THE CITY // Howies Restaurant

25.3.15

Howies restaurant Aberdeen

Celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, Howies restaurants have been in existence for almost as long as I have! I can't quite fathom why it is, then, that I've never visited them before now.

Launched in 1990 by David Howie Scott, Howies restaurants began life in Edinburgh - where there are now two branches on Waterloo Place and Victoria Street - before expanding, in 2001, to Aberdeen. Nestled towards the West End of the city, the Chapel Street site has undergone a complete refurbishment this year, creating a smart, contemporary environment with reflections of traditional Scotland -- think light, open spaces with whiskey-barrel adornments and a tasteful splash of tartan here and there. There's a nice vibe about the place - it feels classy but informal, like some sort of immaculately-dressed but super-relaxed old friend. 

Howies restaurant Aberdeen

Howies are clearly proud of their national heritage and it's a theme that dominates throughout - not only in their decor, but in their selection of Scottish gins; their extensive, detailed whisky list; and - most importantly - in their food. Their ethos is to be "Scottish", "seasonal" and "of the land," which means their menu evolves continually throughout the year and is always packed full of traceable, locally-sourced ingredients plucked straight from "Scotland's larder." It's wholesome Scottish grub with a contemporary twist, cooked fresh to order using simple flavourings that allow the ingredients to speak for themselves.

And my word is it good!

Starters at Howies restaurant Aberdeen
Starters

Mum and I spent a girly afternoon together in the city centre on Friday and decided to pop into Howies for some lunch. We were very quickly tempted by ALL OF THE FOOD and opted to nibble on some delicious, warm homemade bread with black olive tapenade and a sundried tomato dip while we mulled over the rest of the menu. 

Choosing took me longer than usual because the menu had not one but four vegetarian options among the starters alone. If you're a meat-eater you might not fully appreciate what a novelty that is, but it earned them Brownie points aplenty in my book, as did their clearly labelled gluten and dairy free range.

I eventually decided to start with the vegetarian haggis, neeps and tatties with thyme jus, which came topped with crispy parsnip, while mum opted for the roasted parsnip and cumin falafel with houmous and radish. I had a cheeky sample of mum's as well as my own and can confirm that both of these dishes tasted even better than they looked!

Mains at Howies restaurant Aberdeen
Mains

There was plenty of choice when it came to the main course too, but my golden beetroot and thyme risotto with crispy kale (minus the poached egg it should have been served with, because hello there weird food intolerances!) turned out to be an excellent shout.

Mum chose the chargrilled chicken breast with brocolli, lardons, crispy potatoes and rosemary pan jus and gave it a definite thumbs up. We shared a side of brocolli, kale, peas and spinach with garlic and chilli, which turned out to be very tasty but perhaps surplus to requirements given the generosity of the servings. I had anticipated small portion sizes, particularly at lunchtime, but actually couldn't finish all the risotto on my plate!

Desserts at Howies restaurant Aberdeen
Dessert

We didn't let that deter us from ordering dessert though ...because don't we all have that extra pocket for pudding?!

Mum went for Howies banoffee pie on this course, which looked amazing and more than passed her taste test, while I finished with a dairy and gluten free slice of chocolate and beetroot torte, served with minted creme fraiche, which was delicate and moist and tasted so very good that I want another slice right this minute!

All three courses were a delight for both of us and I was impressed with not only the choice and creativity of the menu, but with the presentation, freshness and flavourings of each of the dishes presented to us. It was great quality food that guarantees I'll be returning for more.

Of course, high quality food in the West End of Aberdeen comes with an equally high price tag attached. We know and expect that.

But in this case, we're surprisingly wrong...

Lunch menu at Howies restaurant Aberdeen

A three course meal from the lunch menu will cost you just £13 (with a two course option available for a tenner), while a similar set menu is available in the evenings at £25 a head.

With excellent food and great Scottish hospitality, you'd be hard pressed to find such value for money anywhere else. I'm already looking forward to dragging friends along for more lunches in the future and can only recommend you go and do the same yourself!

50 Chapel Street, Aberdeen
David Howie Scott

2 comments:

  1. Wow that looks amazing!! I have walked past there many a time and have never gone in, I just thought that it was a really expensive restaurant but their lunch menu price has actually surprised me. The fact that they do GF & DF makes me want to visit there even more so I think that Howies is definitely on my list for the next time I'm in town :). It's made me hungry now & it's just after 930am :) xx

    The Life of Dee

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  2. Good for Howie's! I haven't been there in a few years, and have only gone for special occasions (work night out, 50th birthday party lunch). Clearly they are keeping up with the times. That really is excellent value for Aberdeen. So glad you had a fun meal with your mother.

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