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Vatika restaurant logo

Vatika Restaurant at Wickham Vineyard
Serving British cuisine with an Indian twist



A Winchester Restaurants Dining Guide – REVIEW


Move cursor over gallery thumbnail for larger version of photograph

Vatika Restaurant is now CLOSED due to re-location

Sea bass dish Vatika Restaurant is nestled within the beautiful Wickham Vineyard, Shedfield - 30 mins drive from Winchester. It is the creation of Atul Kochhar of the Michelin star restaurant Benares in Berkeley Square, London. Vatika offers menus with attitude and a Chef with a prestigious reputation; Executive Chef Jitin Joshi is the Craft Guild of Chefs 'Best Ethnic Chef' winner 2010. We arrived 7.30 on a Friday evening excited at the prospect of sampling British food with an Indian twist purported to "fulfil every whim".

Decor – We were greeted by Danny, the Manager, who showed us into an impressive dining area with beautifully laid tables to each side and stretching far ahead. The room proudly shows off an immense, ornamental lighting centrepiece that is simply stunning to behold.

Wine – The range is superb. Alternatively you can trust in wine choices made by the Sommelier that aim to complement each course. We chose the latter in order to indulge in the full Vatika dining experience of "utter decadence and gastronomy".

Decisions – Being new to Vatika dining we thought it best to ask Danny who suggested a range of 'Tasting Menu' courses.

Crab dish To Start – A selection of fresh rolls accompanied by unsalted butter and four mini glass test tubes of flavoured salts to be added as desired. Each salt tube was infused with varying spices and coloured differently to reflect this: blue grey, flecked white, pepperish, chestnut. This was a super start with both of us enjoying the mixing and tasting of salts with the butter.

Champagne and Canapés soon followed; chilli garlic shrimp, potato/spinach dumpling and tomato/coriander slice. This course was served with elegance and precision by two waiting staff (as was the case throughout the evening) and each bite sized treat tasted delicious.

Crab Parsnip – Soft shell crab, puffed rice salad, and pickled parsnip served with a glass of German Franconia Rivaner, Bacchus and Silvaner, 2007. This was my first true soft shell crab and I absolutely loved how it looked, crunched and the flavour combination. Although 'The Suit' agreed the presentation of this dish and the crab were spot on he found the puffed rice combination not to his taste. The wine complemented this dish well – a winner with us both.

Pigeon Pomegranate – Tandoori pigeon breast slices, pomegranate jelly and pink mayo paired with a glass of Spanish Alma D Tobia Rose, Tempranillo, 2008, Rioja. A stunning dish with each generous pigeon slice having a rich brown outer and slightly pink inner. We both agreed the pigeon, pink mayo and sweetness of the pomegranate jelly, to be a delight to our tastebuds and that the wine was an excellent choice.

Pigeon dish Pork Apple – Warm pork terrine, sour apple jelly and chilli scramble. The wine chosen was Sula Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Nashik from India. This dish was a nice twist using Pork and we liked it. The apple jelly was enjoyably sharp and the creamy scrambled egg infused with chilli flavourful. The Indian wine was also very good.

Sea Bass Beetroot – Succulent pan seared Bass, balsamic glazed beets and mussel pistou accompanied by a glass of Wild Earth Riesling 2007 from Central Otago in New Zealand. This dish was splendid and the two different beetroot flavours added a pleasant contrast. The wine was also a good choice complementing these flavours well.

Lamb Spinach – 24 hour lamb shoulder, spinach dumplings and mint yoghurt. The wine was Muddy Water Pinot Noir 2008 from Waipara in New Zealand. The Lamb had been marinated for 24 hours and tantalisingly drifted apart without the need of a knife. We both adore Lamb and this, together with the dumplings, surpassed expectations for tastes and textures – utterly delicious. I enjoyed the wine, however, 'The Suit' found it too dry to fully complement the juiciness of the lamb.

Dessert Palate Cleanser – Melon Ginger; ginger beer granita, lime syrup and melon foam. This tasted deliciously sweet/sharp and refreshed our taste buds perfectly for the dishes that followed.

Dessert – Hibiscus Raspberry comprising three parts; hibiscus jelly, raspberry sorbet, biscuit and brule. A pleasant mixture of flavours and textures that looked and tasted delightful. The wine – a refreshing Italian Moscato D'Asti 2008.

Petit Fours – Almond encrusted cubes of Petit Fours accompanied by elegant biscuits were served soon after – the perfect treat to send us home.

Verdict – Diners seeking elegance, sublime service and superb combinations of tastes and textures should indulge in the Vatika experience. The 'Tasting Menu' offers a wonderful way to sample an extraordinary variety of delectable dishes and wines – a great way to find your favourites. All of our courses were served with panache and each dish possessed a beauty rendering many almost too good to eat! The wine list rivals most with its impressive choice and the chance to sample a variety by the glass is an indulgence to be relished.

Click here for the Vatika Feature – Offers further information, contact details and link to website.

Our thanks for a supreme dining experience are warmly sent to everyone at Vatika – together with our compliments to the Chef!


Review by
Paula & Richard 'The Suit'
November 2010