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“Not very French - not very good”
Review of Maison Blanc

Maison Blanc
Ranked #149 of 207 Restaurants in Winchester
Cuisines: French, Cafe
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Description: Located in the town centre we are opposite the Guildhall and within a few minute's walk of the cathedral and bus station. Our bustling cafe serves a seasonal menu, with wine if you wish in addition to a wide range of speciality breads, pastries, handmade patisserie and of course afternoon tea. Baby change facility available. Licensed. Maison Blanc is an artisan bakery renowned for its speciality breads, freshly baked pastries, seasonal menu and of course world famous cakes and patisserie - all handmade to perfection and simply bursting with seasonal flavour.We're passionate about serving innovative, charming and authentically French food that leaves our customers craving for more. Our core value is Tradition et Qualite which remains at the heart of everything we do from sourcing the finest and freshest ingredients, to the creation of our recipes and presentation of our food.Originally created in Oxford in 1980, we were the first authentic patisserie in England. We now serve a little slice of France in 14 locations around London and the South. Our cafes are the perfect place for a rendez-vous with family and friendsWe adopt a joie-de vie attitude and believe that life should be enjoyed one delicate macaroon at a time.
United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Not very French - not very good”
Reviewed November 13, 2013

When a cafe goes to the trouble of placing a 'Please wait to be seated' notice at the entrance, there should be a reason other than keeping potential customers waiting while they eye up all the empty seats. We visited at 3.30 in the afternoon - a busy time for any restaurant serving tea and cake, one would have thought. Yet Maison Blanc had already closed one section and placed the chairs on the tables. Of the remaining tables, a good half were unoccupied.

Let's start with the good points. The crockery was white and sparkling clean. The tea was hot and the pots held enough for two cups. Although we did not order any cakes, I do know - from having bought them from the shop area - that they are delicious. The service was quick and courteous - but since the place was so quiet - that should be a given. And I'm really sorry to say this, but the waiting staff's uniforms reminded me of those worn by non-nursing staff in NHS hospitals. They did not look smart, just slightly scruffy.

Almost everything else was disappointing. Despite a selection of teas, there was no Lapsang. I had to make do with Darjeeling instead. My companion's sandwich - ham and compte cheese - looked liked something a teenager had thrown together. It tasted OK but there was no finesse in presentation. The square-shaped slices of bread bore little resemblance to any French-made bread that I have ever seen, either in England at the excellent Bertinet Bakery in Bath or indeed France itself. It could have been anything - even Warburtons.

Finally - and this is the part that astonished me the most - staff members, including kitchen staff - kept walking past the tables on their way to the staff cloakroom. Some were in there such a short time that they can only have been visiting a lavatory. Others emerged, wearing their coats. This was annoying. Any restaurant that cannot manage to keep its staff areas separate from customers trying to relax with their food and drink has clearly not thought things through.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank MargretUnitedKingdom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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380 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Lymington
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Filthy”
Reviewed November 1, 2013

Went for lunch and we're put at a corner table near the lavatories. The table was dirty and sticky. The menu and carton containing sugar were also disgustingly dirty. The chairs were covered in unsightly stains. The floor was covered in litter. Cutlery had not been washed properly. Decided not to stay.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank jamesfgerald
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maison B, Manager at Maison Blanc, responded to this review, November 11, 2013
Dear jamesfgerald,

Thank you for your feedback regarding your recent experience of Maison Blanc Winchester.

I have read your comments with concern and your feedback has been has been taken extremely seriously by the store. We are addressing the general cleaning practices to ensure that cleanliness is no longer an issue for our guests.

We are also looking to update the store's décor in the coming weeks and, although this may not be an immediate transformation, we would very much welcome your feedback on any future visits to us in order to enable us to monitor the progress of this journey.

Kate
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hastings, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
82 reviews
41 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Delightful cakes and pastries!”
Reviewed October 27, 2013 via mobile

This is really an upmarket cafe and is a little pricey but it serves the most delightful cakes and pastries - mini works of art!

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank MarciaBrown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Huddersfield, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
345 reviews
162 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
“Very fine dining”
Reviewed October 12, 2013

As might be expected from the name, the food was excellent and the service prompt but unobtrusive. The menu would merit several return visits.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank Tony R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winchester, United Kingdom
1 review
“what are all these negative reviews about?!”
Reviewed September 30, 2013

I'm not sure as to why there are so many negative reviews... I visited my local Maison Blanc with a few friends over the weekend and found our experience to be quite pleasant!
The pastries are always lovely and indeed do taste fresh, a friend ordered the prawn baguette which she thoroughly enjoyed.

I don't usually write reviews however, having seen all the negative reviews on here and I regularly visit the Winchester Maison Blanc, I'm yet to experience the traumatic experience everyone is writing about.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Belinda J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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