Jimmy Bean is no more.
I was in Winchester for the afternoon, looking forward to a coffee and something to eat off Jimmy Bean, but where was he? He was not in his usual pitch, down a side street opposite the cheese stall, his pitch was taken by another coffee van.
Where was he? I asked the ever helpful cheeses stall, and headed off back down the street whence I had come.
Jimmy Bean is no more, now have Savage & Bean. Jimmy Bean still does his excellent coffee, but no longer food, Savage does food with a wood fired oven.
I tried halloumi cheese in a burger-style bun, albeit a superior bun, but still a burger-style bun. It came with coleslaw, relish and mayonnaise. I rejected the mayonnaise.
It was not good.
I had returned the previous week from over four weeks in Cyprus, then Athens. No self-respecting Greek, Greek-Cypriot or Turkish Cypriot would serve halloumi cheese in this way.
I can walk into a traditional Greek-Cypriot taverna with a wood fired clay oven. They do not serve lunch. They will though quite happily knock out for me halloumi cheese, with a few slices of tomato, in pitta bread, hotted up on the charcoal grill. It is delicious, which is more than can be said for what Savage serves up.
The previous week I was at the South Bank Street Food Market on the bank of The Thames. It puts to shame what masquerades as a street food market in Winchester. And they enforce high environmental standards. I was spoilt for choice. I had an excellent Indian a meal for what the Savage offering cost (or maybe one pound more). The coffee stalls were not good, and in that Jimmy Bean wins hands down. Or at least what I had on that trip was not good.
This is a retrograde step for Jimmy Bean. Originally I only had coffee, then I tried his food, which was also excellent. A rare example of somewhere worth eating in Winchester. I was looking forward to his mozzarella cheese with slices of tomato, in excellent bread, which he hotted up in an oven.
Now I am back to square one, nowhere decent to eat in Winchester.
Not to say no quality stalls on the food market. The cheese stall is well worth a visit.
By evening, I was feeling ill from food poisoning. I hasten to add, the cause unknown. I had had chicken and sweetcorn soup off a nearby Thai stall which was disgusting. And a coffee and cake off the coffee stall in Jimmy Bean’s old pitch which was excellent.
Jimmy Bean used to have seats and tables. Removed by edict from the local council.
The local council needs to get its act together.
The food stalls at the lower end of the street are packed too close together.
They need higher environmental standards. Why are stalls still serving coffee and food in polystyrene, using plastic spoons and forks? To be fair to Jimmy Bean, he does not use. But he is the exception. If he can, why not the others? At London South Bank, if you do not comply with high environmental standards, you do not get a pitch.
Where have the seats gone?