8 May 2017

An Evening Out With William Walker

The William Walker review in Winchester, Fuller's Pub review, Winchester restaurants, food blog, Hampshire bloggers

On Friday night I was invited to experience an exclusive dining event at The William Walker in Winchester - with a tempting 6 course menu, and perfectly paired wine to accompany the dishes, it was really hard to find an excuse not to go. I love food and wine - probably why I'm never going to get that lady 4-pack - but these two things make me happy wherever, whenever. And who wouldn't choose happiness over vanity??!

The William Walker pub is a part of the Fuller's Pub chain - and I have to admit I wasn't sure what to expect from their kitchen. I couldn't help but judge a book by its cover and assume that the food served at a Fuller's Pub would have probably spent the last 3 months in a kitchen freezer, waiting to be ordered and served as a dry meal which we will ultimately cover with sauce from a pile of sachets. Well, ladies and gents, I am so so so happy to tell you that I have had an education about Fuller's Pub kitchens and no longer am I ever going to be sceptical of their food.

Of course I cannot speak for all Fuller's Pubs but I can assure you that the food you receive from The William Walker will be locally sourced when possible, otherwise sourced from the UK, and they will only resort to buying food from other locations when these cannot be sourced from the UK. Support local - I'm a big believer in supporting local businesses and farms - and the food always tastes better when you know where it's from! The lads in the kitchen also love to experiment with food and use as much of the produce as possible - further in the post I'll tell you exactly how. And finally, the wines paired with our dishes were incredible - genuinely brought out the taste of the food. So they really do know what they're talking about. 

The William Walker review in Winchester, Fuller's Pub review, Winchester restaurants, food blog, Hampshire bloggers
The William Walker review in Winchester, Fuller's Pub review, Winchester restaurants, food blog, Hampshire bloggers

We were seated in a recently refurbished room upstairs which is available for private parties, engagements, birthdays, business meetings, and other events. The rooms seated 12, however there was room for a little more. I found it very enticing that The William Walker doesn't charge room hire -  what they want to see the room lively, with food and drink at the tables. It's all about having an atmosphere and welcoming guests.

Our first course arrived and it looked divine - Beetroot Mousse, Feta, and Olive paired with Prosecco Moinet DOCG from Italy. The prosecco was delicious - we could probably drink that all night! It was a little sweet and light, which went well with the indulgent beetroot mousse. I loved how they turned simple ingredients which are accessible to all of us into something that tasted truly special. The flavours of olive cut through earthy tones of the beetroot, and a little hint of horseradish excited my tastebuds. I could tell this was going to be a good evening.

The William Walker review in Winchester, Fuller's Pub review, Winchester restaurants, food blog, Hampshire bloggers
The William Walker review in Winchester, Fuller's Pub review, Winchester restaurants, food blog, Hampshire bloggers
The William Walker review in Winchester, Fuller's Pub review, Winchester restaurants, food blog, Hampshire bloggers
The William Walker review in Winchester, Fuller's Pub review, Winchester restaurants, food blog, Hampshire bloggers

Our second course was a Spiced Chickpea & Lentil Broth paired with La Capitana Chardonnay Cachapoal Valley, Chile. This course was a hit with everyone in the room - we loved it! It came out in two parts and there was something really fun about pouring the soup over the ingredients, a little DIY project right there on the table. I want to bring your attention to the white foam on top of the chickpeas - this foam was made from the water from the chickpeas! Nothing wasted, everything utilised in the meal - I love this. There are a couple of pubs I now know that make really special food with ingredients we usually throw out, and I love that.
The soup was full of flavour and a crunch of coriander on top really did something spectacular to the taste. I loved the consistency of the soup and the actual cooked chickpeas - usually they all get blended in and you never really appreciate a little bit of substance in the soup.

The wine was fantastic - this was my favourite wine of the night. Not usually a fan of chardonnay, I was surprised that this was my winning wine. It was fruity and light, perfect for a light meal or to enjoy in the sunshine.

The William Walker review in Winchester, Fuller's Pub review, Winchester restaurants, food blog, Hampshire bloggers
The William Walker review in Winchester, Fuller's Pub review, Winchester restaurants, food blog, Hampshire bloggers
The William Walker review in Winchester, Fuller's Pub review, Winchester restaurants, food blog, Hampshire bloggers, scallops and chorizo

The third course followed and it was Scallop, Chorizo & Pea with Lolo Albarino from Spain - I repeat: scallops, chorizo, and white wine. Heaven. Scallops and chorizo are a delicious combination, with a hint of fresh and creamy pea puree and a crisp slither of bacon on the top. The scallops were juicy and cooked to perfection, this dish is always a favourite of mine because I love seafood - an honest 10/10.

The William Walker review in Winchester, Fuller's Pub review, Winchester restaurants, food blog, Hampshire bloggers
The William Walker review in Winchester, Fuller's Pub review, Winchester restaurants, food blog, Hampshire bloggers
The William Walker review in Winchester, Fuller's Pub review, Winchester restaurants, food blog, Hampshire bloggers

The fourth course arrived and it was a scrumptious plate filled with Roast Haddock, British Shellfish Risotto with Fine Herbs paired with (controversial!) St Clair Pinot Noir from New Zealand. I haven't really ever had red wine with seafood, unless it was the only thing left in our kitchen! But, the wine paired really well with a meaty haddock fillet and the delicious herby risotto. Subtle flavours of the risotto were lifted by the roast haddock and finished by a slurp of fresh pinot noir.

I heard some comments from the diners was that the risotto was quite overpowering and didn't need the haddock but I wholeheartedly disagree - I think this was a really nice way to present risotto as an accompaniment to a delicious piece of fish.

The William Walker review in Winchester, Fuller's Pub review, Winchester restaurants, food blog, Hampshire bloggers, roast lamb
The William Walker review in Winchester, Fuller's Pub review, Winchester restaurants, food blog, Hampshire bloggers

The meat dish arrived - Lamb Rump, Burnt Potato Cake, Aubergine Puree, Anchovy & Mint with Cruz Alta Malbec from Argentina. Pink lamb and a splash of red wine - melt in your mouth combination of flavours. The aubergine puree was subtle and gentle, yet made its presence on the plate known. But what I want to tell you about is the burnt potato cake - a ball of carbilicious delight, I could taste familiar flavours but couldn't really work out what it was. A delicious and hot mash of potatoes were rolled into a ball and covered in a lightly burned crust - it was only after talking to the chef my tastebuds finally made sense of the flavours: the potatoes were covered in burnt bread crumbs!

The William Walker review in Winchester, Fuller's Pub review, Winchester restaurants, food blog, Hampshire bloggers
The William Walker review in Winchester, Fuller's Pub review, Winchester restaurants, food blog, Hampshire bloggers
The William Walker review in Winchester, Fuller's Pub review, Winchester restaurants, food blog, Hampshire bloggers

We ended the delightful evening with a duo of deserts: White Chocolate Cheesecake, Strawberries, Strawberry Sorbet, and Apfelstrudel, Vanilla Creme Anglaise paired with Sauternes Chateau Levant, Bordeaux from France. Even though I'm not a desert person and always choose starters over deserts, these two were an absolute delight and a truly indulgent treat. I personally loved the caramelised apple which came with the strudel - super sticky, it was really fun to eat and brought me back to feeling like a kid with candy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Divine Dining experience at The William Walker - and completely changed my mind about Fuller's Pubs, they do know their food and they know good food. I would love for The William Walker to host another 6 course tasting event - I would definitely come along and bring my friends with me!
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