Bento Factory – Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese food in Winchester

Bento Factory is serving up incredible Japanese and Vietnamese food just off Winchester High Street.

It’s also the only place in the city to serve traditional Vietnamese coffee.

What a great discovery! Say hello to fresh sushi, bao buns and bento…

I’m really loving Winchester at the moment and I’ve made a couple of incredible discoveries there lately.

Bento factory is a recommendation from my hairdresser, and oh wow am I glad that I tried it out.

Location

It’s nearer the top of the High Street and there’s several roads leading to the restaurant.

I think the easiest way is to head down the High Street and turn down St Thomas Street, it’s only a minutes walk until you’ll see a small but beautifully decorated leafy window and you’ve arrived.

Inside Bento Factory

It’s very cosy inside with seating for about 10 people and they’ve really made the most of the space – there’s even a small counter with stools at the back making sure that the seating is maximised.

I can see why, as although it’s a newcomer to Winchester’s food scene, it’s already incredibly popular. It was packed when we went but a table very quickly became available. Other people didn’t wait long either, it’s not the sort of place you’d spend hours at but it’s perfect for a quick bite.

Coffee station!

Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese Menu

Bento Factory’s menu is a mix of Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese food – sushi and kimbap, onigiri, soups and dumplings.

If you read my blog regularly you might have some inkling how much I love sushi. When I made this discovery I was thrilled to find another great local place to try out and indulge my ever growing obsession.

Also on the menu is another favourite of mine – Boa. I’m more familiar with this when it’s called bao buns – sorry if I’ve horribly westernised that!

These are the soft steamed bread buns stuffed full of crispy meats and contrasting flavours.

There’s so much I wanted to try on the menu that I thought I’d go with my favourites to see what they were like. And, if good, head back to try the rest.

I went for the Salmon Futomaki and a Classic Braised Pork Boa, and so did Henry (the other half!).

The sushi was incredibly fresh and really delicious – you get 10 rolls and for the money, £5.88, it’s such good value. I will definitely be returning!

The food at Bento Factory feels authentic and how I imagine it might be in the country it originates from. Ingredients like the wasabi was a lot stronger than the supermarket rubbish I can get my hands on and I really do like my wasabi to pack a punch.

The pork belly bao bun was also tasty but it was a little fatty for my personal preference and I forgot to mention my raw onion allergy (which is 100% my fault). It has spring onion in it and so I spent a bit of time picking the onion out – at least I’ll know for next time. Stupid allergy!

Vietnamese Coffee

While we were ordering we were recommended a traditional Vietnamese coffee to try. I’ve never had this and always wanted to try it.

Henry has had it before and said he didn’t enjoy it when he’s tried it before. He couldn’t really give me a description of the flavour so I had literally absolutely no idea what to expect.

The man serving us was very kind and said it was a special coffee bean and that it’s mixed and sweetened with condensed milk.

This description threw me even further – coffee with condensed milk? I’d never heard of anything like that.

He even showed me one of the beans and encouraged me to smell it! Of course I took the bean to see what it smelt like.

What did it smell like? It had a rich coffee smell with lots of depth but it also had really fruity and sweet elements to it too.

Well that was it, wasn’t it, I had to try it now!

And, it’s lucky I did, it wasn’t thick how I imagined a coffee sweetened with condense milk to be. It was thin in consistency, and tasted just as it smelt – a weird combination of fruity and the more familiar coffee smells I’m familiar with.

I really liked though, I can imagine that its a bit of a divider of opinions like Marmite. Henry wasn’t a fan at all but, I liked it a lot! I’ll definitely have another when I go next.

Top tip – the condensed milk settles so before you drink it, make sure you give it a stir.

There’s also a much wider coffee menu available too, take a look…

Next time

There’s so much on the menu I still want to try and I can’t wait to go back. I think I’ll go to try the breakfast menu next it sounds incredible. But, I want to try the dumplings too. I saw some delivered to the table next to us and they looked great, very crispy.

Have you tried this awesome spot in Winchester yet? Let me know if you do!

FYI – I can’t find Bento Factory online – no website or social media but I’ll update this post if that changes.

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