by Cafe St Honoré

“Is there anything finer or more elegant than steamed asparagus spears with warm butter and salt? I think not. But this recipe adds a little more flavour to this classic dish in the form of hollandaise sauce. It can be a bit tricky to master, but well worth the effort. If you can whisk cream, you can make hollandaise! It’s a temporary emulsion - unlike a mayonnaise that’s a permanent emulsion - so it mustn’t get too hot or too cold. Don’t buy the jars or packets, have a go at this.”

Neil Forbes Asparagus with Hollandaise WEB SIZE-CMPL0975-Edit.jpg

Serves 2

Prep time: 45 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes


4 to 6 spears per person

100ml white wine

100ml cider vinegar

4 peppercorns

1 bay leaf

1 sprig thyme

1 shallot, peeled and finely sliced

3 egg yolks

150g to 200g unsalted and clarified warm butter

Juice of half a lemon

Good salt and pepper

Watercress and radish to serve with


To prepare the asparagus, trim the bottom of each spear then blanch in salted, boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. Refresh in cold water if you wish to chargrill or barbecue.

Add the wine, vinegar, bay, shallot, peppercorns and thyme to a small pot and bring to the boil on a moderate heat. Reduce the liquid until two tablespoons remain. Strain.

Place the egg yolks in a clean metal bowl and add a tablespoon of the reduced liquid and whisk.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and place the metal bowl over the pot, ensuring the water doesn’t come into contact with the bowl. Whisk quickly as the egg yolks gently cook. Use an electric whisk if you prefer. Increase the speed until the egg yolk mix is light, frothy and thick. This will take around 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and continue to gently whisk as you trickle in the warm, clarified butter in a steady stream. The volume will increase and it will start to resemble hollandaise sauce. Season with lemon juice and salt, and maybe pepper. This sauce will split easily, so don’t get it too hot or cold.

To serve, season the asparagus and divide between two warmed plates. Top with the hollandaise and garnish with a few watercress leaves and slices of radish.


by Cafe St Honoré

We're all very chuffed that Ewan Jones has made the the shortlist for 'Young Chef of the Year' at this year's CIS Excellence Awards.

Ewan WEB SIZE (Credit - Paul Johnston at Copper Mango)-CMPL7003-Edit.jpg

Ewan made his debut at Cafe St Honoré 6 years ago - when he was just 16. Even at that early stage, Cafe’s chef director Neil Forbes could see his potential. He is hard-working, willing to learn and is blessed with a great sense of humour.

Neil wrote a blog featuring Ewan’s story for the Sustainable Restaurant Association - read it here.

He has progressed through all sections with flair and can now run a busy service. He relishes being left to run the kitchen and is very popular amongst the team.

Ewan is a conscientious and reliable young man - quiet but keen. He has developed skills of a very high standard and is now instrumental in keeping the restaurant operating 7 days a week.

He has also learned great life skills and is an inspiration to all the chefs that work with him. At just 22 he is already a very accomplished chef.

We hope Ewan inspires young people to nurture a career in the kitchen!


by Cafe St Honoré

Discover what makes our team tick in the second of our new series of interviews with our staff. It’s time to meet our assistant manager Justina. Originally from Lithuania, Justina has been with us since June 2017. 

Our assistant manager, Justina

Our assistant manager, Justina

What does your job entail? 

I take care of the day-to-day operations at Café - that involves making an action plan for the day, ensuring the restaurant is ready for each service, and that the staff are well briefed. Even a small restaurant like Cafe has so many ‘moving pieces’, keeping everything organised and moving smoothly is of paramount importance.

What’s the favourite part of your job? 

The favourite part of my job has got to be the interaction with people - both the guests and my colleagues. We are very lucky to have so many great regular patrons and that in turn makes it a great place to work. We seem to also attract great staff, so maybe just coming to work is my favorite part of the job!

What’s special about Cafe St Honoré? 

