The Old Vine, Winchester – veggie burger review

I didn’t think I’d be ordering a veggie burger near the beginning of my search for Hampshire’s best burger.

But, with a delicious-sounding falafel burger and no beef or chicken burgers on the menu, I went for the vegetarian option on last Saturday’s visit to The Old Vine in Winchester.

We hadn’t originally planned on eating when we popped in to get some respite from the growing crowds of shoppers who had descended on the city for the cathedral’s popular Christmas market.

However, after an early breakfast and a scenic walk into town in via the water meadows, we decided to grab a bite when the kitchen opened at midday.

The Old Vine is one of many cosy restaurants in Winchester. It overlooks the north-west entrance to the cathedral’s Outer Close on Great Minster Street.

The building includes a hotel, a restaurant, a less-formal bar and a conservatory area. There’s also a patio garden at the back.

Happily, dogs are allowed in the bar. And Tilly, refreshed after a brief dip in the Itchen on the way in, was in tow with us today.

About this burger

  • Date visited: 28 November 2015
  • Name on menu: “Veggie burger: falafel”
  • Price: £10.50

How this burger scored

File 29-11-2015, 17 59 00 Patty – 7/10

Looked a bit overdone on the outside. But was lovely and fluffy inside. Stuffed with lots of mild herbs.

Chips – 7/10

No-fuss chips. Nicely cooked.

Bun – 5/10

Pretzel-style bun. A nice idea but it was quite harsh on the inside of my mouth because it was crispy on the outside. Tasted good though, with a nice soft centre.

Toppings and accompaniments – 7/10

Onion rings and a salad on the side. The burger was topped with hummus, roasted red peppers and fresh coriander.

All very nice. But the onion rings didn’t work with the falafel for me.

I also think it could have done with something to drizzle on the falafel to make it less stodgy – maybe a herb yoghurt sauce.

File 29-11-2015, 17 59 33 Ambience – 7/10

The Bar at the Vine is a lovely, relaxing room with exposed wooden floors, wooden beams and comfortable furniture. It feels more like someone’s living room than a restaurant.

We took a seat in the bay window at the front of the bar. There’s a nice view of the street outside from here. But it was a bit draughty on account of some loose panelling under the window. Sitting away from the window would have been a better choice today.

File 29-11-2015, 17 55 39 Drinks selection and quality – 7/10

Four ales available and an impressive wine list (not that I know anything about wine). A sign at the bar encourages you to sample your ale before you order.

I drank three ales today.

First was “Saxon Bronze” (3.8%) from Winchester’s own Alfred’s Brewery. As you’d expect from the name, this is a golden ale. It’s quite citrusy and very refreshing.

File 29-11-2015, 17 57 54 I then had a half of Timothy Taylor’s “Landlord” (4.2%). I used to love this ale. But I find it a bit bland these days.

I finished up with a Plain Ales “Inntrigue” (4.8%). The only thing plain about this was the name of the brewery. That said, it was a little too caramelly for my tastes.

Condiments – 2/5

Ketchup, mayo, vinegar and the like are in small pouches on each table.

I’d expected condiments in bottles or jars to be a bit more in keeping with the general ambience of the place.

File 29-11-2015, 18 00 30 Presentation – 5/5

No nonsense. Looked good. Arrived on china.

Service – 4/5

In the bar area in The Old Vine you go to the counter to order food and you collect your cutlery.

We forgot to pick our cutlery up. But a member of staff got it for us when realised we didn’t have any.

Value for money – 5/5

Substantial meal for the money and atmosphere.

Penalties – 0

No gimmicks or burger pretentiousness here, so no penalty points.

Total: 56/80

A great burger, in a nice place with good drinks. It’s total of 56 sends it into the number one spot in my search for the best burger in Hants.

Info: The Old Vine is at 8 Great Minster Street, Winchester, SO23 9HA. Phone 01962 854616.

Tom's rating:
  • I go to Winchester Uni so may have to pop in here and try a burger myself. It looks like a nice enough spot!
    Must try the pizza at The Stable too… Any other recommendations, Thomas?


  • Not sure about the food but it’s nice to spend a rainy afternoon in one of the dark corners of the Black Boy.