7 High Street
Hampshire, S023 9JX
Tel: 01841 532700
Gluten free: Just ask
Parking: Public Car Parks
Loos: Above average
Obviously we were really looking forward to the opening of Winchester’s latest celebrity chef restaurant but after our visit our conclusion is that it is still a work in progress!
When I phoned to book (one number for all RS’s establishments) I was asked if I would like an email confirmation….. it came immediately and luckily I read the small print because it said we would have to vacate our table by 2.30pm! As our booking was for 1.0pm for 6 of us (ladies) there is no way that 90 minutes would be long enough for one of our leisurely lunches! To give them their due I received, from the manager, an almost instant reply to my query; he assured us we could stay as long as we liked.
We liked the simple décor very much, soft colours with a vaguely coastal feel about it. (Do look at their new website, some very nice interior photos). The kitchen is open (of course) and stretches down one wall. There is a small bar area. Our table was 3 tables for 2 pushed together so we did feel a long way apart from each other, it was impossible to speak to friends at the opposite end of the table. We liked the art work on the walls and particularly liked the water jugs!
As soon as we were settled we were given complimentary sourdough bread rolls…. nibbles are always welcome when studying the menu and enjoying the first drink. Our wine was the house white, a very pleasant Sauvignon Blanc £18.
There is not a lot of choice on the main lunch menu but we decided to mainly choose from the 2 courses for £19.95 or 3 Courses for £24.95 menu. (This menu is now on their website). There are 3 choices of starters, 3 mains and 3 desserts though I think to include a selection of ice creams as one of the desserts is not very exciting.
The Starters: A Spanish Salad of Prosciutto with goats cheese, artichokes and hazelnuts, La Mouclade, a creamy rich mussel dish full of delicate traces of saffron and spice and Grilled Mackerel with a tomato, red onion and mint salad.
The Mains: Grilled Miso Salmon served with rice noodles, spring onion and bean sprouts, Roast Belly Pork served with Jerusalem artichoke and cider glazed carrots and Keralan Egg Curry, an intense red masak flavoured with tomato, chilli, coconut and curry leaves – served with pilau rice.
I ordered from the main menu Cod and Chips served with thick cut chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce. We also ordered 2 side dishes of thick chips which were very good.
Between the 6 of us we tried all of these dishes. The winners were the La Mouclade, delicious flavour and my fish and chips which were were excellent but I could have enjoyed a similar dish in a pub for less than £16. The other dishes were good but we were expecting them to be amazing. Sadly the pork was a little dry and the noodles with the salmon had no flavour and were stuck together so it was impossible to eat them with the provided chop sticks.
Just one pudding was ordered, a Vanilla Crème Brulee served with lemon and blueberry compote. My friend is real fan of crème brulee and she enjoyed it very much, so much that no one else got a taste!
The staff are all very friendly and enthusiastic, if they didn’t know the answer they would go and find out but did have to wait quite a long time for drinks and between courses.
As I said at the start, this is still very early days for this restaurant and hopefully they will soon iron out all their teething problems. Sadly they made a big mistake with our bill, we were overcharged by £20, so very pleased we checked it. They soon sorted it out but it also happened to friends of ours. I think they are having computer problems.
We recommend that you try it for yourself, it is busy, has a good atmosphere and can only get better and better!
Ladies Who Lunch Scoring: Rick Stein
3/5 Quality of food
3/5 Variety of menu
3/5 Staff and service
4/5 Ambiance and décor
3/5 Value for money
16/25 Total yummy factor. Review CJ
Ladies Who Lunch: score key
The higher the “Yummy” factor, the better the food and service.
The higher the number of £ signs the more expensive. (Roughly one £ sign = £5 per head).
5/5 Cannot be improved upon
4/5 Very good
If you visit, please tell them that Ladies Who Lunch in Hampshire sent you!