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The Old Vine, Winchester
LOOKING for somewhere nice and romantic for our anniversary dinner I spotted the Old Vine Restaurant hiding in a tranquil spot opposite Winchester Cathedral.
It was a Friday night and as we entered the busy, cosy-looking bar of the 18th century inn we were greeted by friendly staff who seated us promptly.
The restaurant, accessed from the bar by walking through some curtains, was almost completely full which is always a good omen ahead of such a important dinner.
There was a warm buzz of conversation from the diners, which, combined with a rustic décor and dimmed lighting created a relaxed atmosphere.
After ordering a bottle of Merlot La Paz I chose the antipasto of cured meats, roasted vegetables, marinated olives and bread while my girlfriend opted for the home-made tomato soup.
The cured ham, salami and fat olives were delicious, as was the thick soup. Portion sizes were sensible ensuring we were both ready for the main meals.
For the main course my partner chose the goulash while I went for guinea fowl with wholegrain mustard mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables.
First of all the presentation was beautiful and the chef is obviously very proud of his menu. The guinea fowl, which was wrapped in prosciutto ham, was mouth watering.
It was one of those meals where I deliberately ate slowly to make the experience last longer and savour every morsel of food. I was genuinely upset when I finished.
My girlfriend was equally impressed with the goulash which she described as ‘yummy’.
For desert we had home-made banoffee cheesecake with cream and home-made bread and butter pudding with custard.
Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed with the latter as it didn’t taste particularly sweet and seemed to be lacking sugar.
But the banoffee was easily one of the best I had ever tasted and annoyingly was pretty much devoured by my partner.
We finished the meal with an amaretto each and slumped into a post-dinner bliss at the table.
Our meal came to £63.25 which for three courses each, a bottle of wine and two amarettos in a beautiful restaurant with friendly staff, was good value for money.
We would definitely come here again.
The Old Vine
8 Great Minster Street
oldvinewinchester.com 01962 854 616