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

Belated Review of Rick Stein Winchester

Well, it’s been so long since my first visit to Rick Stein’s new restaurant in Winchester that I’ve actually been back a second time to enjoy it. In case there’s any of you still wondering about whether or not to book a table I’m finally getting around blogging about my recent visits.

Myself and the OH are big fish and seafood fans so, it’s fair to say we were excited about this new restaurant. My first thoughts were how different it looked from Jamie Oliver’s Union Jack’s that had previously occupied the site and even more radically different from the days when it was a Pizza Hut! It is hard to believe it’s the same space, it’s such a cool, calm and welcoming layout. There is comfy seating by the doors if you need to wait for a table, or if like me you like to sit and have a drink before your meal. I found this a lovely area to sit and sip a bellini, they had other classic cocktails on the list too (which I’m sure I’ll try on my next visit!).

The menu is simple but exciting I found, I could have easily enjoyed anything from it but on my first visit a settled on a classic fish soup served with rouille and parmesan. I just love these kinds of fish soups that you get on a Mediterranean holiday and this one didn’t disappoint. There’s something very satisfying about customising your soup by adding lots of cheese and garlicky rouille! A word of warning, it was very filling by the time I’d had bread too. I could have easily eaten it as a main course!

Crisp Garlic Bread Croutons, Rouille and Parmesan

Crisp Garlic Bread Croutons, Rouille and Parmesan

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Delicious rich fish and shellfish soup

I opted for the filled of hake for my main served with spring onion mash and soy butter sauce. It certainly was a sizeable fillet of fish (or maybe it just seemed that way after polishing off my soup and extra bread!), everything on the plate was light and delicately flavoured. It was just delicious and a clean plate was left behind.

Fillet of Hake with spring onion mash and soy butter sauce

Fillet of Hake with spring onion mash and soy butter sauce

I thoroughly enjoyed the meal, as did my dining companion, I was incredibly full though (my own greedy fault!). So I remembered this on my next visit and opted for a lighter prawn and crab cocktail to start with, which was lovely, although I did look longingly at other diners enjoying the soup!

On my second visit they had a special main course of a Lobster Thermidor, which I couldn’t resist (it’s lobster and there’s cheese after all!!). This was a good size and not too huge – just right for me.

The special - Lobster Thermidor

The special – Lobster Thermidor

My dining companion on the other hand did not go for something so small…

Fruits de Mer

Fruits de Mer

A rather large seafood platter, featuring a huge crab! It was thoroughly enjoyed and I did help out a little of course – so yes the whole thing was demolished.

I must also mention the sides, they were so good and probably partly why I filled up so much on my first visit! In particular the roast pumpkin with chilli oil was just gorgeous – I could eat a whole plate of it.

So there you have it, my experience at Rick Stein Winchester. After visiting a few times, you can’t accuse me of not being thorough with my reviews! I really enjoyed the food, the wine, cocktails and the atmosphere so would recommend it to anyone who likes fish and seafood. There are couple of non-fishy and veggie courses for those you who don’t do fish but really the fish is the main attraction here.

Have you been? Let me know what you thought if so.

xXx

New Restaurant Review: Fish Tale Winchester

Winchester has a great new restaurant that I’ve been fortunate enough to visit a few times recently. Situated where the Terracotta/Charles House used to be at the bottom of town (I like to refer to this as the hip end of town), is Fish Tale Bar and Grill.

As the name suggests it’s all about fish and seafood, so it’s right up myself and the boy’s culinary street. Prawns, fish and seafood are all firm favourites of ours, so we couldn’t wait to try it out.

When you step inside it’s got a lovely contemporary feel and looks nothing like the former Chinese restaurant that it once was. We found the cheerful staff to be super-attentive to which was really nice. Anyway, I’m sure you’re more interested in the food, so here goes.

We both felt something like light to begin with and there were some good choices to accommodate this, I opted for lobster consommé and my dining companion chose smoked salmon with asparagus and hollandaise sauce.

Delicious smoked salmon starter

Delicious smoked salmon starter

The lovely lobster consomme with some garlic toast and a tastylobster dumpling

The lovely lobster consommé with some garlic toast and a tasty lobster dumpling

For our main courses we didn’t choose quite such light options…

A sizeable surf and turf for Tom

A sizeable surf and turf for him

Sensational lobster burger for me!

And a sensational lobster burger for me!

We thoroughly enjoyed our main courses, I especially loved the lobster burger which came in a soft bun with bacon and crème fraiche. We both absolutely devoured our meals, so much so that there wasn’t any room for dessert!

I’ve been back since and enjoyed the pan fried salmon and the lobster thermidor, both very tasty. I plan to try something different each time I go until I’ve tried the whole menu!

