One of the corking things about living in Winchester is that so many of the buildings feature engravings of pigs – a pig being the Hampshire county logo. Pigs are just great: mate and meat. Another champion thing is that, compared to London, business costs are far lower and the locals’ reluctance to spend money is vastly higher. Consequently, rather than a single meal leaving you destitute, going out for lunch is possible every other day of the week as well. Today’s solid lunch at Porterhouse Steakhouse just couldn’t be done in the Big Smoke at the price charged.
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Long-term readers will know my love for Hawksmoor (see [link2post id=”809″]Hawksmoor v1[/link2post], [link2post id=”4302″]Hawksmoor v2[/link2post] and [link2post id=”5806″]Hawksmoor v3[/link2post]) and, more recently, [link2post id=”4590″]A La Cruz[/link2post]; I value quality meat. Whilst Porterhouse’s £9.95 lunch offering may not trouble such destinations at the high-table of beef, I found it extremely good value with a pleasing focus on quality rather than quantity.
The lunch deal has a choice of three starters, three steaks or a piece of chicken with sauce and chips and either a glass of wine, bottle of beer or a soft drink. It is not a wide selection to choose from but it’ll leave a meat-lover who is not terribly thirsty quite satisfied.
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The two starters we tried were beef skewers and spare ribs. With such a restricted budget portion control is clearly important and this showed with the size of the spare ribs which were also too themed on bits of bone. That being said they were quite tasty, uncomplicated bites to get one in the mood for more meat. The beef skewers were made from rather tasty little bits of beef, definitely tender and flavoured with a sauce that did not hide their essential meatiness. Small again, but enjoyable.
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When it came to the main courses we had limited expectations. Argentine beef is rarely dry-aged and so is often wet and lacking flavour, even though it is from grass-fed cattle. Our sirloin and rib-eye steaks were not massive, but didn’t ooze water, had a good charred flavour and clearly came from animals carefully raised to give plenty of pleasure. They were cooked with enough skill to show at their best; those beasts gave their all to make us happy and the chef only assisted their efforts. The chips were manifestly good, better than A La Cruz’s, and the peppercorn sauce was just fine (if you can really be bothered with that sort of thing).
It wasn’t a lunch of epic portions of stunning food, but enough rather good food to make us feel we’d done quite well for ourselves at an absolute steal of a price. I’ll definitely be returning for lunch and I feel going for dinner and paying a bit more for larger steaks will be an investment in enjoyment that will be well-rewarded. Winchester is proving quite capable with comestibles, I hope tomorrow’s lunch continues this trend.
Porterhouse Steakhouse, 24 Jewry Street, Winchester SO23 8SB. +44 (0)1962 810532