One Year On

For those of you who have followed Cabinet Rooms for a while, you will know that the last 12 months have been eventful for us to say the least. Time has simply flown by! Even so, it came as a surprise then to realise the other day that we have not written a blog post for over a year, since we took the keys of the Art Café on Jewry Street. This feels totally remiss because, as you may or may not know, the whole Cabinet Rooms adventure really started with an enthusiastic blog about food and drink.

I have therefore sat myself down with a coffee, already three months into the year, to “pen” our first post of 2018. It’s a good opportunity to take stock and think about what we have learned since we last posted…


From the beginning, we have always waxed lyrical about how excited and blessed we have felt to find ourselves part of a vibrant food and drink scene, surrounded by inspirational producers and passionate hospitality professionals. That desire to learn more about local produce and share it with you has continued to be one of our biggest motivations. After opening the doors of Cabinet Rooms in June 2017, we were accepted into Hampshire Fare and, five months later, were hugely honoured to be named Hampshire Life magazine’s 2017 Food Heroes. The award is sat proudly on display in the café.

We use local ingredients and suppliers as far as possible and we are delighted to be able to serve you the food we have raved about online all these years. We may not have the kitchen required to provide a full-blown restaurant service but we do change our short food menu every so often to try and keep it fresh and interesting. Firm customer favourites such as our bacon sandwiches, tuna melts and local cheese boards will of course remain regulars.

We love cheese.


You will often see the word “local” go hand in hand with “independent” when businesses talk about themselves. There is a vibrant independent business community in Winchester, which contributes hugely to the city’s individual character. Many of these shops and cafes and restaurants have been started by local people with a genuine love for their city and a passion for what they do. There are many challenges facing them, not all of which hit the headlines like business rates or big, snazzy chains coming to the city. While we welcome diversity we know that small, independents need our support more than ever. Winchester BID is an organisation dedicated to promoting the city and supporting all its businesses. Their annual Winchester Independents campaign gives you an opportunity to vote for your favourites. In the meantime, we recommend following @windependents, from local businesswoman Suzy Shires, which celebrates the best the city has to offer.

You’re all lovely

When we opened the café-bar we wanted to create a space where a mature, discerning crowd could come and relax in a calm and grown-up environment. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed welcoming you all to our little corner of Jewry Street thus far and have been delighted to hear your feedback not just about the food and cocktails but much more – from comments that we have the best loo in Winchester, to praise for our lovely, welcoming team. Our location opposite the Theatre Royal as well as our in-house socials have all opened up discussions with you about books and theatre, art and film. It’s very important to us that you enjoy your time at the café – it’s its raison d’être – so if you do have any suggestions on what we might do differently then please email me at And if you like what we’re doing please tell all your friends!

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