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

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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

Bean Below’s Brilliant Breakfast

When you’re trying to sell your house it can often lead to you having to leave the house for half an hour or so at awkward times, while random people come view your home…all part of the process, but not always entirely convenient.

House for Sale…

 

So with a viewing scheduled for fairly early on a Sunday morning, what were we to do but go out for breakfast? After pleading with Iago (our pet bird) to keep quiet and a frantic tidy up, we headed out to Bean Below – the local cafe and restaurant below Twyford Stores. I have to say that this place really is a testament to just what great produce we have locally and the scrummy delights that can be created from it. The majority of the food and drink served all is locally sourced, from the Ahmad loose leaf teas to the free range eggs.

Bean Below – the lovely little restaurant below Twyford Stores

 

I have been to Bean Below for lunch and dinner a fair few times, but never for breakfast (I’m not known for being up in time for breakfast!). Bean Below’s food is always good quality and the breakfast did not disappoint, with hearty serving of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for me and a classic Full English for Tom, it was just what two tired people unable to return home required. It hit the spot! Well done Bean Below – you never disappoint!

Scrumptious scrambled eggs and a whole heap of smoked salmon – yum!

Even when Bean Below won’t be walking distance for us any more we’ll still make the short journey from Winchester to enjoy it’s excellent food, it’s well worth the drive.

Pescatarian Week One

Well, so far so good…mostly anyway. I haven’t caved and eaten any meat other than fish, but there’s been a few times where I almost slipped up. Nearly ordered a croque monsier in a cafe yesterday!

Easy to forget they contain ham...

Fortunately there’s been some fabulous fish dishes this week to keep me on track (none of which were made by my own hands I’m ashamed to say). Save for one attempt at Oeufs en Cocotte (of course I’ve been watching Little Paris Kitchen!), this week flew by with two meals out and cous cous or soup providing the rest of my meal time sustenance.

Great meal at The White Horse in Otterbourne this week

Wednesday evening saw me dining at the newly refurbished White Horse in Otterbourne, my second visit since it’s recent change of hands. It did not disappoint – the choice of fishy dishes made pescatarianism a delight. I was tempted by a crab and chilli risotto, but in the end settled on a fish cake to start which was absolutely beautiful and well complemented by parsnip flavours. I followed this with a really good hake chowder and perfect poached egg on top – all in all absolutely delightful!

Must remember to take the photos before I start demolishing the food...

I was lucky enough to be taken out to dinner again this weekend to my favourite local haunt the Bugle Inn Twyford, where I enjoyed a lovely dressed crab with a new potato and pea salad, accompanied by crusty bread – a classic that you just can’t beat in my book!

Lovely bit of crab

So it’s been a busy but food-filled week…today’s guilty indulgence was a vat of salted popcorn (my favourite!) at the cinema with a good friend, perfect way to finish the week.

That’s all for now – I promise each week won’t be solely focused on pescatarian diet updates!

Lovely Local Finds…

Winchester and its surrounding villages have some wonderful places to eat. It’s full of interesting, tucked way little places, some are a little harder to find or a little less well known, hidden down side streets, underground or above shops. This week’s entry is dedicated to these places…here are a  few of my favourites…

The Forte Tea Rooms

Known as ‘Winchester’s best kept secret’…this is one of those places that you notice and always mean to pop into, then when finally you do it turns out to be an amazing little discovery (which plenty of people have already discovered). There’s some steep steps to climb to reach this place but it’s well worth the climb! If you’re a tea lover like me you’ll love this place, they have plenty of lovely loose leaf teas to choose from and a great menu of freshly prepared food, tasty soups and sandwiches, hot food, cooked breakfasts and cakes – what more you could want?!

Bean Below & Twyford Stores

This place gets a huge endorsement from me as a regular customer! Twyford stores is an excellent source of amazing local produce, whether it’s Lyburn Cheeses , the Oven Door Bakery, Judes Ice Cream or Hedge End Butchers.  The appropriately named Bean Below cafe is equally is a fantastic with great sandwiches, smoothies, teas (from local tea company Ahmad Tea) and a seasonally changing evening menu for the weekends. If you haven’t t ventured out to Bean Below – give it a try sometime soon!

Ginger Two

Okay, so this place is fairly well known but it is off the main high street and very easy to miss if you don’t know it’s there. It’s a truly fabulous tea-room, cafe and also a sort of homewares boutique. The cakes are absolutely divine and there’s a great selection of hot beverages to choose from (always a win with me!).

