9 March 2017

Restaurant Review: Rick Stein, Winchester, Hampshire

Rick Stein Winchester review, Rick Stein restaurant, food bloggers, Hampshire food blogger

I was very excited to be invited to dine at Rick Stein in Winchester, a restaurant which has caught my eye some time ago but I’ve just not had the excuse to go. For years, I have been watching Rick Stein on Saturday Kitchen Live and following his delicious seafood recipes - as someone who loves seafood, I knew when it came to fresh ingredients and tasteful combinations Rick Stein would be the one.

Rick Stein Winchester review, Rick Stein restaurant, food bloggers, Hampshire food blogger
Rick Stein Winchester review, Rick Stein restaurant, food bloggers, Hampshire food blogger

Before I dive into the review, there are a few things I didn’t know about the restaurant prior to enjoying the meals and having a chat with the lovely manager, Claire. All of the chefs are trained on site by Jack Stein, Rick’s son who is the executive chef for all their seafood restaurants. It’s very interesting to know that the Rick Stein Group supports young chefs in training and participates in apprenticeship schemes as well as helping colleges in Cornwall who train young people in cookery.

Now, we really wanted to know where the fish came from - if you have read my previous posts from our summer trip to Cornwall, you’ll know I rank Cornish seafood as top - especially the crab. All of the seafood on the menu (unless otherwise stated) comes from St Ives in Cornwall from a man called Matthew Stevens who has worked with Rick for over 15 years AND his company delivers fresh seafood to all of the restaurants, across the country, every morning. That’s insanely great to hear that you are eating seafood which was not only locally sourced from Cornwall, but also has been caught about 24hrs prior to landing on your plate! Because everything is so fresh, the menu depends on what fishermen catch - sometimes the restaurants simply do not have the fish or shellfish on the menu, but they are brilliant at finding replacements. Rick Stein’s restaurants also use local produce when they can - in Winchester, the restaurant has paired with local breweries, vineyards, bread producers and farms.

Each restaurant has a different menu, and the menus change quarterly - which means you’ll never get bored of new dishes so sample!

Rick Stein Winchester review, Rick Stein restaurant, food bloggers, Hampshire food blogger

Rick Stein in Winchester is conveniently located on the high street with parking available about 5 minutes walk away. Inside the atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable seating at the back of the restaurant allows you to relax whilst eating your meal, and watch the chefs cook fresh food - constantly hoping what’s coming out is yours. I took my mum to the restaurant with me as she is a huge fan of seafood and I knew she would enjoy the experience. We were greeted by friendly staff who were very helpful with any queries we had about the food and wine, and as we got our drinks we tasted a complimentary taster of the Indonesian Curried Cod - the restaurants most popular dish.

Rick Stein Winchester review, Rick Stein restaurant, food bloggers, Hampshire food blogger
Rick Stein Winchester review, Rick Stein restaurant, food bloggers, Hampshire food blogger

Our starters came out at a really good time - we had some time to catch up about our weeks, sip our wine and get ready for the meal. Mum had the Fish and Shellfish Soup with Rouille and Parmesan - a recipe from Provence made with gurnard and whatever fish was collected from the Newlyn market; and I had Sashimi of Salmon, Tuna, Sea Bass and Turbot with wasabi, pickled ginger, daikon and soy sauce for dipping. Everything on my plate tasted amazing - I love sushi, and any chance for a good slice of sashimi needs to be taken! The fish was incredibly fresh and wasabi was the perfect heat - although I still manage to eat way too much in one go! The fish soup was hearty and lightly spiced - perfect to warm up after a cold day, this definitely warms your cockles! The soup comes with rouille and parmesan which you layer and place into the soup like floating boats - the cheese melts slightly and turns into heavenly croutons.

Rick Stein Winchester review, Rick Stein restaurant, food bloggers, Hampshire food blogger
Rick Stein Winchester review, Rick Stein restaurant, food bloggers, Hampshire food blogger
Rick Stein Winchester review, Rick Stein restaurant, food bloggers, Hampshire food blogger

On to the main event - mum ordered John Dory alla Carlina which is a Venetian recipe of pan fried John Dory fillets with a sauce of tomatoes and capers , and new potatoes; and I ordered a fresh platter of Fruits de Mer which is crab, scallops, oyster, mussels, cockles, clams, surf clams and prawns with mayonnaise and shallot vinegar, served on ice. Sounds incredible! I also had a side of chips because it’s Winter and carbs are always a good idea. The restaurant didn’t have any scallops that day as there were none on the market, so I think there were more razor clams on the plate instead. When my platter came out, I can safely say this is the first time in my life I was intimidated by food - it was massive! I didn’t expect it to be this big and beautiful - it was a shellfish party on a plate. All the fish was incredible fresh and delicious - cooked to perfection. Oysters were some of the best I have indulged in - they were very big! The whole platter was crowned with the crab - and boy did you have fun eating the big guy. At first I didn't know how to tackle my platter but after the first few bites it became really fun to eat - however I have to admit that by the end I struggled and my mum helped me beat the mountain of shellfish in front of us!

The John Dory fillets were delicious - I really loved the sauce because I love capers, and the smoothness of the new potatoes offset the salty sauce.

Rick Stein Winchester review, Rick Stein restaurant, food bloggers, Hampshire food blogger
Rick Stein Winchester review, Rick Stein restaurant, food bloggers, Hampshire food blogger

We also braved a little dessert because they looked too good to pass up - even after two courses! Mum indulged in Vanilla Crème Brûlée with mixed berry compote which was deliciously crunchy on the outside and velvety on the inside; and I spotted Milk Chocolate & Rose Cream which was a chocolate mousse with vanilla ice cream, crumble and a rose syrup dotted on the plate. Honestly guys, I’ve eaten many sweet treats that blew my mind but this dessert has the perfect combination of ingredients and the rose syrup is one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. As far as desserts go, this is in my top 2.

We had a lovely night at Rick Stein in Winchester - and we all definitely come back for a nice occasion or celebration; or a romantic night out with my fiancé. I was really blown away by the amount of effort that goes into sourcing every ingredient on the menu, and how fresh and local everything was. With a massive emphasis on sustainability, you can also feel good about the fish you’re eating without worrying about the impact it has on seas.
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