The Winchester Orangery recently popped up in The Square. One minute there was a boarded up shop, the next moment a garden themed, tree centred, plant filled cafe slash bar.
From some local people in the industry, I’d heard good things about the quality of staff they’d employed so have been keen to try it out. Winchester has a tension between local establishments and chain like places, so it was really great that it was another local business.
The first thing we really need to mention is the branded Jeep parked outside. Um I’m not sure there is anything to say other than…don’t park it there. Even though I love the big wheels, it really doesn’t fit with the branding of the bar or the ambience of the Square.
As you go in, there are two main areas to sit. People watching on at the front, some tables to watch the two bars at work (one coffee, one drinks) and then up at the back a quieter space with a bit more room, plus a separate room which looks like a bubble.
The place is covered and I mean covered in greenry. I mean there is a giant tree in the middle. Tables filled with flowers and a wall and ceiling saturated with them. Luckily for the hayfever sufferers like me, they were all fake. I’m not quite sure whether I like it, but it certainly makes it distinctive. On the tables are pots of fresh herbs which they encourage you to pick and add to your meal. Some students were talking about how the other day they had come in hungover and eaten an entire plant pot of parsley while waiting for food- students really have lots of money these days if they are eating in these places. Nevertheless I kinda like the place – even if the Slug next door appear to have panic copied the hanging plants and copied them in their window. One thing definitely needs to change: don’t put scented candles on tables. Just not right.
Onto the food and drink…
Well I started off last night by having a cocktail. I like and know my cocktails. This is a fact. Orangery had small menu, but quite interesting. I quite like small menus – hopefully it means they specialise in getting things right. I went for the blueberry sour. I was a little concened it would be over sweet, but actually it was super delicious great balance of flavours. Didn’t really taste like gin – I actually like my cocktails to taste of booze otherwise they go down too quickly, but not for everyone. My friend had a cherry blossom, again good stuff. Would definitley revisit for these. But would also like to see if they can make a classic too if it isn’t on the menu.
Decided to visit for breakfast the next morning as we’d heard they do breakfast till 4pm. Coffee was excellent and they gave a good helping of hot milk on the side. I went for a beetroot hummus, mushrooms and poached eggs on Hoxton Bakehouse sourdough. Eggs had rich yolk and were poached perfectly – yay!! Other half had a flatbread with Turkish beef sausage, with a yoghurty base. Though I’m off beef for a year, he kindly picked it off and the rest was great. Service was good. We had the back part to ourselves, till the students arrived.
Good beginning Orangery – can’t seem to find you online on Twitter, but I think this place has got potential. Just make sure you find a way of keeping all those hanging plants clean!