La Place Winchester
Charlotte Pearson finds everything you could want from a restaurant in Winchester.
The recipe for a great restaurant is fairly simple.
“I think all you need is a great location, a great chef and staff,” s says La Place bistro and Froggies bar co-owner Sebastian Brancy. “I have everything I could wish for here and we all enjoy what we do as well.”
Situated opposite the museum and Winchester Cathedral, the location box is definitely ticked while a glance at the menu reveals it is filled to the brim with delicious delights to tempt the taste buds.
As we perused the selection talk quickly turned to what we were going to have.
My partner Denis was instantly taken with the plats du jour menu. Having spotted the grilled sardines, with roasted cherry tomato tosta (£6.50) nothing else came close.
The large portion was well filleted and seemed to be the envy of everyone in the restaurant, including Sebastian who commented it was new to the menu and he was going to have it for his lunch.
“It is like being on the French Rivera,” Denis exclaimed after clearing his plate.
I, on the other hand, took a little longer to make my choice, tempted by the bistro menu which included the warm seafood terrine with lemon butter sauce and the mozzarella, Parmesan, spinach and tomato tart (all £6.50).
However neither of us were brave enough to try the escargots a l’ail or snails in garlic and herb butter.
In the end the flaked white crab meat, prawns, avocado and diced tomato stack (£6.50) won out. It was fresh and a nice twist on the usual prawns and avocado with a heat coming through thanks to the black pepper.
Sticking with the fresh theme, Denis’ main of Parmesan risotto with broad beans, peas, courgette and rocket (£12.95) was light, with crisp vegetables adding another dimension.
Whereas my dish of calves liver and bacon – pan fried with mustard mash, wilted watercress, roasted shallots and red wine jus (£15.95) packed a rich meaty, hearty punch.
The bacon was crisp and salty, the liver was tender and perfectly matched with the creamy, mustard mash. Every mouthful was delicious and made me wish the dish would never end.
For dessert I went for a taste of summer with the strawberry millefeuille, fresh strawberries, creme chantilly, strawberry coulis and ginger ice cream (£5.95).
Personally I would never think to put ginger and strawberry together but it worked so well and is something I would try at home.
Full to bursting point, Denis went for vanilla ice cream with warm chocolate sauce (£4.95), followed by a ‘full bodied’ espresso.
The friendly atmosphere at La Place was buzzing with every table on this Saturday afternoon spoken for. You almost felt as if everyone knew each other and it was a perfect way to spend a sunny day.
And even before we stepped out the door we were planning when we would head back there, hoping that next time our second favourites would still be on the menu.
La Place bistro and Froggies bar, 9 Great Minster Street, Winchester. Open Sunday to Thursday 11am until 11pm; Friday and Saturday 11am until midnight. To book, call 01962 864004 or email email@example.com
August 18, 2014 Food and Drink