Monday, 24 May 2010

Manna - High Street, Old Portsmouth

I drove past this Tea Room and noticed it had changed.  I'm not sure when this happened, but I liked what I saw and decided to pay a visit for breakfast. The decor has been well thought out, bright, inviting, and sophisticated.  A great addition to Portsmouth.

The breakfast menu I thought was somewhat lacking in options.  Personally I would have liked to have seen things such as poached eggs on toast, bagels or maybe even a smoked salmon option.  This cafe could carry off these kind of chic choices, but the menu was limited to 3 or 4 options.  We ordered 2 full English breakfast's which were ok, but nothing on the plate stood out in terms of quality considering the produce is all locally sourced -(Buckwells, Mislingford Farm). 

Would I go again?  Yes, but not for breakfast, maybe for afternoon tea and cake, as this seems to be their speciality.  A few small hiccups with the service, and no sign of salt or pepper on any tables (even when we asked for it, it never came), which was a shame.

Would I recommend?  Yes, give it a go.  Hopefully the breakfast menu changes from time to time, and it is a great contemporary environment which will hopefully thrive.  More good looking tea rooms/cafes in our area would be fantastic!!

30 comments:

  1. Called in for a cup of tea on a cold afternoon. Top quality Earl Grey; intense lemon-drizzle cake; awesome cappucino cake. Blissful.

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  2. Awful service, limited options and sterile surroundings.

    Twiggs (place it replaced) was worse but it hasnt improved enough to have a repeat visit.

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  3. There really aren't too many good things to be said.

    Pretentious, overpriced, sterile and out of place. The cakes are average, the food uninspired and the manager was rather unpleasant.

    Give it a miss

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  4. My opinion varies depending who is on. 1st visit - a nice girl who recommended the (good and fresh) cupcakes. 2nd visit - surly older lady with almost studied rudeness.

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  5. I Thought it was ok but considering the prices I would have expected something better and less predictable.

    I can purches 100 tea bags for the cost of a cup here and there is no difference in quality, Twinings Earl Grey is Twinings Earl Grey, get real.

    Your Blog indicates that all of their produce is locally sourced? Having seen bags of shopping being carried in from Tesco and Sainsbury's I rather doubt this to be true.

    This brings me back to the point of price. If produce is bought from local suppliers I would expect to pay a premium but to cheat your customers by purchasing form supermarkets is quite disgusting and the owner should be ashamed. Don't pretend to be something you're not!!

    Clearly only a very small amount of produce is sourced locally.

    I too have to agree with the previous comment regarding the rude older lady who unfortunately happens to be the owner. I would go again if it weren't for her. I work too hard to line the pockets of such a repugnant, judgemental woman.

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  6. Why does theAnonymous complainer keep visiting somewhere that they obviously don't enjoy? Seems very odd and personally vindictive. Sad stuff. My daughter and I plus many friends visit this delightful tearoom several times a week and find nothing to complain about. All standards in this establishment are very high. Whenever we visit there are many regular customers who, like us, seem very happy with the service, quality and variety of menu options (it's packed for breakfasts at weekends.) Every time we visit, we consider it to be an absolute treat. Our personal favourite dishes are: Bacon, Brie and Cranberry Panini, Feta, Pepperdew and Black Olive Tart, Double-baked Cheese Souffle (who else does this wonderful retro dish?) - and we are addicted to Lemon Chiffon Cake, Cappucino Cake, Coconut and Lime plus Summer Berry and Almond Cake - oh yes, we forgot - the Cream Teas are just the best! Thank you to all the sweet girls who serve us so nicely on a regular basis.

    Claire Camden and Madeleine Gould

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  7. Surroundings a bit clinical and uninteresting.Very hot inside on the day I went, could do with a fan or air con. Coffee in mug served was a bit weak and for the top end price charged, would have been nice served on a saucer with a biscuit.No sugar on table or any other condiments, had to wait for waitress to bring it. Cake ok but nothing special. All a bit overpriced for what you get.

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  8. My Other Half and I visited today and were very impressed! I had the cheddar and onion marmalade sandwich and my other half had a burger, both of which were very delicious! I also had a latte (I drink alot of lattes and know a good one when I taste it) and it was fantastic! Perfect heat and strength.

    It was our first visit there and I will be doing a full review on them on my blog in the next few days.

    We were served by 2 young girls, both of which were lovely, especially the dark haired girl who went out of her way to be friendly and helpful. We'll definately be visiting again.

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  9. Hey there used to go here quite a lot before but not any more , manager storms around the place like a cow and you can hear her shouting at staff sometimes , which as a customer service retail supervisor I find wrong. Wont be going ther again as the atmosphere is terrible for both customers and staff.

