10 Amazing Dishes To Try In Winchester

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I’ve certainly been lucky enough to eat some absolutely amazing meals in Winchester. We have some brilliant restaurants serving exciting, original food made with wonderful ingredients…but enough about how much I love Winchester! If I had to pick my top dishes to enjoy in this great city, this list is where I’d start.

Of course many menus change seasonally and there are always daily specials in certain restaurants – so I can’t promise you’ll definitely be able to find all of these dishes but I know some are still very much menu mainstays. So here’s my top ten in no particular order…

(also sorry, I was too busy enjoying each dish to take photos of all of them!)

1)  Kyoto Kitchen – Winchester Roll

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This is apparently the world’s first sushi roll made with wasabi leaf rather than seaweed and uses locally grown wasabi from Europe’s only wasabi farm, right here in Winchester! So it’s a dish with a great story that’s gained it plenty of attention. It’s also absolutely delicious! The wasabi leaf is perfect addition to this fresh, light and delicate sushi roll.

2) Bugle Inn (Twyford) – Beetroot Cured Salmon

This comes a homemade with smoked mackerel, horseradish & crab pate, crispy whitebait, shallot & beetroot salad, sauce tartar, Parmesan toasts and an aioli dip. It’s just a perfect platter for anyone who loves fish, simply delicious with lots of different things to pick and try. I can’t get enough of it! I should add that many of the Bugle’s other dishes are equally as fabulous, the food is always great.

3) Rimjhim Winchester – Modu Murg

I don’t really do hugely spicy curries so this dish from Rimjhim is just heavenly. If you’re someone who would normally have korma, you must try the modu murg. It’s a creamy coconut and honey chicken dish and comes with crispy parsnip strips on top. Even if you prefer something hotter, I highly recommend trying this dish – everyone I know who likes a spicy curry also enjoys this dish.

4) Bangkok Brasserie – Colin Firth’s Thai Mango Chicken (Gaeng Kari Mamuang) 

While we’re on the subject of curries, this Thai delight from Bangkok Brasserie needs a mention. It’s a a traditional mild yellow curry with added mango that was apparently created especially created for actor and Winchester man Colin Firth. Well, Colin’s got great taste is all I can say. It’s a truly delicious dish, the sauce will have you wanting to dip everything in it. What’s more it’s a sponsored dish with 85p from each dish sold going to charity – so you feel even better about ordering it!

5) Gandhi – Gandhi Special

I promise this is the last curry dish on the list! I don’t think the top ten would be complete without a mention for the flavoursome yet deliciously mild Gandhi Special. This dish is chicken cooked with almond, coconut, sultana and cashew nuts in a special sauce with spices and yoghurt and it comes served with an omelette. It’s a must try if you haven’t had it!

6) Pi Woodfired – Smoked bacon, goats cheese, caramelised onion & asparagus

A relatively new restaurant for Winchester but undeniably good! I haven’t had a chance to work my way through the menu yet but I have to say the bacon and goats cheese pizza was divine. All their dishes look fantastic and I can’t wait to try more!

7) Fish Tale Bar & Grill – Lobster Burger (or the Lobster Surf and Turf)

The lobsimag0903ter burger is amazing, what an invention! It features a brioche bun and tempura lobster, it’s a real feast. I love the varied menu at Fish Tale and try to order something different each time I go but the burger is incredibly tempting I must admit. The surf and turf gets a mention too as my dining companion loves this dish and very often goes for it.

8) Sakura Japanese Restaurant – Teppanyaki Lobster

Sticking with the subject of lobster, here’s another great way to enjoy it, fresh from the teppanyaki grill and cooked in a delicious sauce. You can sit around the grill and watch (and take part) in the cooking fun and theatrics or sit quietly at a separate table – either way it’s a lovely dish.

9) Rick Stein Winchester – Fish and Shellfish Soup with Rouille and Parmesan 

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This is a heavenly dish (which I have reviewed previously) – it’s a taste of Mediterranean summer holidays and I love adding the cheese and garlicky rouille to the soup. I love the whole menu (and the cocktails!) at Rick Stein’s but this starter is probably my absolute favourite.

10) The Avenue Restaurant at Lainston House – Coconut Parfait

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Aha, a delcious dessert makes it’s way on the list. I’m sure desserts of Winchester could be a whole other post – but this one is so good it deserves a mention in the overall top ten I think! I do love coconut, so this is a real winner with me – it comes with a chocolate mousse, caramel, banana and passion fruit – full of flavour! I’m hungry just thinking about it!

