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“Original, delicious, friendly - and unpretentious!” exclaimed a fan of The Black Rat – a sympathetically remodelled town boozer in the centre of historic Winchester. Old beams and timbers, dark floorboards, exposed brickwork and a big inglenook reinforce its antiquated charms, while a Michelin star gives the seal of approval to the food. Menus aren’t short on appeal or imagination, and the forward-looking repertoire is built around locally sourced, seasonal produce (including foraged pickings): expect generosity and punchy flavours in dishes such as cured trout and Portland crab with avocado, girolles, sweetcorn dressing, cornbread and arrowgrass or chicken breast with radish-top purée, salt-baked radishes, sautéed chicken offal, sourdough toast and jus gras. Desserts are also a good call, if beech-leaf parfait with pine granita, blossom crème fraîche and pine nuts is anything to go by. “Really knowledgeable staff” also get the nod.
Having been a pub in a former life, the dining room is still very much in that fashion. It’s a quirky place too – like an eccentric antique shop which makes it a rather pleasant place to sit as there’s plenty to look at...
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