Monday, April 11, 2011

THE BLACK RAT

Yesterday my husband and I enjoyed the most delicious Sunday lunch. Not cooked by yours truly, but in a Michelin star restaurant no less.

THE BLACK RAT in Winchester has this year been awarded a Michelin Star. We were both anxious to visit, but were finding it difficult to book a Friday or Saturday evening. So I decided as a birthday treat I would take my husband for Sunday Lunch, which offers a smaller version of the evening menu.

So we set off to see what all the fuss and reviews were about. We were not disappointed. The building itself does not give anything away about what lies within. The restaurant is housed in an old pub dating back to 1700's although there is apparently stonework which could be as far back as the 15th century.

On a sunny day it was full of happy diners. A huge open fire would be a welcome site on a cold winter's night, but thankfully unlit on our visit. The decoration is interesting with an eclectic collection of prints and paintings. Anatomical prints juxtaposed with nautical themed pictures. The well proportioned wooden tables around the room gave a relaxed air to the place.

We were shown to our table swiftly by a very pleasant young man, and brought a plate of warm bread while we sipped our pre lunch drink and read over the small, but delicious looking menu. I noticed the eclectic theme went on through to the cutlery. Old pieces mixed and matched were perfect for the setting. No stuffy white tablecloths and hushed tones, instead a warm welcoming room which promised an interesting experience.

Finally I chose a ham hock terrine and my husband went for the gnocchi in a wild garlic sauce. Both were delicious. A taste of the gnocchi pleased me so much, it was soft and pillowy with the lightest of garlic flavour.
For mains we plumped for line caught sea bass with a croquette of pigs trotter and a pea puree. Mmmm fabulous. Croquette at first seemed small but the richness of it would have prevented me from eating another nibble more than I had been given.

My husbands roast chicken with a black pudding mash also delivered on taste.

We were now full but couldn't leave without at least a small dessert. Unusually we both went for the same one, a rhubarb fool. This was the lightest imaginable and was sitting on a rhubarb jelly with little pieces of still crisp rhubarb. It was served with turkish delight. A coffee later we were very happy by what we had eaten.

The staff were were polite and had a great knowledge of the food.They chatted easily and interested interested in your opinion. There were plenty of them around but not overwhelming. They wore casual clothes which once again was the perfect choice for the ambiance of the dining room.

Lunch was reasonably priced at £23 for 3 courses but I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to try it out in the evening.

Great having a place like this practically on your doorstep.

2 comments:

At Anna's kitchen table said...

Sounds great!

Coby said...

I like choosing food I'd not cook at home when out:) I'd never have thought of black pud in mash, but I'd love to try it:D It all sounds really delicious Jacqui, what a lucky husband you have too!