Welcome to Winchester, Open House Deli!

At a recent networking event held by my good friend Emma of Women Who Do, I met the lovely Rebecca, who recently left the corporate world behind to pursue her dream of opening her own deli in the heart of Winchester. As a huge foodie myself and always keen to back ambitious ideas, I wanted to know more about Rebecca’s story. We met for coffee at The Dispensary Kitchen (one of my favourite coffee spots in Winchester), where she told me all about her exciting new business…

 

Previously a marketer based in London who travelled across the country a lot for business, Rebecca had a passion for food and sustainability and wanted to take this further in her hometown.

Those of you who know Winchester will probably agree that we’re very lucky to have a great coffee scene and good choice of pubs and restaurants. But the options for fresh grab-and-go food remain somewhat limited, with the big chains still many people’s go-to for takeaway sandwiches and salads.

This is the space Rebecca aims to fill with Open House Deli – a concept based on healthy food that is locally-sourced and centres around an environmentally-friendly foundation, without high costs for customers – yay!

The Open House Deli stall has been up and running at Winchester market for a few weeks now, offering an amazing choice of salads and sweet treats. Most of these foods are also vegan friendly, though this wasn’t a conscious effort from Rebecca, who simply aims to offer healthy, fresh foods.

I tried out some of the Open House Deli goodies recently – highly recommend the snickers bars!

 

In the not-so-distant future, Rebecca aims to to open her own permanent space in Winchester city centre, where she’ll supply the same great foods for eating in or grabbing-to-go, as well as supplying local ingredients like nuts and coffee beans that customers can take home.

I’ve been lucky to meet some amazing people in the year-and-a-bit I’ve lived in Winchester, and meeting Rebecca – a lady who has given up a great career and an exciting London lifestyle to make a career out of a concept she’s passionate about – has been so refreshing. I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2018 brings for OpenHouse deli!

You can find the stall in Winchester high-street every Wednesday and Friday for all your healthy eating needs!

Instagram

@OpenHouseDeli

Facebook

www.facebook.com/openhousedeli

Website

www.openhousedeli.co.uk

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Introducing Club Epicure: Winchester’s New Supper Club

Hampshire residents, listen up; Winchester’s new supper club is here!

Set up by Masterchef 2017 quarter-finalist Alex Parker, Club Epicure aims to bring local foodies together in a relaxing environment to enjoy fine home-cooked food, using locally-sourced ingredients wherever possible.

As a big foodie myself (but a pretty reluctant cook) I wanted to learn more about Alex and why he and his partner chose to set out on this venture.

Here’s what he had to say…

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I currently live in Winchester with my partner, Hatty. I grew up in London, went to University of Southampton, did some years in Perth, Australia, and now reside in leafy Hampshire. I work as an engineer in the day, and mostly cook at all other times.

How did you get into cooking?

Cooking became an interest of mine when I returned from Australia a couple of years ago. Since then, I’ve gone from meat and two veg to more and more elaborate dishes, inspired by a rapidly growing collection of cookery books. It’s not all soufflés, emulsions and purees though – I love a one pot wonder (although I don’t cook them enough, according to Hatty).

Why did you decide to set up your own supper club?

The idea for Club Epicure stemmed mainly from my desire to cook for more people, and Hatty wanting to exercise her creative and marketing skills outside of work. Hence, our supper club project began!

Supper clubs are huge in London, but in other cities the concept has barely taken off. In the age of Instagram, communication between fellow foodies is easier than ever – it seemed like a no brainer to at least give it a go.

So what can we expect from a night with Club Epicure?

We will aim to serve four courses throughout the evening for ten guests, with a few surprises thrown in along the way. The emphasis is on flavour, season and locality – in that order. I want people to experience foods that they might not normally have the confidence to try in a restaurant, for example seaweed, gochujang and tahini. If our guests have any favourite foods then we ask them to let us know, so we can possibly try to tailor our menu accordingly!

What do you hope to achieve?

We want the guests at our evenings to be as comfortable as possible, like they’re our friends, rather than ‘punters’ in a restaurant. The inimitable A.A.Gill once said, “If the food is the star of the dinner party, then it’s a bad dinner party”. As much as these evenings will be about trying and enjoying my food, we want our guests to leave having enjoyed the whole experience.

And finally, describe to us your perfect meal…

That’s a tricky one. I like all food – and my tastes change weekly! I’m a huge fan of fish, so possibly oysters to start and turbot, or a very well made bowl of Ramen for main. Dessert would be something creamy, like a custard tart, ideally followed by some smelly cheese!

Lovely!