There were some nice wines and fizz to choose from too, including one of my favourites Laurent Perrier Rose. And on my last visit we tried a Rose wine from a vineyard in Devon. Plenty to choose from to accompany all the great fishy dishes on the menu.

All in all, I give Fish Tale a firm thumbs up. It’s casual and relaxed yet has a refined edge to it, a pleasant place to spend an evening. The food’s good and there are a few choices for veggies and those who don’t do fish too.

Give it a try and perhaps I’ll see you in there next time!

Mormons, Lobsters and London…

I can’t tell you how excited I’ve been about seeing Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s musical, The Book of Mormon! I’d booked the tickets waaay back in November as a special treat for Tom and at last the weekend had finally arrived!

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To make a real occasion out of the day (I don’t do London all that often) we went for a spot of lunch first. We headed to the Burger & Lobster – nearby restaurant serving you guessed it…burger or lobster. There’s only three choices on the menu so all are done really well, there was a choice of lobster with a salad and fries, a burger with bacon and cheese and a lobster roll. I opted for the lobster roll, which was to die for, I’d eat it again right now if that were possible! The lobster roll was actually toasted brioche bread, with cold lobster in a lemon mayonnaise, accompanied by salad and fries…so good!

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Lobster Roll - delicious!

Here’s a look at the other two dishes on the menu…

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Burger at Burger & Lobster

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Lobster and chips, a classic!

Being as it was a special occasion, I enjoyed a few lunchtime cocktails too. Here’s a Winter in the City, a vodka based cocktail with cranberry, elderflower…and I forget what else…it somehow tasted like an iced mulled wine, if you can imagine that tasting good.

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Winter in the City - beautiful and delicious

A few wines were also enjoyed at lunch and then a few more at the theatre too…so it did end up little messy that evening, but lots of fun. The show was fantastically funny, Trey Parker and Matt Stone at their best. Highly offensive but totally getting away with it, by being so on the mark and amusing. There were actually points when my theatre companions had tears of laughter in their eyes! It’s hard to conceive of how a musical about Mormons could be so brilliant, but like South Park and Team America, it just somehow is. If you enjoyed Team America you’ll enjoy The Book of Mormon for sure, definitely worth the trip to London!

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

Exciting News for South Coast Seafood lovers!

A while back I said I’d have some exciting local foodie news to share…well here it is, brace yourself seafood lovers this is really cool!

Love fish? Then read on…

If like me you love the sound of fresh locally caught fish and seafood, but aren’t quite sure how or where to get it…well get ready because that’s about to change  thanks to South East Seafood! Working in partnership with the south coast’s fishing community, South East Seafood has launched Local Catch, a revolutionary new smart phone app and website designed to connect you direct to your local fisherman’s catch of the day.

Local Catch – the brand new app for local seafood fans

The launch of Local Catch means anyone on the south coast (that’s Winchester folks too!) can register to receive alerts about their local catch of the day direct to their smart phone, tablet or computer. Whether it’s crab, lobster, bream or bass, the south coast’s fishermen and the fishmongers, restaurants and cafes they supply will all be uploading details of their freshest catches, along with their exact location every day. All you have to do is pop along to your local fishmonger, or meet your local fishermen directly and you’ll be guaranteed fresh local fish and seafood, the day it’s caught.

A Hamble fisherman uploads his catch of the day

To ensure you really make the most of your fish, Local Catch gives you access to a whole range of recipes, inspiration and ideas, as well as cooking tips and videos on the preparation of various fish and seafood dishes. So whether you’re making bouillabaisse, bisque, crab cakes or chowder you can be sure your fish supper will be the freshest around!

Lobster Linguine, just one of the great recipes you’ll find on the Local Catch app

In addition to guaranteeing you fresh fish that’s 100% local, the launch of Local Catch also means a fairer price for the fishermen of the south coast – it’s really a win win, lovely fresh fish and a better detail for the local fishing community. All in all it’s fantastic news for seafood lovers around the Hampshire/West Sussex areas…I’m personally encouraging all my South Coast friends to download Local Catch – let’s get behind it and start to revolutionise the way we get our fish!

A Hayling Island Fisherman uploads his catch of the day

It’s not just local residents who can benefit from the app either,  local chefs can get involved too. The South Coast’s chefs, restaurants, pubs, cafes, delis and fishmongers can all use Local Catch too – they simply need to register in the same way as members of the public would, but once they’ve purchased from their local fishermen they are then able to send out an alert that lets people in the local area know they’ve got fresh, locally caught seafood on the menu.

Fresh fish on the menu – always a winner with me!

Local Catch is really simple to use and free to download now for Android devices (iPhone version coming soon!). It’s  just as easy to use Local Catch on your computer too. Simply log on to www.localcatch.co.uk to sign up and find out the catch of the day.

What are you waiting for fellow Hampshire folks? Get downloading!