Celebrities flock to foodie Winchester in a host of new openings

More well-known faces are locating their new restaurants, bars and cafés in Winchester, adding to the exciting mix that has created a growth in tourism.

Shaun Clarkson’s pop-up café and store
An exciting new pop-up store and café is opening on 14 October in The Brooks, as part of a collaborative project with the award-winning restaurant The Chesil Rectory and Pitfield London. The Pitfield Café is an extension of the popular Pitfield London lifestyle store, offering freshly made soups, salads and snacks alongside the interiors and lifestyle shop. There will also be a local produce-focused in–store Hampshire Larder brimming with artisan Hampshire products and gifts plus a gallery space for local artists and designers to exhibit their work with striking installations.

Pitfield London is owned by Shaun Clarkson, the celebrated interior designer and star of Channel 4’s Four Rooms. The collaboration follows a long friendship between Clarkson and the pioneering owners of the 500-year-old Chesil Rectory, Mark and Eleanor Dodd.

Mark Dodd said: “We’re delighted that our long-held ambition to create an exciting showcase for the best that the lifestyle store Pitfield has to offer has borne fruit. It’s going to offer local shoppers a great opportunity to get some Christmas shopping done early and then relax with a treat from their range of speciality teas, delicious soups, salads and cakes.”

Chris Robshaw’s coffee and wine bar
Moving from the rough and tumble of the rugby pitch to the civilised world of wine and coffee, England rugby captain, Chris Robshaw, has recently opened his new Black, White, Red coffee and wine bar in a joint venture with former Hampshire cricketer Kevin Latouf. Designed with floor-to-ceiling windows and a concrete and chic interior, the bar entices customers to savour high-end coffee and wine in the attractive surroundings.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage
Continuing the celebrity foodie trend, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s prestigious River Cottage has received the green light to be developed in Winchester. The historic council-owned Abbey Mill will be the new location for the River Cottage Canteen & Deli that will serve as a restaurant as well as offering food-oriented courses, opening in mid-2014.

Lainston House Hotel’s Michelin-starred chef
Finally, at the Lainston House Hotel, Olly Rouse has been announced as head chef. With a wealth of experience, Olly was previously head chef at Coworth Park where he helped achieve a Michelin star within its first year of opening after serving as sous chef and pétrus under Gordon Ramsay Holdings.

Cllr Rob Humby, Deputy Leader of Winchester City Council and Porfolio Holder for Economic Development, said: “With Jamie Oliver’s Union Jacks, and Raymond Blanc’s Brasserie and Maison Blanc already established foodie hotspots, we’re noticing an increase in expressions of interest locally from other well-known names in the world of high-end eating. This, plus the exciting trend to establish ‘pop-up’ cafés and shops is good news for a destination like Winchester – both in terms of the diversity it creates in our food offering and also because it provides an additional element to the city centre shopping experience for residents and would-be visitors. What’s great to see is that these new national outlets are maintaining the focus on local produce and flying the flag for the great quality fare we have to offer in this county. ”