Southampton is full of fun restaurants and quirky bistros, but there's always one that comes along and blows everyone else out of the water and that is exactly what Benzo did when my best friend and I went to try out the newest place to be in Southampton. Benzo opened half way through July in Bedford Place, Southampton. A beautiful bar & kitchen with a bar area, restaurant and good sized back terrace done out in sophisticated grey and white with wooden tables and tall leather chairs. You'll be wanting to photograph the interior before anything else.
Once seated, we had a good browse of the menu deciding there wasn't a single thing we wouldn't not eat. I like a small menu with good choice and Benzo have achieved this perfectly. We went all out with a three course meal accompanied with Prosecco and Pinot and spent the whole evening exclaiming how good the food was and planning what we were going to have for lunch next time we went to visit.
Ro started with the Parmesan Battered Baby Calamari with homemade sweet chilli jam while I had the Smoked Salmon and Beetroot with Vodka Crème Fraîche. The starters were beautifully presented and tasted delicious. They were just the right size to warm up for our main meal and I've been dreaming of Calamari since I tried a piece of Ro's starter.
For our main meals, Ro ordered Brie & Spinach stuffed Chicken Breast wrapped in Parma Ham on a bed of curly Kale in a tomato & thyme cream sauce, I went for one of their fish dishes, the Pan Seared Sea Bass fillets on crushed new potatoes with olive, tomato caper butter. Again, the presentation was incredible, anyone that says presentation isn't important when it comes to food doesn't know food.
The entire way through our meal you could just hear appreciative mmms and ahhs from both of us as the food was spectacular. Benzo orders in all their food from local suppliers, only using the freshest ingredients. The only thing you'll find frozen is their gorgeously creamy vanilla ice cream.
After a we cleared our plates of our main meals we browsed the dessert menu. Ro settled on the Homemade Triple Chocolate Brownie with vanilla ice cream & strawberries while I ordered my favourite dessert, Summer Berry & Mint cheesecake. If there is cheesecake on the menu, you can bet I'll order it and this one didn't disappoint with us both again clearing our plates for a third time. There is also a cheeseboard option available which sounded delicious and something I'll be ordering on my next visit to Benzo.
With Benzo being a new restaurant, it meant we both went in blind. Ro and I have a tendency to read as many reviews as possible and search Instagram before we visit somewhere which we couldn't do but it definitely helped us appreciate it even more as we could visit and eat without pre-judging.
The service throughout the night was attentive and you could see the diners around us enjoying it as much as we were. Considering the menu is made up of the freshest ingredients the prices are amazing and there has been no comprising on quality to keep costs down whatsoever which is rare to find nowadays. Our three course meal came to just shy of £51.00 which as you can see from the images in this post is incredibly good.
I've raved about the place since we ate there a couple of weeks ago and I'm already planning to go in with a few of the girls for lunch, mainly because I've already chosen what I want to eat! If you're Hampshire based and want to step away from the usual chain restaurants, make sure you pay Benzo a visit. The food is 100% worth it and more!
*Complimentary meal for the purpose of review.