Cafe is unique in so many ways but I would have to say the one thing that makes it really special is that it has such a legacy. There are so few places that have been open for as long as Cafe and, because of that, there are so many stories to be told and to hear about the restaurant. 

What do you like to cook at home?

I did not cook much at home at all before working here, but I am definitely way more interested in food now. I do not have a staple dish as such. I normally buy seasonal vegetables from my local farmers’ market and start experimenting. I do put cheese on everything though. 

Where do you eat out in Edinburgh?

There are so many great places to eat in Edinburgh, but I always chose to dine at Cafe if there is a special occasion. 

lemon posset in six easy steps

by Cafe St Honoré

It’s a classic, and one we serve a lot at Cafe. It’s creamy texture works brilliantly well with a zing of citrus. And what’s even better, you can make it very easily at home and keep in the fridge until required. Batch cooking fans take note! Keep scrolling for Neil’s six easy steps…



Gather everything you need. 900ml double cream, 225g unrefined caster sugar, 2 organic lemons and 10 small glasses.



Bring the cream and sugar to the boil slowly in a thick-bottomed pan. Boil for 3 minutes.



Add the juice and zest of the lemons. Infuse for 5 minutes.



Pass through a fine sieve into a jug, then divide between the glasses.



Refrigerate until set.



Garnish with a new season strawberry and a dusting of icing sugar. Perfect served with a nice piece of shortbread.


by Cafe St Honoré

“A Swedish dish, consisting of potatoes, onions, pickled sprats and cream. Some add breadcrumbs and I’ve added some parsley and boiled my cream with garlic. If you can’t find smoked sprats then anchovies give a very good flavour, just watch the salting of the dish. I’ve used Mr Little’s Yetholm Gypsy potato as the flavour is so good. I buy from Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes. If you haven’t tried their spuds, do. They grow some wonderful old heritage varieties.”

Neil Forbes Cafe St Honore Jansson's Tempation WEB 1.jpg

Serves 2
Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes


2 medium-sized potatoes, peeled. I like Yetholm Gypsy, but Maris Piper or Rooster are good

1 smoked sprat or 4 to 6 anchovies, roughly chopped

1 onion, sliced thinly

1 teaspoon rapeseed oil

150ml double cream

1 clove garlic, smashed

1 sprig thyme

1 tablespoon breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon parsley, roughly chopped 

Good salt and pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 190°C.

Heat the oil in a small pot and caramelise the onion with a little salt by cooking gently with the lid on, stirring occasionally.

Add the cream, garlic, thyme and a little salt and pepper to a small pot and bring to the boil then simmer gently for 5 minutes. Strain through a sieve and set to one side.

Cut the potatoes into thin strips, then layer in an ovenproof dish with the onion and sprats (or anchovies) until the dish is filled. Add a little seasoning as you go. Then pour the creamy mix all over and bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it just starts to turn golden.

Top with the breadcrumbs and bake for a further 5 minutes.

Serve hot with a chopped parsley garnish.



by Cafe St Honoré

“This is a clean, simple and utterly delicious dish. It’s easy to prepare but it can be tricky to get the seasoning just right. Serve it with chopped shallots, cornichons and croutons or toast. And it’s great with an egg yolk added just before serving.” 

Neil Forbes Cafe St Honoré Roe Deer Tartare 2 WEB SIZE (Credit - Paul Johnston)-CMPL0805-Edit.jpg

Serves 2

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes


150g haunch or saddle of boned, sinew-free roe deer

½ a banana shallot, finely chopped

2  to 3 cornichons, finely chopped

1 teaspoon capers, finely chopped

1 teaspoon chopped parsley and chives

1 teaspoon tomato ketchup

1 teaspoon Worcester sauce

1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce or less, up to you

3 teaspoons cold-pressed rapeseed oil

1 teaspoon butter

A few salad leaves, I like endive and watercress on this, nice and bitter to contrast the sweet tartare

A slice of good sourdough cut into 1-cm-sized croutons 

A few slices of radish

Good salt and pepper


Firstly, ensure your knife is good and sharp, then cut the roe deer into a smallish dice.  Not too small as you still want to taste the meat. 

