Saturday, 31 January 2015

REVIEW: The Cornerhouse, Winchester

Hidden away in the quintessential streets of Winchester is a little cafe, nestled between one road and another. Inside, you'll find sweet decor, a table groaning with cakes under glass cases, and a menu full of fresh, honest food.

The Cornerhouse in Winchester had been recommended to me by a friend, and seemed like the perfect place to take my dear friend C for lunch when she came to visit the city. It sounded wonderful, and I was pleased to find that booking a table (as I had been advised!) was simple - I did it by email, and had a quick and friendly response, which was a great start.

At 1pm one January Saturday, C and I found our way to our lunchtime destination and were led to our table straight away. The Cornerhouse is a little meander away from the main Winchester high street...but don't let that fool you. It's no secret hideaway!

Within moments I could understand why I had been told to book. A queue of eager and hungry Hampshire folk had suddenly sprung up and was weaving through the door and outside. It certainly seemed like a popular place - which is always a good sign.

After ordering our drinks (raspberry lemonade for me, hot ginger beer for C) we set about trying to decide on our food. The menu wasn't too big, but there was plenty of choice and everything sounded delicious; from the simple sandwiches to the main courses. I ended up plumping for the Roasted Butternut Squash, Pumpkin and Goat's Cheese Salad, while C eventually chose the Chargrilled Halloumi Skewers (who can resist cheese?!). I'll be honest, I had my eye on the salad since I had a sneak-peek at the menu a few days before, and had set my heart on it.

While it was busy enough for us to have a little wait (we weren't bothered - more time to chat!) our food came surprisingly swiftly. We were impressed with the neat and colourful presentation...but even more so with the taste.

I love salads when they're done properly, and only order them if I think they'll be something really special - this one really, really was. My lunch looked fresh and inviting, and contained such a wide and unusual range of ingredients. It was such a wonderful, flavourful dish.

The pumpkin and butternut squash and grapes (grapes!) were sweet and complemented the cheese perfectly - I adored the beetroot and thyme dressing and, to my delight, it was a slightly warm salad - even better on such a chilly day. It was incredibly moreish and comforting. I ate it all very quickly, and couldn't stop telling C how much I loved it. It was definitely one of the best salad's I'd ever ordered!

Not that C was listening, of course - she was too busy tucking into her halloumi skewers which, she assured me, were 'completely amazing'. We both declared our dish the best, and then agreed to disagree (though I'll admit, I want to try her dish next time to see what her fuss was about!).

Though the portions were generous, we both decided we couldn't come to Winchester's Cornerhouse without trying their cake. I had been told that I must, and had trouble deciding which flavour - in the end I opted for a Salted Caramel creation, and really enjoyed it. 

The cake itself was really well baked and the slice was a generous size. I wasn't one hundred percent sure about the icing - the centre had been slathered with a layer of crunch peanut butter - hence the salted caramel - and the top was dripping with a caramel icing. It was unusual, but it was still very good. C had a gluten-free lemon cake and found hers to be very tasty. It may not have been the best cake I'd ever eaten at a cafe, and I feel like it may have been hyped up a little too much, but I do think Mary Berry would approve. I'd pop in for cake again.

We payed our bill (presented to us in an adorable Beatrix Potter book!) and left completely raving out our lunch. I am not joking when I say our praises cropped up in conversation every five minutes for the rest of the day, and even now we are Whatsapp-ing our desire to go back and eat it all again.

Thank you, Cornerhouse, for a memorable and wonderful lunch. I'll be back for more next time I am visiting!

If you're in Winchester and fancy a good lunch, breakfast or cake stop, I couldn't recommend The Cornerhouse enough. The staff are lovely, despite how busy it gets, and the food is brilliant. Take a peek at their menu online beforehand, and I'd really recommend you book beforehand so you avoid being disappointed! I can't wait to go back to try breakfast (and, who am I trying to kid...another slice of cake!)

For now, however, I am left trying to figure a way to recreate that salad at home.


  1. This place looks delicious! A bit far down south for me but now I know they give you the bill in a Beatrix Potter it's a different story! So cute. X