So there you have it, some of my favourite meals in Winchester. There are many more I could have mentioned and many other restaurants serving amazing dishes – but ten felt like a good place to stop. Have you tried any of these dishes? I would absolutely love to hear some recommendations from any FoodTeaLife readers for dishes I should try. Leave a comment or tweet me @franini_daze with your suggestions!

xXx

Magnificent Mediterranean at Woodfire, Stockbridge

I recently paid a visit to Woodfire, the Mediterranean-themed pizza and mezze restaurant in Stockbridge. I was looking for somewhere a little different, and dare I say, outside of Winchester for a change. So I booked up a table after hearing good things and the news that Woodfire was celebrating its first six months in business with extended opening hours, a new Italian pizza chef and a special ‘Pizza and a Pint’ offer.

Woodfire Stockbridge

Woodfire is situated on Stockbridge High Street

It was lovely to visit Stockbridge again, I’d not been in quite a few years despite it being so close. The high street and surrounding area were as picturesque as ever. Once inside Woodfire, the atmosphere was pleasantly busy and staff were very welcoming too.

We enjoyed a long and leisurely lunch for a family member’s birthday treat, so naturally that meant three courses for me (not everyone around the table was as greedy!). The menu had mixture of Greek style mezze dishes such as hummus and flatbread and other Mediterranean favourites like halloumi and cured meats, as well as main dishes and a delicious pizza menu. The pizza menu was brand new, devised by Italian master pizzaiolo, Luciano, from Naples, alongside Woodfire’s French Head Chef Alex Thomelin. The tempting sounding new pizzas on the menu included: Broccoli Salsiccia with Italian fennel sausage, broccoli, chilli, tomato and mozzarella and Calzone with prosciutto cotto, spinach, wild mushrooms, parmesan, tomato and mozzarella. And of course, all the pizzas were hand-made and baked in a wood-fired oven.

We opted a for a mix of breads and dips to start with including hummus and baba ganoush and received a lovely selection of small plates to nibble on between us. The hummus was divine, one member of the party who previously claimed not to like hummus actually enjoyed it – so it must have been good!

Having already done my fast days that week, I was definitely up for a large lunch and opted for a pizza for my main course. I chose the Melanzane Parmigiana pizza, which came with aubergine, paremesan, tomato, mozzarella and I added some extra prosciutto.

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A close up of my scrummy pizza

I thoroughly enjoyed my pizza, polishing off pretty much the entire plateful! Most of the table also enjoyed a pizza for their main course too, one member of the party had a lamb tagine dish though – which looked very tasty (I do love anything with cous cous!)

Main Course at Woodfire Stockbridge

Lamb, squash and apricot tagine with almond cous cous and coriander yoghurt

Yes…I was pretty full by this stage but they had affogato on the desserts list, which is essentially espresso and ice cream, so I thought I could probably find room for that. Woodfire’s take on this classic dessert came with amaretto (my favourite!) and biscotti – it was just perfect finish to the meal, I loved the mix of coffee and amaretto together.

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon’s eating and I would highly recommend a visit to Woodfire if you’re in the mood for some Mediterranean cuisine.

For more information or to make a reservation, you can contact the restaurant on 01264 810248 or visit www.woodfirestockbridge.co.uk. Woodfire is open Monday and Wednesday 9am – 5.30pm, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 9am – 11pm, and Sunday 10am – 4pm. The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays.

A moment of gelato joy…

A moment of gelato joy...

I’ve been meaning to try out Moments Gelato in Winchester for so long but never quite managed to make it. Today however, the sun was shining and I’d been on beautiful walk around the water meadows and St. Catherine’s Hill so it seemed the perfect time to pop in!

I had a gorgeous coffee sundae, very decadent but just the treat I was looking for.

I’m sure I’ll be back to try the waffles and crepes they have on offer too! Check out the scrumptious menu at http://www.momentsgelato.com.

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Banana Oatmeal Cookies

The other day I was left with quite a few icky, overripe bananas. So in the spirit of waste not want not I turned to the internet for some banana recipes, I know that overripe bananas are supposed to be the best for cooking/baking with so I was hoping to find something tempting that would also magically fit with the random contents of my cupboards.

Firstly I came across Buzzfeed’s ’17 Delicious Ways To Use Up Old Bananas’  – this proved to an absolute treasure trove of nommy nana recipe inspiration! Do take a look – there’s everything from classic banana bread to cheesecake, smoothies and cakes.

However I was rather limited by my slightly bare cupboards but this recipe for cookies (well, to me they were more like flapjacks) was a perfect fit! Essentially mixing mushed bananas, oats, raisins with a tiny bit of butter, sugar and cinnamon. I also added honey.

