UPDATE: Black White Red has now closed but Josie’s, who also have a shop in Bishop’s Waltham which we reviewed a while back, are in it’s place.
We found Black White Red on Jewry Street, Winchester quite by chance, as we were passing by having just visited Art Cafe just along the road for coffee and cake. We took a look at BWR’s menu and there were a couple of dishes which we liked the sound of. We took a peek through the window and it looked ok, so we decided we would return later for lunch.
After a little shopping (plus checking out where Chococo was and buying a few of their chocolates which we shall review soon), we had a mooch around the cathedral and the Christmas market stalls and eventually made our way back to Black White Red.
BWR was founded by Chris Robshaw, England’s rugby captain and Kevin Latouf an English cricketer. They think that coffee and wine are linked, the way they are sourced, produced, climate etc., and similar flavour characteristics. I found all this out after looking at their website, but whilst in the cafe we saw no mention of any of this.
Black….. is just for Coffee
White… is the link between the two (white coffee, white wine)
Red……. is just for Wine
It was bright, sunny and warm on entering, but the only table available was right at the back in a dark and dingy corner next to a chap on his laptop and mobile phone. Then we became even more claustrophobic by a large pushchair blocking our only exit and the mother on her phone too.
We ordered our drinks. Geoff had a pale ale and I an extremely expensive glass of wine, Maison Blanche, Saint Emilion. It sounded nice though, full bodied with strong tannins, which is what I like. £8 a glass is steep I know, but it was near Christmas. I must say that it was rather superb. They have a selection of wines to buy in the cafe to either take-a-way or you can pay £5 corkage to drink it inside with your meal, but we didn’t get a chance to look at them.
We asked the waitress to let us know when a table appeared in the main part of the restaurant as I really didn’t like where we were sitting.
When we were eventually asked what we wanted to eat, we said we would come back in an hour or so in the hope that we could get a better placed table (we couldn’t reserve one).
As we were about to walk out Geoff noticed a couple of tables free (I’ve no idea why we weren’t told about them), so we pointed them out to the waitress and asked if we could sit there. We sat down again, this time in the sunny window.
When we ordered our meal we were told it would take a while as ‘Annie’ or whatever her name was, was on her own in the kitchen ‘smashing it out’. No problem, we were in no hurry.
I had the Sticky Chicken Chilli Burger, with cucumber, coriander, crispy shallots, sesame mayo’ and sweet potato wedges priced at £9.50. It was nice, the bun appeared fresh but the chicken wasn’t made into a whole burger, it was pieces of chicken and not all chicken breast, which is what you would expect. There was a large piece of dark meat along with a little gristle. It wasn’t too spicy though, perhaps not enough. The sweet potato wedges were rather soggy but tasted ok. Then I found a very ‘suspect’ hair stuck to one of the chips at the bottom of the dish. I had almost finished my meal by then so made no mention of it, I just hoped that possibly they might see it when clearing the dishes.
I couldn’t really justify another glass of wine at that price, no matter how nice it was.
Once the sun starting going down the cafe started to get a little cold. By 1.30 there were several tables available.
Geoff’s Chorizo Spaghetti with caramelised onions, chives and creamy mascarpone sauce looked really good and he said it really was delicious.
We decided to go elsewhere for our dessert, one reason being because it was getting colder and colder in there. I asked Geoff what score he would give the place for ambience etc., which we shall try and do on each review from now on. He gave the value 6. A little while after leaving he told me that his score had gone up considerably as he realised that they had omitted the drinks from the bill! I didn’t feel guilty whatsoever after remembering the black curly hair on my chip….
Value – 6 (not taking into account the free drinks)
Quality – 7
Ambience – 6 (got better after moving tables, but then grew very cold).