feel sadly lacks in eateries these days. 

Sarah had warm duck and shallot tarte tatin with plum, port and balsamic dressing (£6.50).  This was a great idea for a dish but although the duck was tender and pink, the pastry was a little under done and the shallots needed a bit more caramelisation.  The sauce was very pleasant and harmonised the dish.

The dining room started to fill up as we came to the main event but that, to the staff's credit, did not alter the quality of the service as my roast tenderloin of wild boar, braised pork belly, apple compote, crackling and pulled pork and black pudding mash with savoy cabbage and chorizo (£16) was served up.

At first glance, I thought there were a lot of elements to this dish, all of which I like, but wasn’t sure if it perhaps had too much going on.  I dived into the boar first, which was well executed and seasoned and complemented by the rich gravy. 

Pork belly is one of my favourite cuts of meat and I like to see it done justice. The actual meat itself dissolved on my tongue but I would have like to have seen the skin crisped up rather than left flabby.

I didn’t feel the stick of crackling that was offered really gave anything to the dish bar an aesthetic aspect and it wasn’t particularly great crackling, as some parts were just too hard to bite through.

That in mind, I must give a special mention to the pulled pork and black pudding mash with the savoy cabbage as they were just a total triumph and worked in perfect harmony with the apple.  The chorizo just added that little hint of spice that lifted the dish up a notch. If only the skin on the belly had been seared for a minute or two, this would have been a knockout plate of food.

For main, Sarah had roast rump of new season lamb with redcurrant and rosemary jus, champ potatoes, red cabbage and ratatouille (£17). 

The lamb came presented in a rustic-style and was perfectly cooked; pink and tender while the red cabbage offered a great flavour and maintained a slight bite.  Every vegetable component of the ratatouille was perfectly cooked and identifiable through a rich tomato sauce with the seasoning bang on the money.


A minor criticism would be the sprinkling of spices that seemed to come on every plate; it’s just a tad outdated.

We admired the wine Margaret had recommended as we pondered our dessert course. 

Wild strawberry crème brulee with shortbread (£5.95) caught my eye while Sarah went for the classic sticky toffee pudding (also £5.95).

The brulee passed the acid test when I cracked the crisp top with my spoon to reveal a subtle and rather pleasant flavour of sesaonal strawberry.  The shortbread was buttery and with suitable snap, while the berry compote cut through the creaminess without being too sharp.


Sarah’s sticky toffee pudding was light with a silky, smooth butterscotch sauce as you’d expect.  The vanilla ice cream was lovely and added a cold contrast to the pudding.  Both were a great way to end the meal. 

I suppose at the end of any meal you ask yourself ‘would I go back?’ and I certainly will be back.  The level of cooking demonstrated by Richard and the quality of service leave me looking forward to discovering more of delights that got me so excited when I first laid eyes upon the menu at Hewat’s.


 http://www.hewatsrestaurant.co.uk/

19 - 21b Causewayside, Edinburgh EH9 1QF
Telephone: 0131 466 6660
Open: Weds-Sat 12-2 (lunch)
           Mon-Thurs 6-9.30 (dinner)
           Fri-Sat 6-10(dinner)