So here goes….Banana Oatmeal “Cookies”
Taken from bionicbites.com Adapted from The Burlap Bag

Ingredients

2 large overripe bananas
1 cup quick oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon butter
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins
butter or oil to grease two cookie sheets

– I added honey to the mixture too!

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Mash bananas with oats, cinnamon, sugar, salt, and butter.

3. Mix in walnuts and raisins.

4. Drop a tablespoon of banana-oatmeal mixture on a greased cookie sheet and then flatten with the back of a spoon. (Skip flattening if you like soft cookies). To make 16 flat cookies, you’ll need two cookie sheets.

5. Bake 35 minutes.

6. Flip cookies.

7. Bake an addition 10 more minutes.

My cookies were still quite moist and more like a flapjack in consistency but enjoyable and pretty healthy too – here’s a look at the results…

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I’d recommend this recipe – super quick and easy to prepare, pretty healthy and very satisfying.

Afternoon Tea Delights at The Vineyard

It’s well documented that I do like to partake in a spot of afternoon tea and so my mum’s recent birthday provided a great excuse to get the family together for some tea and cake. As a surprise for my mum, my sister and I booked the afternoon tea experience at The Vineyard at Stockcross, which turned out to be just lovely.

The-Vineyard

For those of you who don’t know it the Vineyard at Stockcross is in Berkshire (not Hampshire I know, but worth the drive!), it’s fairly near Newbury and just off the A34 so very easy for Winchester folk to get to. It’s a beautiful, grand looking place, known for its fine dining, so we knew we were in for a treat with their afternoon tea.

We were seated by the fireplace on comfy sofas as it was a special occasion, where we sipped cups of lovely earl grey tea. When the afternoon tea came, it certainly was a feast…

Vineyard Afternoon Tea

Small, perfectly formed sandwiches with crusts cut off to start, followed by hearty fruit scones with cream and jam.

Vineyard Scones

 

Although I don’t have a photo I must say that the choice of homemade jams was lovely…it’s always nice to have an alternative to the traditional strawberry I think.

Last of all, we enjoyed a beautifully presented top tier of delightful little petit four style treats, including macarons and peanut éclairs…

Vineyard Petit Fours

All in all, it was a fabulously indulgent treat and we all left feeling rather full! It was perfect for a birthday celebration though. I’d definitely recommend the Vineyard for its afternoon tea, they do it properly! If you plan to book with them make sure you tell them if it’s a special occasion too. Visit their website for more www.the-vineyard.co.uk.

…Hopefully one day I’ll have had enough afternoon teas to be able to compile an amazing top ten best list…

A Foodie Feast to see in the New Year!

Many people will know The Bugle in Twyford’s a firm favourite place to go for me, it never disappoints! So that was where we headed for new year’s eve, and what an evening it was…

We started with a glass of local Danebury Vineyard Kir Royale and some lovely canapes…

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There were many fabulous courses, including a beautiful crispy fillet of sea bass served on a lobster, lemon and saffron risotto…

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This was then followed by a generous sized organic fillet of beef from Laverstoke Park Farm, which was delicious – served medium rare, it was cooked to perfection!

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As if we had room for more, there was then a multiple dessert spectacular that we all somehow managed to demolish. To the best of my memory it was tart au citron, with a tangy lemon panacotta, ginger ice cream and a gooseberry brulee…all of which were divine. The gooseberry brulee was particularly scrumptious!

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To finish off there was a selection of Hampshire cheeses and of course some port. I pretty much needed wheeling out of there I was so full to the brim with lovely food! All in all a cracking evening, spent with some of my favourite people – a wonderful way to see in the New Year.

Happy New Year!
xXx

The Pleasures of Petit Fours

So you’ve enjoyed a lovely meal out, starters and main course, you’re feeling too full for dessert, the over indulgence has made you sleepy…but you know you don’t want the experience to end…ever felt this way? Petit Fours and a coffee are perfection in these situations. Light little sweet treats that you can take your time over with a strong coffee to revive and ready you for the rest of the night.

Petit Fours are nearly always a visual treat too, temptingly presented in a whole host of creative styles – here are two such examples I recently enjoyed…

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Petit Fours enjoyed at the Wykeham Arms in Winchester

I loved the little lollipop, it was coated with popping candy which made for a fun surprise.

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Scrumptious Petit Fours enjoyed at a beautiful restaurant in Lake Garda, Italy

These adorable treats arrived in their own little tree – like a work of art, they were almost too pretty to eat (I said almost…)

Well, that’s actually all I have for now (you know my track record for remembering to photograph my food!) – if I enjoy any more lovely little Petit Fours I’ll be sure to add to this post.

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