Add this to a mixing bowl along with some of the shallot (you can add more if you wish), cornichons, capers, parsley and chives and mix. 

Use your taste buds and add as much or as little Tabasco, ketchup and Worcester sauce as you want. Give the mixture a good season with salt and pepper and add a wee squirt of rapeseed oil. Taste again to check the seasoning.

Make the croutons by frying the bread in a teaspoon of rapeseed oil and a teaspoon of butter until golden all over. This should take about 5 to 10 minutes on a low heat.

Dress the salad leaves and radish slices in a little oil and season.

To serve, rub a little oil inside a metal ring a place it on a plate. Fill with half of the tartare mix and repeat on another plate. Top each tartare with the dressed salad a few croutons.


by Cafe St Honoré

“I remember making this sauce at Kinnaird House years ago, and I’ve been making it ever since. The jus de nage is so important. It involves a lot of veg chopping but the stock can be left in a Kilner jar in the fridge for a few weeks and will be perfect to poach fish in, to use as a base for a cream sauce, or even to add to a gravy on Sunday. It’s full of flavour.”

Neil Forbes Cafe St Honoré Hand-dived Scallop with Carrot Butter Sauce WEB SIZE (Credit - Paul Johnston)-CMPL0639-Edit-2.jpg

Serves 4

Prep time: 1 hour

Cooking time: 10 minutes


4 large hand-dived scallops, cleaned and left in their shell with the roe attached 
1 medium organic carrot, peeled and cut into very small dice
1/2 glass sweet wine, like a Sauternes
100ml jus de nage (veg stock)
25ml double cream
100g cold unsalted butter, diced
Good salt and pepper
1 teaspoon cold-pressed rapeseed oil
A few drops of lemon juice
Chervil to garnish

For the jus de nage 

2 carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
1 stick celery, cut into small dice
1/2 bulb fennel, cut into small dice
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into small dice
1 leek, cut into small dice 
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 pinch saffron
Peel of 1 lemon
500ml water
500ml white wine
A few peppercorns
A sprig of thyme
Good salt and pepper


To make the jus de nage. Add all the ingredients to a pot and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Strain off as much stock as you need and retain the rest for something else.

Make the carrot butter sauce by placing the finely-diced carrot in a small pot with the sweet wine, and cook until half the wine has evaporated. Next add the jus de nage and reduce by half. Then add the cream and reduce by half again. As this is bubbling away, swirl in the cold butter. Season and add a few drops of lemon juice. Continue stirring until all the butter emulsifies. Don’t over heat the sauce or it will split, so do this gently off the heat. 

Season the scallops with a kick of salt and pepper, then sear them in the oil in a hot, non-stick frying pan, flesh-side down. Cook for 3 minutes then remove from the pan and flash them under a hot grill, or in a hot oven, in their shells.

To serve, trickle the butter sauce over the scallops and garnish with chervil.


by Cafe St Honoré

Discover what makes our team tick with our new series of interviews with our staff. First up, our head chef Joe Simpson, who’s been with us for six years.

Our head chef, Joe Simpson

Our head chef, Joe Simpson

What’s special about Cafe St Honoré?

Having the freedom and opportunity to change the menus frequently prevents the team from becoming complacent, ensures we’re always evolving, and makes Cafe a great training ground for chefs. The restaurant itself is beautiful, with a really special, intimate feel that’s impossible to replicate. Most importantly for me though is that the food we serve, is the food I love to eat. Simple, honest and delicious. I wish there were more restaurants like Cafe that I could dine in on my days off. We’re also highly committed to all things sustainable from sourcing of produce and providing good working conditions, to recycling and reducing waste. It’s a great source of pride for the whole team.