Leaf Bean

This cute little cafe in Stockbridge Road used to be my local point of call when I lived in the Fulflood area, it’s a charming cafe that does great food – as well as takeaway hot drinks (very handy in the days when I walked to work!). It’s really family friendly too – for all the yummy mummies out there!

The Bridge Patisserie

This place is right at the bottom of town and always makes me feel like I’ve found a lovely little secret place. Being a patisserie there’s plenty of indulgent sweet treats on offer (including handmade chocolates!), but they’ve also got a nice selection of baguettes and paninis on the savoury side of things, as well as a nice relaxed space to sit down and eat in.

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The cafe in the guildhall can sometimes be easy to miss, but it’s definitely worth a visit. Serving up tasty light bites made from locally sourced ingredients, the bright and spacious layout makes for a laid back atmosphere to sit and enjoy.

These are just a few of my favourites that I highly recommend a visit to. I’m  sure there’s plenty I’ve missed, maybe even some I don’t know about – do let me know your own local recommendations and Hampshire favourites…

Brown Rice, The Bugle, Disaronno and dreams of Bray…

Ok so it’s been a little quiet on FoodTeaLife of late, all the post Christmas trying to be healthy stuff just hasn’t been worth writing about… is anyone interested in wholemeal pasta recipes, brown rice and protein rich meals? Didn’t think so – although if I do manage to create any magically delicious dinners that are also super healthy – I will of course post the recipes (but don’t hold your breath for that).

Mmmm brown rice...

It’s mostly been soup for dinner of late, but I was lucky enough to eat out twice this week, which brought some much needed variety and wine-drinking back into the regime! So this week I’ve enjoyed seafood at the Chestnut Horse in Easton (highly recommended) and a fabulous meal at The Bugle Inn, Twyford last night. The Bugle was excellent as always, with a some really interesting dishes on the menu – I thoroughly enjoyed my main course of mackerel on toast with horseraddish cream, simple but spot on. Winchester folks it is well worth the ten minute taxi journey to The Bugle for some great local grub.

Well worth a visit!

Unfortunately (for my head today) last night was finished off with several Disaronnos on ice, so eloquent words to describe the rest of the meal, the food and the generally delightful atmosphere are somewhat failing me right now. As a result of the Amaretto and White Wine party taking place in my head today…a full on carb-fest was required for lunch when I met my lovely mother and sister in Winchester earlier on.

So delicious at the time...

Last night we did however manage to make some exciting plans to visit Bray to enjoy the whole Heston Blumenthal experience – I of course plan to hold Tom to these drunkenly-made plans! Naturally I have already chosen accommodation already and will continue to pester him about making this foodie pilgrimage (I’ve just shown him how close it is on Google Maps).

It's only an hour away...

Ooh time for so some wine notes (these won’t be a regular occurrence on FoodTeaLife!) – I’m not a huge red wine lover (sacarildge I know – but it just doesn’t like me very much) – but I am hearing rave reviews of Chateauneuf du Pape, so I think even I could be persuaded to try a glass…

Time to red wine again?

I seem to have wandered into the territory of talking about things I want to eat and drink and now feel rather hungry, so I’ll leave this post here…lots to look forward to though, including a return to The Black Rat and of course more soup making!

 

 

New Year’s Eve – A Night of Fabulous Food!

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Okay my New Year’s Eve was a little mad towards the end, but sensational to begin with – I spent it at the Bugle Inn, Twyford – where the menu for the evening was fabulous from start to finish. From the canapés and mulled wine to begin with to the collection of desserts and the generous cheese board at the end, every course was spot on…my favourite was the fish course:

Halibut – Brill – Sauce Beur Blanc – Capers – Langoustine – Spinach – Fennel, Shallot & Celeriac Puree – Salmon Caviar – Parsley Puree – Lobster Coulis

It was that good, it was even enjoyed by someone on the table who claimed not to like fish!

It was the small, but indulgent little touches that made the evening feel extra special, like the amuse bouche – Celeriac & Apple Veloute  with Curry Oil and Pine Nuts and the Champagne to finish.

Needless to say with a flavoursome trio of duck, a beautiful loin of Hampshire Lamb and several bottles of Champagne also part of the proceedings that evening – I certainly left feeling full food and cheer!

Anyway I think I’ll just say Happy New Year and leave this post here…and not elaborate on how the evening ended with me tucking into some Ainsley Harriott’s Cous Cous at 8 in the morning…

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