75 Kingsgate Street, WINCHESTER, SO23 9PE
It's quite hard to convey just how much character The Wyk has. For it's more than a pub and a restaurant with accommodation; it's a Winchester institution. Beyond the cathedral from the High Street, with Winchester College as a neighbour, this 270-year-old building is entered from the pavement through curved, etched-glass doors straight into two bars, one dead ahead, the other to your left. Both have open fires and are furnished with old pine tables and redundant college desks. Everywhere, and that's no understatement - are portraits and prints, pewter tankards and miscellaneous ephemera. It all creates a warm feeling - gemütlichkeit as they say in Germany. Perhaps this is why it attracts such a varied clientele - business people, barristers, clergy, college dons, ladies who lunch, tourists and, yes, locals, for this is a desirable residential quarter. You may eat in the bars, but serious dining is done in tucked-away rooms, where modern British menus ring the seasonal changes to include crispy Kings Somborne egg, pickled mushrooms, shallots and cep purée; and pan-seared scallops, hazelnut crumb, sesame purée and compressed apple as typical starters. Equally representative are main dishes of roast halibut, parmentiers, black cabbage, capers and beef cromesquis; and braised blade of beef, snails, carrots and burnt aubergine purée. 'Home Comforts' include confit pork belly, chorizo hash and roast swede. Finish with warm treacle tart, bay leaf ice cream and citrus curd. It's one of the Fuller's flagship pubs, although there's guest real ales too, perhaps one from the nearby Flowerpots microbrewery. The wine list is impressive.