Over a period of 6 weeks I visited Nosh Cafe/Bar in Four Marks three times – that’s not a lot I know but it’s not particularly close to me.
The first was by bicycle. Helen and I rode through some beautiful Hampshire country lanes and roads. The route was a bit uppy-downy and we got a little lost on our return route but it was a lovely sunny autumn day.
We found a seat and grabbed a menu off the counter. It has lots of lovely sounding dishes on it and there’s also a very large (literally) ‘specials’ chalk board which they’ve written repeatedly on each side of an interior support so that everyone can see it from where they sit.
We each had a flat white which was very good. To eat, for me, was a toss up between two specials, the wild mushrooms on toast or the bubble & squeak cake with fried egg, roasted butternut squash, goats cheese, coriander, pesto & toasted sunflower seeds.
I adore mushrooms, not only to eat but to hunt and photograph so it had to be that dish for me and they were delicious.
Helen enjoyed her dish too. I think it was the grilled sweetcorn, tomato & cucumber salsa, avocado, watercress, tarragon, feta, toasted seeds and flaked almonds with a poached egg for an extra £1.
We were disappointed with the Victoria sponge cake. The buttercream topping and filling weren’t very sweet and we didn’t really enjoy it.
However, the toasted banana oat loaf served with honey & cinnamon butter and fruit compote was divine.
On my second visit I took my husband Geoff. The mushroom dish had been removed! Whaaat!!
Nosh was quite busy on this occasion, only a couple of tables were left. I had the veggie breakfast and gave Geoff my baked beans which came in a separate pot. It was lovely. A massive flat mushroom, plenty of halloumi, poached egg, avocado and toasted sourdough.
Geoff had the scrambled eggs on toast with bacon.
We took our cakes home to eat later that day. Geoff had the orange polenta cake or a Greek orange cake, I don’t remember exactly. Whatever it was it was a bit dense and stodgy so I let him have it all after just one bite. But the millionaire shortbread was very nice – although it got a bit squashed in transit.
I never find the place that particularly friendly. You don’t seem to get a greeting or a goodbye, no one even bothers to look up to acknowledge you. Friendliness in a cafe is very important to me, which is one reason why I love places like The Southsea Deli, Farm Kitchen and The Old Forge, they’ve always been friendly with excellent service from the very beginning. Don’t get me wrong, Nosh are not too unfriendly and it doesn’t put me off much from going again, the service is friendly when you speak with them, there’s just something there that’s lacking and we’ve noticed it each time.
The menus aren’t placed on the tables, you appear to have to get up and collect one from the counter. Each time we’ve visited we’ve sat with our empty plates and have had to go up to the counter to ask for cake and coffee. They’re missing a trick there. Always clear plates away and ask if the customer wants anything else. Nine times out of ten they’ll ask for another drink or a cake. We’ve left places where we’ve been sat waiting and finally given up.
There’s a seating area outside the cafe for when the weather is fine and inside there’s plenty of tables. Board games are available to play, which is a good idea if you have children with you. They have some pictures on the walls for sale, nice wooden carvings too. I particularly liked the rabbit.
On my third visit we had just come from Chawton House who had their inaugural Christmas fayre and we were meant to be going to the Winchester Christmas market afterwards but we never did get there that day. Time was getting on and so we decided to go to Nosh for lunch instead of trying to find somewhere in Winchester.
This time I had the halloumi & roasted red pepper burger served in a brioche bun and homemade coleslaw. It was lovely.
Geoff had the sausage & fried egg burger served in a granary roll.
We shared the banana oat loaf, which again was superb. Although there are several cakes to chose from, as we’ve been disappointed with the ones we’ve had so far I think we’ll stick with the banana oat loaf in future.
The food at Nosh is well presented, fresh and of good quality and the menu is varied with some old favourites and more interesting ones too. We’ll be back, for sure.
Living life, living cake