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  10. Wowee - this post has had it's fair share of comments. Seems everyone has something to say about Manna - and very mixed reactions. Love to hear your views, keep coming with them

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  11. I Visited Manna today, the staff were pleasant, the coffee good and the cake delicious. it was the last piece of a whole lemon drizzle cake but it was still lovely and fresh. Will definitely go back sample some more cakes.

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  12. I work at Manna. The staff are superlative and the owner is extremely kind and accommodating. As brave as it is to post derogatory remarks via anonymity, they do seem at best misplaced. And the basis for the argument that a majority of produce is from supermarkets stems from the scientific analysis of observing a few carrier bags. Yes, food service buying supermarket produce shock. If it were feasible to pluck all our Romane lettuce from a nearby field we would do so. It is entirely evident which produce is from local suppliers and which is not. I fear that those who seem to criticise with such refreshing spite have a high horse more akin to a Shetland pony.
    Anyhow please do come to Manna for our delicious array of tea and cakes.

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  13. The comment by "Jackie Clark" who describes the owner as "judgemental" is surely being ironic?

    Manna is such an asset to Portsmouth and if anyone who has made the brave step of leaving the city would find similar establishments.

    The cakes are delicious and I can't wait for it to get colder so we can all sample the home-made soup again!

    I do hope these small minded comments do not deter people from visiting. It seems a shame to avoid small businesses like this to "line the pockets" of the corporate coffee chains!

    Let them eat cake, I say!

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  14. Hear, hear to the above comment - and to those who describe the surroundings as sterile and uninteresting, I suppose you prefer the bland and repetitive nature of a Costa or Starbucks? Give me the clean and personalised Manna every time!

    And at least there you know the sandwiches and cakes have been handmade about 2 metres from where you're sat rather than on a factory production line some 12 hours before by someone who couldn't care less.

    I'm also a bit shocked by the comments about the owner. Whenever I go in I usually find myself having a good old natter with her!

    Jackie Clark - never mind the owner, you sound somewhat judgemental and repugnant yourself! I'm not sure why people think it's OK to insult others in that way; it's just plain spiteful and not at all constructive.

    That's all. Oh actually - Manna staff, I'm back from London this weekend - pleeeeeease have the lemon cake. I miss it :)

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  15. First visited a few years back with my Mother had a nice strong cup of tea and some cake quite nice. This morning my sister and I went in and had door step bacon sandwiches and tea. The tea was weak and flavourless and the sandwiches was soft thick sliced bread but it was hunt for the bacon two very small rashers were lost in this amount of bread it was a joke no it wasn't it was unbelievable that anyone would actually serve this and then charge £4.00 .the decor is very uninviting may I suggest lime green gingham table cloths for starters. Will not be going back .......

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  16. I feel like I have just been robbed by Manna! We had 2 Breakfast Specials which we were informed included tea or coffee. I chose a black coffee and my husband chose a white coffee. The waiter asked if we wanted Regular or Large coffees, so we ordered Large. The bill should have been £11, but we were charged £15 due to ordering a large coffee. I pointed out that this was not mentioned by the waiter. She said it only included filter coffee, smiled and said "Oh Well!" No apology, no refund! Very devious tactics.

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  17. Neil & Freda Mac17 November 2011 at 17:03

    Myself and my wife visited the Manna Tearooms twice during November, in fact we found it to be so nice we went again. the tearoom is spotlessly clean and we found the service to be friendly and efficient. The menu, whether one wants a good, filling light lunch, or just a snack and a cup of tea or coffee, is varied. We enjoyed the soup with lovely quality brown bread (not just sliced white), and also an afternoon cream tea. Highly recommended.

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  18. We went for breakfast here after staying at a local pub and let's just say I wish we hadn't!
    The welcome initially was nice from a young blonde haired girl, but it went very downhill from there. We sat down and put our coats on the back of our chair and ordered our breakfast, which came with toast, shortly after our toast arrived which was granary (not our choice but thought this was all that was available) followed by our breakfast. As we were eating 4, obviously regular, customers came in, known by the older lady that was dashing about doing very little (turned out to be the owner), she then offered to take all their coats (ours were still on the back of our chair as we wasn't asked) and had a nice conversation about their morning. After a long chat almost across our table she offered them the choice of toast to accompany their breakfast (again not offered to us!).
    I felt that as we were not regular we did not matter to this rude woman's business and did not treat us the same as locals at all. I begrudgingly paid the bill for their overpriced tiny breakfast with bacon as hard as the Gun Wharf wall and swiftly left.
    I visit this area with many friends and they all now know not to waste their money in this unwelcoming jumped up cafe!

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    1. Thank you for your comments - this place sure does provoke mixed reactions. I continue to enjoy reading peoples experiences, good or bad!

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  19. I agree with the negative comments which is very disappointing. Service is miserable and slow, coffee poor. Such a shame.

