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Henderson's Restaurant and Bistro
Henderson's Restaurant and Bistro
94 Hanover Street / Bistro 25 Thistle Street,
Edinburgh,
EH2 1DR
[View Map]
0131 225 2131
Restaurant: Mon-Sat 8am-10.30pm - Bistro: 7 days 12pm-9pm

Written October 2009
A veggie institution

THIS VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT IS PIONEERING.IT BEGAN IN 1962 AS A SHOP AND PLATFORM FOR FRESH PRODUCE FROM THE HENDERSON FARM IN EAST LOTHIAN. IT IS NOW THE CORNERSTONE OF SEVERAL OTHER INNOVATIVE VENTURES LIKE A RESTAURANT, BAKERY, BISTRO AND GALLERY. IT INFLUENCED MANY OTHER EDINBURGH VENTURES AND CAN BOAST, NOT A ONLY A LOCAL, BUT ALSO AN INTERNATIONAL CLIENTELE.

The restaurant is below the shop on Hanover St and is a casual, cafeteria-style affair serving lunch and dinner in either a well-lit room (appropriate for lunch) or in a spacious, candle-lit, dining area where live piano music compliments the general buzz . The bistro on Thistle Street is a favourite for a more intimate experience.

We start in the restaurant and choose medium salads (£3.90), three portions each from a beautiful selection. I have bean sprouts and carrots (good) , mixed salad with a mustard vinaigrette (great) and a fruit cole-slaw with currants, kale, apples and cabbage (greatest). My friend has a Greek salad with gargantuan feta blocks, brown rice with mixed veg and an egg mayo mix, the latter being her favourite. They are consistently simple but excellent.

My main is a chef's special of risotto, rich with leeks, butternut squash and Gorgonzola, perfect proportions let every flavour shine through. A palate-refreshing, salad of fresh, peppery rocket and parmesan is plentiful. My friend chooses a 'hot plate': a haggis parcel with potato wedges and mixed greens; a delightful, cute package of haggis wrapped in crispy filo. She gushes over the red wine gravy accompaniment and wishes she could have finished this enormous portion of food.

We mosey over to the bistro for dessert and receive the warmest welcome. Cosiness abounds here, and the friendly waitress allows us to polish off the last piece of lemon cheesecake (£4.50). A slice of dense and divine honey Mascarpone cheesecake (£4.50) plus two Bailey's and coffees (£3.80) later and we are replete.

Henderson's continues to attract a cosmopolitan crowd. Groups of ex-students re-unite here to celebrate past times whilst local artists, business people and students all appreciate the tasty vegetarian and vegan food on offer. The opening of the new art gallery, www.thehendersongallery.com will only solidify its reputation as a legendary, destination restaurant. (K. Smith)

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