New-look Hampshire Hospitality Awards are on the menu for local businesses

Some of the best places to eat across Hampshire are celebrating this week after news of their success in the Hampshire Hospitality Awards 2011-12, the quality marque for restaurants, pubs, tea rooms, cafés and other eateries in the county. The award celebrates the best of Hampshire’s eating experiences and promotes local food to both residents and visitors.

When funding issues arose threatening the future of the scheme Winchester City Council’s Visit Winchester and the Heart of Hampshire Destination Management Partnership consulted with businesses and worked with Tourism South East,  Hampshire County Council, Portsmouth City Council and Test Valley Borough Council to implement a rescue plan and reinvigorate the awards. 

A new local assessor has been appointed: Peter Birnie is an expert in the hospitality industry with over 30 years experience, including six years as Chief Inspector for the AA Restaurant and Hotel Guides. The new ‘lighter touch’ scheme has a heavier accent on food and the turn around time between assessment and report generation has been significantly reduced.

The scheme was rolled out in Winchester, the South Downs (Hampshire area) Test Valley and Portsmouth. This year’s awards saw previous winners including The Chesil Rectory, Bangkok Brasserie and The Bell Inn, Alresford succeed once again as well as some new names including Morn Hill Brasserie - Holiday Inn Winchester’s restaurant and eighteen71 - located in the recently refurbished Guildhall Winchester.

Councillor George Beckett, Leader of Winchester City Council and Portfolio Holder for Economic Prosperity said:

With rising numbers of businesses signing up to this scheme annually, we wanted to continue the scheme to avoid disappointment among local eateries.

Our tourism team consulted with businesses and other Local Authorities and discovered there was a solid case for not only an investment plan to retain the scheme, but the introduction of a series of improvements and added-value initiatives such as increased marketing activities  to make it more worthwhile for businesses to enlist."

Food and drink constitute an essential element of the tourism offer locally and we are committed to supporting local businesses, so I am delighted to hear that we have worked together to rescue and develop the Hampshire Hospitality Awards for 2012 and beyond.”

Peter Birnie, Hotel & Restaurant View added:

I was particularly impressed with the standard of the dishes, the quality of the local produce and the attention to detail that the applicants paid to the overall dining experience. All our winners demonstrated a commitment to the overall customer experience, from taste and presentation to friendliness and welcome. These awards are an excellent way to showcase and celebrate the best of what the county has to offer.”

So this Valentine’s Day why not take try out one of the award-winning eateries for something truly special? Take a look at for a full list of eateries across Winchester and the South Downs and to see what the assessor has to say about this year’s winners. Or look out for the new Hampshire Hospitality Award window stickers which will be displayed in the winning establishments together with their certificates.

To see a full list of winners across Winchester, the Hampshire area of the South Downs, Test Valley and Portsmouth Hampshire go to