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  20. Live very local, although never been in for a coffee or snack, as I had visitors down from London we thought we'd pop in for a coffee and sandwhich, place was quite busy being a weekend, service okay, nothing special, food very overpriced for a cafe / tea room, even my friends from London commented that it was cheaper and of better quality in London where they live!
    Definately won't be going back paying for average service, and very overpriced food and drink, thankfully there will be a new cafe opening up in a few weeks by the Old walls in Old Portsmouth, not even a 5 minute walk away from this cafe / tea room, all profits will be ploughed back into the upkeep of the local area, I will definately be given that a go, so if your in the area give it a go! Can't be any worse than Mana and hopefully the service, choice and prices will reflect that of Portsmouth and not an overpriced cafe / tea room pretending to be something it's not!

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  21. dirty tea cup did not go well down. plus dirty counter and shelves. had to wait to get order then we got forgot, we were told new staff, well perhaps training would be a good idea.bland cake and bland tea room it wont be there long.

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  22. As a regular customer of Manna for many years now, I'm always surprised, and highly amused, to read the continuing constructive messages of support to this rising establishment!
    I, as I'm sure the staff do also, appreciate your articulate musings on the tea room and are glad to take on board your innumerable suggestions for improvement. They are without doubt far more receptive due to the sheer craft, effort and passion you put into your reviews. Who thought capitalisation, basic punctuation and correct spelling were so dispensable! Alas, with such perceptive minds at work it is no matter. Take the name of the tea room, Manna, or as some would have you believe Mana [sic]. The eagled-eyed personas that many of you have developed so well could be viewed as being ever so slightly compromised by the fact that you can't read a very large sign. Critique is welcomed at any establishment, yet one would probably feel less inclined to act when comment is hackneyed, irrational and vitriolic. However, let that not denigrate the incredible valour involved in attacking the integrity of someone whom you know nothing about. What a distinct lack of decorum. Do continue in your angry search for justice, one would never want to undermine the unfettered gay abandon which so characterises your original missives, orthographical errors included.

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  23. Good rugby score here with Manna 11 / Visitors 12 but I can't help but feel that many of the plaudits do seem a bit OTT ( I suspect friends pushing for the Home team?) The plaudits did quite put me off a bit as my only experience at Manna was neither here nor there, it was a cafe. I find "Gareth's" rather erudite writings (heavens it's catching) also a bit, contrived. It looks on balance that the manager seems to be the issue with most people or is that unfair? Sorry, I retain the right to be anonymous and not erudite, Gareth, is that fair? Oh, I don't think I will be going there as it can be scary.

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  24. We visited Manna earlier this year while we were in Portsmouth, down from London. It attracted us with what seemed like a nice place to while away an hour. But the service was lacking. The girl serving us was very sweet, but had no idea how to provide the most basic cafe service. Items ordered were forgotten. Scones brought so late, we had pretty much finished our hot drinks by then. Impossible to attract anybody's attention to ask anything. A shame, as we really wanted to like the place.

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  25. Just spent a very enjoyable ten minutes reading these comments, and have to say I am in the position of agreeing with (nearly) all of them. I have been there quite a few times and have found the service variable to the extremes to which these commentators have alluded. Sometimes it's fab sometimes it's awful - weird, I know, but I have either been treated as the owner's long lost friend or left to fester in a draught.... Surely the point is this cafe can pull it off but isn't consistent.

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  26. I agree with Pandora's comment but I'd like to add that it's completely unacceptable for a business charging these prices and promoting themselves as they're trying to do to be anything but perfect all of the time and I would also expect them to have a higher food hygene rating than 3/5, spotlessly clean indeed !!

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  27. Manna is simply the best cafe in Old Portsmouth...it adds a quality that was lacking in previous years to the area and the hole in the wall that passes for a cafe at the Hot Walls, got 2/5 after an investment of £100,000. Manna is warm, inviting and just watch the customers lingering over their cups of tea and cake or Sunday morning breakfasts. That speaks volumes...

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    1. Deluded of what! OK, I get it, you go form some abuse. Well if that's how you get your kicks that's fine by me. But for most normal tearoom visitors its good cusotmer service, for a reasonable price and quality. NOt to be barked at by some middle aged tyrant!

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  28. Thanks for reminding me of your review C. My visit this morning was uninspiring. As I do the rounds to find the best coffee shop in Southsea (yeah yeah I know...Manna Tea Rooms....but they have a gnarly espresso machine so no excuses) the first thing to note is the incredible amount of competition that's sprung up since you wrote this a few years ago. This morning's clientele were obviously (mainly) local and Manna will continue to thrive if they simply fill up from within the city walls...but quality-wise they're blown out the water by Casa, Garage, Southsea Coffee, Yellow Kite, et al... For those of you wishing to follow the Cuisine de Pompey coffee shop reviews go to http://www.cuisinedepompey.blogspot.com/

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