Favourite dish and why?

There are too many to mention. I love the sense of occasion that accompanies a classic roast (the trimmings are often as good as the centerpiece) be it lamb shoulder, chicken, pork belly or a beef rib or sirloin. I have fond memories of these feasts going back to early childhood. I also have a soft spot for classic brasserie fare like confit duck or cassoulet, and I’m intrigued by the traditions associated with these recipes. Nowadays, many classic French dishes are viewed as ‘old-hat’, but despite constantly changing food trends, they will always have an important part to play in European food culture. I adore paella – another dish steeped in history and tradition – and cooked perfectly it is hard to beat. But my list is long and includes risotto, carbonara, tagine, Cullen skink, Thai curry, tacos, burgers, pizza, steak.  I guess so much depends on time, place and company. A good wine to wash it all down is a must!

Favourite cook books?

I own a vast collection of cookbooks. Some I’ve had for years. It’s always nice to revisit and rediscover forgotten gems. A few books always occupy pride of place however.

Anything written by Thomas Keller. I admire his absolute commitment to perfectionism and his meticulous technical approach to cooking at his flagship restaurant The French Laundry, his bistro, or bakery. These are beautiful books that everyone can learn something from.

Fergus Henderson’s ‘Nose to Tail Cooking’ is a great read with a witty and unique writing style. He’s been so influential in defining British cooking since the early 90s. His restaurant St John in Clerkenwell, London, is a true British institution.

The River Café Cookbook(s).  A bible of Italian cooking, with emphasis on regionality and core ingredients. The recipes are generally accessible and I particularly enjoy the sections on pastry. Chocolate Nemisis will always be the ultimate dessert in my eyes!

Favourite restaurants?

I really believe that food is only a proportion of what defines a great restaurant. I’ve eaten incredible food in some of the most highly acclaimed restaurants but haven’t necessarily loved the overall experience. Very occasionally a restaurant will get it just right. The service should be professional, but friendly and genuine; the food and wine should be honest and delicious, with provenance; and the atmosphere should be relaxing and fun. Then it’s really special. For me a few stand outs are River Café in London and Vue de Monde in Melbourne. Closer to home, I’m a huge fan of El Cartel, Locanda de Gusti and Origano. 

What piece of kitchen equipment is indispensable?

Apart from a stove and an oven I would say an ice-cream machine. Even in the depths of winter I love ice-cream, especially freshly churned.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

Cooking in a restaurant on a vineyard with a vast kitchen garden in New Zealand. I would love to have a few vines and produce my own wine. Running a small cook school is another dream of mine.  




by Cafe St Honoré

We bake and serve fresh sourdough every day at Cafe. Mornings always begin with bread-making – as we believe no good meal is complete without a proper sourdough!

It’s easy to start making sourdough at home with these 6 easy steps from Neil.

“Whenever you make a sourdough loaf, try to use your sense of touch. It is a science, but it’s always a good idea to employ your senses and intuition. It may take a while to get the dough started, but your starter will never die, it will just lie dormant in the fridge if you’re not using it. Otherwise, feed it every day with equal quantities of water and flour. Great if you have the time, but as sourdough lasts so well, you may only need to bake a loaf once or twice a week.”

Keep scrolling for our sourdough recipe.

Cafe St Honoré Levain 1 WEB SIZE (Credit - Paul Johnston)-CMPL0660.jpg


Add 200g strong, white organic flour and 200ml warm tap water to a bowl.

Cafe St Honoré Levain 2 WEB SIZE (Credit - Paul Johnston)-CMPL0673.jpg


Combine into a thick paste using a wooden spoon. Don’t use any antibacterial chemicals to clean any of your utensils as this kills the good bacteria you need to make a natural yeast.

Cafe St Honoré Levain 3 WEB SIZE (Credit - Paul Johnston)-CMPL0677.jpg


Pour the mix into a plastic, ceramic or glass container and leave to ferment for 2 days in a warm, or room-temperature, place. Cover with a lid or cling film, and give it a stir every day. It’s important that the starter isn’t in contact with anything metal.

