We had a couple of lunch dates in Southsea this weekend but, what with Storm Hannah brewing up, we realised that we might either not get across the Solent or, if we did, we might get marooned over there. What to do? Make a weekend of it and stay in a nice hotel, while eating our way around this suburb of Portsmouth, obvs.
We jumped on a Wightlink catamaran straight after work on Friday, just before it got too gusty to travel. Having checked into the delightful Edwardian Queens Hotel, we then took a seat at the hottest restaurant in town, Sakura in Kings Road. We’d had the foresight to book – and it’s essential that you do; the place was rammed, with prospective diners being turned away. Sakura has a helpful picture menu with all the classics – sushi, sahimi, gyoza, miso soup, udon and octopus balls. We ordered a bunch of stuff from the menu and tucked in. The octopus balls were an unexpected hit, along with the duck pancakes. With under £7 a dish on average, this small plates banquet was a great way to explore Japanese cuisine.
Cat’s dad lives in Southsea and we’ve had many Sunday roasts with the old fella at Churchill’s in Marmion Road. Churchill’s is now Grace and Ivy, a trendy bistro. We popped in for breakfast on Saturday morning, where Matt enjoyed a lovely red shaksuka. This Mediterranean standard has warm, earthy, spicy flavours, and G&I embellished their version with avocado. Cat had eggs Benedict with truffled mushrooms, obviously.
Pausing only for a quick cuppa at the Belle Isle, we then returned to the Queens Hotel for afternoon tea with family, celebrating Cat’s dad’s birthday. As expected, there was a goodly array of crustless butties, plus lots of sweet treats; the fruit jelly was a particular favourite. Much discussion was had about whether or not it’s #JamFirst on a scone. The father of the house smeared one side of his scone with jam and the other with cream, declaring the debate resolved.
Even experienced noshers like us can have too much of a good thing. Only a couple of hours after the last cake crumbs had passed our lips, we had a dinner date. Despite the tempest whirling down Osborne Road, practically all of the restaurants were fully booked. We finally found ourselves a perch in the ever-reliable Circolo pizzaria where, for once, Cat had more drink than food, washing down this simple tricolour salad with a couple of glasses of prosecco. Bottoms up!
On Sunday morning we were lucky enough to get a table at the understandably popular Southsea Coffee. This busy venue serves up some fab breakfasts, including this delicious granola with toasted almonds, baked spiced apple and fruit compote on a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt. Delish!
While Cat emptied the charity shops, Matt nabbed a table at Two Doors Down. Returning with a bulging bag of preloved gubbins, Cat and our fellow diners arrived for another small plate meal. Two Doors Down’s menu is a kinda of Latin/Asian fusion street food, with plenty of choice for meat-dodgers and carnivores alike. Cat’s absolute favourite is cauliflower wings, served with a sweet sauce.
We had a fab weekend in Southsea. Most of the restaurants we visited were in Osborne Road, a stone’s throw from our hotel. We enjoyed Japanese, Italian, Mediterranean, classic English and hipster fusion dishes. And how wonderful to wake up to this spectacular panorama of the Solent and Ryde beyond!