Once upon a time, before social distancing, quarantines and zoom took over, myself and Olly met in a kitchen in Brighton many years ago. We both fell in love with the hospitality industry as well as each other.
We started a little restaurant together, Forte Kitchen, which went on receive many awards. It was a busy hub of activity with people often queuing at weekends to get a table. A special place for any occasion, a relaxing coffee by yourself or with friends, a scrumptious family brunch, a celebratory Prosecco fuelled lunch, a casual business meeting point, or a place to escape with a good book. We couldn’t believe all the many different reasons that people came to visit, all drawn there by the exceptional standard of food and an incredible and welcoming team.
Our vision was to create a space just as special in neighbouring towns, staying independent and making sure each restaurant used local suppliers and became part of the community in the same way Forte Kitchen had.
So, in 2018 we opened the second restaurant and in 2019 we had plans for a third. It was extremely hard work and we felt we were spread too thin, therefore we could no longer ensure the highest quality that we were used to offering. Then, just as we were finding our feet, COVID-19 hit. Suddenly, both restaurants were closed and plans for the third restaurant were put on hold.
Luckily that is not where the story end! There is a lot to say against Coronavirus, it has been devastating for so many of us, for so many different reasons. However, one thing we can say is that being forced to close gave Olly and myself time to think, time to reassess and to work out what it was we had loved about hospitality before it all became so stressful. It has become even clearer in a world with social distancing that community is vital. We must do what we can to make sure we look after each other and strengthen our connections.The way we do this is through our brilliant customer service and exceptional food. We love our suppliers and want to make sure we do all their amazing ingredients justice with simply delicious offerings.
Our team, customers and community mean a lot to us, and we therefore want to make sure we have a positive impact on everyone around us by looking after our environment. We do this by offering employment to a diverse range of backgrounds and by supporting other wonderful independent businesses. This has always been our vision, and we have always concentrated on making sure we keep our core values at the forefront of everything that we do.
Forte Kitchen: a multiple award winning restaurant serving quality local ingredients cooked by our highly skilled chefs, fresh to order, and served by our passionate team in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
Just a stone’s throw from Winchester’s high street is an unassuming door way with a glimpse of stairs and some spoons, our hidden gem awaits your ascent. We are currently still carrying out building work upstairs at Forte Kitchen, the lockdown unfortunately meant a couple of delays. We are also still waiting on some specialist materials. Therefore, Forte Kitchen will not be able to open until the New Year. The good news is that we really think it’ll be worth the wait! We are incredibly excited about the plans and while you wait, why not follow our journey on instagram, facebook or twitter as we update you on our exciting new offerings… you don’t want to miss this!
The Hatch at Forte Kitchen: offering an exciting new simplified menu for those of you with limited time but still want some Forte Kitchen magic.
The Hatch focuses on bringing Winchester the best hand roasted coffee, sourdough toasties, nourishing soups, seasonal salads and lots of other simply delicious treats! You can swing past and order from the Hatch on your daily exercise route, click and collect for a tasty working from home treat or, take advantage of our inside dining area; a relaxed and casual space for you to connect with your friends, family, co-workers, yourself… or a lovely space to work from when you need to shake up your working from home atmosphere. Whatever the reason, we are here for you!
The new space was really born out of a mixture of thinking about feedback from Forte Kitchen regulars as well as imagining a space that could be versatile during these uncertain and unprecedented times. The Hatch is all about being simply delicious. Offering a simple menu that still packs a real punch in terms of quality and flavour.