Cafe St Honoré Levain 4 WEB SIZE (Credit - Paul Johnston)-CMPL0682.jpg


After 2 days fermenting, feed the starter by adding 100g strong, white organic flour and 100ml of warm tap water. Mix and replace the lid and leave again for a further 2 days. Repeat this method after another 2 days.

Cafe St Honoré Levain 5 WEB SIZE (Credit - Paul Johnston)-CMPL0689.jpg


The starter is ready to use (see recipe below). If using again the next day, leave it on the countertop. If not, place in the fridge where it will lay dormant until you start to feed it again.

Cafe St Honoré Levain 6 WEB SIZE (Credit - Paul Johnston)-CMPL0694.jpg


The finished loaf, made with nothing but flour, water and salt. I use Mungoswells flour, Isle of Skye sea salt and good old tap water. Invest in a proving basket to achieve a lovely shape.



500g organic, strong white flour, grown and milled in Scotland ideally

285ml warm, tap water (you may need more water, a wetter dough is better than a dryer dough)

135g starter 

15g good sea salt, I like Isle of Skye

Semolina for dusting


Add all the ingredients to a mixer and beat on a slow, low speed. The longer the better. 

If the dough is looking a bit dry, add more warm water. The texture of the dough is dependent on the temperature and moisture in the air, and I would always suggest making a slightly wetter dough than normal. I have very rarely failed with a sloppy, wet dough!

Once all the ingredients are incorporated, place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl or tub with enough room for it to double in size. Cover with a lid. Leave for around 3 hours at room temperature, then refrigerate overnight. The next morning, let it reach room temperature before shaping gently into a ball.

Once shaped, place the dough into a semolina-dusted banneton or proving basket. If it’s a wet dough be careful and not to over-prove at this stage. Keep it somewhere cosy but not too hot for an hour or two and it’ll prove beautifully. 

Heat the oven to 200°C and turn the loaves out onto a tray, tucking them in underneath just before they go in the oven. 

Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 150°C and continue to bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling wire.


by Cafe St Honoré

We were honoured to be invited to feature in Truth, Love & Clean Cutlery - a new, kinder, dining guide designed to identify the restaurants and food experiences that go above and beyond great food and wine in the ethical, organic and environmentally sustainable ways with which they run their business.

TL&CC said: “For the past decade chefs and restaurateurs have been shifting their priorities to place a greater value on health, community, empathy and care, and supporting and sustainable ethical practices by farmers, producers and wine-makers. They are working harder than ever to cook with seasonal, locally sourced produce, reduce their carbon emissions and minimize their waste.”

It’s great to be part of a growing number of establishments that place such a high emphasis on these very important elements of running a restaurant. We’re all involved in the successful running of Cafe, so we bought the team T-shirts to show how proud we are of everyone’s contribution.

Edited by Giles Coren in the UK, you can find out how to buy a copy here.


by Cafe St Honoré

One of our favourite shops is just around the corner. Stewart Christie & Co. is the oldest bespoke tailors in Scotland. Tracing its trading heritage back to around 1720, they are also the second oldest business in Edinburgh. After four generations in the same family, they’re beginning a new era and focusing more on their own label clothing. And that’s where we come in! Their superb blog is a cornucopia of info on everything from tweeds to poetry peppered with a good dose of interesting people wearing their clothes. Our chef director Neil Forbes was suited and booted and spent the day posing for the camera at Cafe whilst answering a few questions. See more pics and read the full blog article here.


All tailoring by Stewart Christie & Co.

Photography by Laura Meek


by Cafe St Honoré

“We all love a steak. Cooked simply, charred on the BBQ or pan. The trick is to use a moderate heat, as if the pan is too hot the meat will overcook quickly on the outside. Use lots of butter and beef fat when frying and baste constantly. Serve with a lovely salad, and some roast garlic butter.”