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Club Epicure’s first supper menu

To read more about Club Epicure, book tickets for their upcoming events and enquire about private parties, visit www.clubepicure.uk.

Next supper club events:

Sunday 15th October

Thursday 19th October

Instagram

@clubepicure

@alex_cooking

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The Best Coffee Shops in Winchester

My favourite places to go for coffee in my favourite city!

Before moving to Winchester in January this year, I was oblivious to the great foodie and coffee culture here. I even remember searching online for “Best Coffee Shops Winchester” myself, trying to seek out the best spots in the city.

Seven months in, there’s so much to choose from, whether it’s coffee, lunch or even speciality gins – which I’ll save for another blog post! The rise of the independents is very apparent, even in the short time I’ve lived here, and each spot offers something unique that makes Winchester such a charming, characterful place to visit.

I’m no coffee connoisseur, but these are just a few of my personal favourite cafes in Winchester that I’d recommend you visit if you’re looking for excellent, authentic coffee…

Coffee

 

  1. Coffee Lab

If you follow me on Instagram, this choice will come as no surprise. With Coffee Lab’s original location just a couple of minutes walk from my house, it’s become an almost daily routine to pay this lovely bunch a visit.

With expert baristas, a cool cosy feel, and fresh coffee beans in two different blends, Coffee Lab is a hugely popular hangout for locals. Upon walking in, you’re greeted with warming coffee aromas and can instantly sense the authenticity of the business. If you need a hand, just look to the chalkboard for an explanation of what actually makes up each popular drink – or better still, ask one of the guys behind the counter and they’re always happy to help!

A special mention also has to go out to Chocolate Lab’s incredible brownies – a chocaholic’s dream! If you visit here, make sure you give one a try… you will not be disappointed!

Address: 6 Saint Thomas Street, Winchester SO23 9HE

Coffee beans: The Roasting Party

Best Bit: The staff in here are great and really know their stuff. When I’ve been trying to find my perfect cup o’ Joe, they’ve helped me try new things to discover what I like best!

2) Josie’s

Owned by former England rugby captain Chris Robshaw, Josie’s was the first cafe my boyfriend and I visited when we moved to Winchester. We’d heard great things from friends who had been there so on our first morning we popped out for brunch and weren’t disappointed; they have a huge menu with lots of tasty dishes, from oats to eggs to breakfast burritos!

Coffee wise, whether it’s an Aeropress, a V60, an Americano with dairy-free milk or just a good old-fashioned cappuccino, Josie’s will have it covered. They also go beyond the standard variations you’d expect, with options like the healthy foodie favourite matcha lattes, so there’s always something new to try.

Note that if you visit on a weekend they get extremely busy (always a good sign!), so I’d suggest planning a little bit ahead to make sure you get a great seat!

Address: 28 Jewry Street, Winchester, Hampshire SO23 8RY

Coffee beans: Monmouth Coffee Company

Best Bit: While Josie’s coffees are great for a quick caffeine stop, their brunches are also to die for. Be sure to make a morning of it and try the whole hog!

 

3) The Dispensary Kitchen

Newly opened in May this year, The Dispensary Kitchen has quickly become one of the most popular coffee shops in Winchester.

Located at the edge of the cathedral grounds and right by Winchester square, this chic venue offers high-quality coffee, pastries and light meals during the day, transitioning to a lovely dinner venue in the evenings. Its modern furnishings and charcoal walls blend with the building’s Victorian roots to create a sleek, Scandic-style interior that is a favourite with Instagrammers.

The baristas here know how to make a really good coffee, and the sense of community makes The Dispensary Kitchen stand out as one of the best coffee venues in Winchester.

I’m yet to have more than a drink here, but did catch sight of a mouthwatering egg and mushroom breakfast when visiting recently – definitely next on my list!

Address: 5 The Square, Winchester, SO23 9EX

Coffee beans: The Roasting Party

Best Bit: Their charming modern interior makes The Dispensary Kitchen a nice place to be, and with views of the stunning Winchester cathedral on one side, you can nab a great view over the beautifully busy grounds while you enjoy your coffee.

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These are just a few of my favourite spots in Winchester, but be sure to add the following to your coffee/snacking list – there is just too much to choose from!

Rawberry – 52-54 St George’s St, Winchester SO23 8AH

Caracoli – 100 High St, Winchester SO23 9AH

Forte Kitchen – 78 Parchment St, Winchester SO23 8AT

Cafe Monde – 22 The Square, Winchester SO23 9EX

Have I missed anywhere? Tell me your favourite Winchester spots in the comments below!

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