Neil Forbes Flat Iron Steak WEB.jpg

Serves one 

Prep time: 10 minutes, plus 1 hour for roasting garlic
Cooking time: 5 minutes


1 really good steak of your liking, I’m enjoying flat irons just now

1 sprig thyme

1 bulb garlic 

1 knob butter, for frying 

100g butter, softened

1 teaspoon chopped parsley

1 tablespoon beef fat

1 handful of good salad leaves

A few red onion rings

1 teaspoon grain mustard
1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon apple vinegar

2 tablespoons cold-pressed rapeseed oil

Good salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 180°C / Gas Mark 4

Remove the steak from the fridge.

Wrap the garlic bulb in foil with a little oil and salt. Bake for 1 hour.

Remove the garlic from the oven and turn up the heat to 200°C / Gas Mark 6.

To make the roast garlic butter, simply remove the garlic from the foil and squeeze the roasted flesh into a bowl. Add 100g butter, the parsley, season with salt and pepper and mix. Roll the butter mix up in a sheet of greaseproof paper like a sausage and refrigerate. Once firm, cut into discs the size of a pound coin.

Make a salad dressing by adding the honey, mustard and vinegar to a bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper then whisk whilst trickling in the rapeseed oil. Set to one side. 

Place a good frying pan on the hob and take it to a moderate heat, then add the beef fat. Season the steak and add to the pan with the thyme. Turn the heat up a bit if needed, then add the knob of butter and continue to cook on each side until it begins to caramelise. This should take about one minute on each side. Season again and place in the oven for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove and rest on a plate in a warm place. Just before serving place a disc of garlic butter to the still-warm steak to melt.

Mix the red onion with the salad leaves and toss with the dressing. Season and place onto a fresh plate with the steak.




by Cafe St Honoré

“I’m lucky and have space to grow fruit in my garden and allotment, but we can all ask our neighbours if they have any spare, or get access a local share site online and find someone who has a glut of fruit when it’s in season. Any spare fruit I have goes to Cafe St Honoré kitchen, where recently Maison Forbes pears were used in a tart made to this recipe.” 

Neil Forbes Cafe St Honore Pear and Almond Tart WEB SIZE-CMPL9665-Edit.jpg

Serves 4

Prep time: 2 hours; cooking time: 40 minutes


2 pears

500ml water

100g sugar

1 cinnamon stick

320g soft butter

440g plain flour, sifted

100g icing sugar, sifted

5 eggs

200g caster sugar

200g ground almonds

A few flaked almonds as a garnish


Peel the pears and place them in. apt with a sugar and water solution made with 500ml water, 100g sugar and 1 cinnamon stick. Cook on a low poach for 1 to 2 hours until the pears are soft. Allow to cool.

Prepare 4 fluted tart shells with a little melted butter and a dusting of flour. I use fluted tins with removable bases.

Heat the oven to 150°C / Gas Mark 2

To make the pastry, beat the icing sugar and 120g butter together until fluffy and creamy. Add 240g flour and gently add an egg. Combine to make a dough. Rest for 15 minutes then roll out and line the tart shells, removing any overhanging pastry. Rest again.

To make the frangipane, begin by beating 4 eggs, then cream 200g butter with the caster sugar. Add the almonds, then 200g flour and the beaten eggs to make a thick paste.

Once the pears are cool, cut into quarters, then remove the cores and slice thinly.

To assemble the tart, spoon the frangipane into the tart shell, then add a few pear slices, then top with more frangipane. Don’t overfill the tarts as they will rise in the oven. Decorate with flaked almonds and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked underneath. 

Serve hot with a dollop of crème fraîche.



by Cafe St Honoré

“This is a delicious dish. The sprouts are quartered which stops them being overcooked and brown, or worse, undercooked and crisp. I use vac pac chestnuts as they are good, tasty and easy to use. If you have time on your hands, roast whole chestnuts on an open fire. The addition of orange and thyme gives a sense of Christmas. Just be careful not to overcook the meat as it can easily become dry and tough.”

Neil Forbes Cafe St Honore Pheasant, Sprouts, Chestnuts WEB SIZE-CMPL9666-Edit.jpg

Serves 1

Prep time: 20 minutes; cooking time: 30 minutes


1 breast of pheasant, skin on

1 tablespoon of chestnuts, halved

1 tablespoon of bacon lardons, cut chunky

1 teaspoon of chopped orange zest and thyme 

3 or 4 sprouts 

1 tablespoon of cold-pressed rapeseed oil

A knob of butter

Good salt and pepper


Heat the oven to 220°C / Gas Mark 7

Cut the sprouts into quarters and blanch in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes, then refresh in cold water.

Heat the oil to medium heat in a large, oven-proof frying pan and add the pheasant skin-side-down, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then turn and continue to cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes. 

Add the bacon lardons to the pan and cook until golden. This should take 4 to 5 minutes whilst the pheasant is cooking.

Place the pan in the oven and cook for 5 minutes. Remove and add the butter, chestnuts, zest of orange and thyme, and sprouts and give the pan a toss to combine everything.  

Remove the pheasant and let it rest for a few minutes in a warm place before giving it a final season. 

To serve, arrange the garnish around the pheasant on a warm plate and serve with gravy if you like, or a cream and tarragon sauce would work too.


by Cafe St Honoré

“We often use this classic way of cooking pork belly at Cafe St Honoré. It’s simple: skin removed, boned out, seasoned, rolled, tied, braised, chilled, then cut and pan fried. The process creates a wonderful taste that’s not fatty, with the fennel seed and lemon helping to cut through the richness. Buttery champ is so good with the pork, and the addition of sage is classic, but optional.”

Neil Forbes Cafe St Honore Pork Belly and Champ WEB 1.jpg

Serves 4 to 6
Prep time: 45 minutes; cooking time: 4 hours


750g rare-breed organic pork belly, skinned and boned

2 tablespoons fennel seeds

1 carrot, scrubbed and halved

1 onion, peeled and halved

1 stick celery, halved

A few sprigs thyme

1 bay leaf

A few peppercorns

Zest of 1 lemon

Good salt and pepper

400g good mash made with lots of butter

3 or 4 spring onions, finely chopped

A small handful of sage leaves, gently shallow-fried until just crisp and dried on kitchen paper

2 tablespoons cold-pressed rapeseed oil

75g unsalted butter


Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.

Firstly, lay the pork belly out on a board and season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle over half the fennel seeds and half the lemon zest. Roll the belly up like a swiss roll and tie with butchers twine, or string, but not too tight. 

Next, place the pork in a pot and cover with hot water. Add the carrot, onion, celery, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring the pot to the simmer then cover with a lid or foil and place into the oven for 3 to 4 hours until the meat is very tender. 

Remove from the oven and allow the pork to cool in the liquid for about an hour or so, no rush. Once cooled, remove the pork from the liquid and drain on a tea towel to make sure it’s dry.

Then line your work surface with 4 layers of clingfilm about 6 inches wider than the belly and place the pork onto the cling film. Remove the string with scissors and discard, then roll the pork in the clingfilm very tightly and refrigerate overnight. 

To cook, preheat the oven to 180°C, then cut 4 slices of pork about an inch or so thick, and fry in the rapeseed oil for 3 to 5 minutes each side. Then place the pan in the oven for 5 minutes to ensure the pork is hot and coloured. It should be a lovely golden colour. 

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pot, and add the remaining fennel seeds and lemon zest to it. Season.

Just before serving, add the chopped spring onions to the mash to make champ, and place some in the centre of each plate. Top with the sliced pork and spoon over the sauce. Garnish with crispy sage leaves. Serve at once.