Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Lusseau - The French Food Shop, Marmion Road, Southsea

Lusseau (named after the owner Marie Lusseau) is our newest food shop offering up an array of French delights, and has been open for four weeks now.   How exciting to have such a shop in our midst!   There are not enough independent deli/bakeries in Portsmouth, and whenever I visit Brighton, I always come home with a sense of envy at their infinite food scene, but Lusseau brings us that step closer to their ranks of sophistication. Lusseau is a smart independent store offering the likes of baguettes, patisseries, cured meats, cheeses and other French groceries.  Soon to be added to this list are wines too!  Their Ethos is to source only from quality French suppliers.  Marie has a kitchen upstairs which allows her to bake the fresh bread dough, and tells me she makes other delights too (which sell like hotcakes on a Saturday, so get in quick) such as cherry tarts and flan patissier.  Today was just a stop off to see how things are coming on, but I promised to be back on Saturday to make a purchase, and the rosemary bread looks like it will be making it’s way into my home for sure!

I wish Marie much success in her new venture. 

**UPDATED 1st February 2012  Lusseau is now a Delicatessen and not a French only food shop! Spanish, Italian, English and French produce! It also sells coffee and sandwiches**

Lusseau – 106 Marmion Road, Southsea, PO5 2BB
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm and Saturday 10am to 5pm

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Sellers Coffee House - Kent Road

Sellers Coffee House is one of the many new coffee houses opening up in Portsmouth.  More power to the independents!

It is a big job to get the mix just right due to the fierce competition, and a good coffee shop needs that 'Unique Selling Point' we always hear about to win us over.  This place is on the doorstep of another good local Cafe named Mint Tearooms which I visited when it first opened and liked it very much.

Sellers used to be a pub, so it is situated in a rather large space for a coffee shop.  Inside I found it to be lacking that cosy feel that soft furnishings can bring to such a large space.  Perhaps this will come as they become more established, but is needed I feel.  I popped in for a coffee and cake with a girlfriend, but glanced at the food menu on the board.

We both had coffee's, and cakes to eat after much deliberation (because the portion sizes were huge, you could share a piece between two) I opted for the Victoria sponge after being told by the waitress it would be a good choice, and my friend had the carrot cake.  The carrot cake was good, as for my sponge, well I thought it a little dry and I was hoping for a softly fresh whipped cream filling, and instead it was butter cream and jam.  I feel if your going to make homemade cakes to sell to the public, they need to be the best that they can be - regardless of cost, etc.  Nothing tastes better than fresh cream in cakes, does it?

From what I can recall the food menu is small.  The overall impression I get from this place is that it is still finding it's feet and a little in need of direction and a unique identity which could make people flock here.  With that thought in mind I will leave it 6 months or so, and return again to hopefully 'find' the place with something magical.

Bamboo Bar and Restaurant

When this place first opened I was not sure what it did or what it was promising, and due to it's location I was not sure what market it was aiming towards.  That end of  Palmerston Road can be renowned for it's night life.  So I gave it a miss, until recently a Groupon voucher saw me dining here on a really reasonable deal for 2 courses.

The starter was really average and nothing that good to say about it really - chicken satay. Quickly moving on, I had their Black Rock Grill for my main course which is dubbed as a unique, delicious, healthy interactive dining experience that allows your meal to be presented cooking on the volcanic rocks at your table. 

The rocks are heated to a temperature so high that you can cook raw meat on them to your liking. 
I was told that it is the only place in Portsmouth that does such a thing.  I opted for the beef which was delicious and Amanda at the restaurant advised me that the meat comes from Bramsbury Park butchers, which I know has a good name.  

I liked the Black Rock Grill experience - but I don't know if I'd be willing to part £17.95 for the 8oz fillet of beef again - just because I can cook good rib eye steak from Buckwells at home, but for the novelty and the Groupon price I paid, I enjoyed it.

Friday, 29 July 2011

The Sussex Brewery - Home of the Sausage!

I had heard this place specialised in sausages, but had not really heard that much about it, nobody I actually know has been here.  The Sussex Brewery based in Emsworth

The Sussex menu is all about the sausages - the range of award winning Sausages, all cooked with the emphasis on flavour they have a fantastic range of sausages all served with Creamy mash potato,
beans or peas, and rich onion gravy!

With over 20 sausages to choose from, and they also have a specials board, nobody could fail to find something they liked.

The sausages can be ordered as a sharing platter, giving you and your partner a chance to share each others sausages, thus having more to taste.  This seems like the best option to me.  The platters are very reasonably priced at £19.50 for 6 different sausages, and it comes with lashings of mast too, so even those with a large appetite would be happy.  The quality of the sausages was amazing - I just can't praise it enough.  And what a fantastic touch to send all the sausages out with tickets on, so you know which is which.  It makes the whole experience so enjoyable.

The dessert menu was also good, solid and worth ordering from if you have the room.

There are two dining rooms, the smaller of the two is downstairs, and the larger cosier one is upstairs, but gets very warm, so be warned if you get hot easily.

Would I go back?  Why have I already not!!!!!

Top tip - booking at the weekend is recommended as the restaurants are both small, and you will be hard pushed as a walk in on a Friday/Saturday night to get a seat.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Jamie's Italian - Gunwharf Quays

Sunday 29th of May - Jamie's Italian is now open for business.  Their advertised official opening is today (Monday 30th), so I did not expect it to be as busy as it was!   Who am I kidding!!!  In a world where everyone is super obsessed with celebrities and its owners’ celebrity chef status, you can expect the restaurant to be constantly packed. I'm sure it will be the biggest grossing restaurant at GWQ - especially with 300 covers indoors and 100 outdoors. 

On arrival I was given a pager and told there would be a 30 minute wait unfortunately, (so it looks like queues here will be a common theme), so I headed over to the bar area for a drink and to peruse the menu.  The restaurant only takes bookings for large groups of 6 or more.  

 Menu choices include Italian classics (like spaghetti bolognese, antipasti and such) and Italian-inspired dishes.  The smaller plates/starters looked far more interesting than the mains, with dishes such as stuffed courgette flowers, crispy polenta chips and crispy rice balls stuffed with smoked buffalo mozzarella and porcini mushrooms.

Risotto Milanese £11.95 promised creamy saffron & parmesan risotto with herby roasted bone marrow & lemon & parsley gremolata.  I found it was very one dimensional and I can't recall tasting the flavours of the gremolata (which is lemon zest, garlic, parsley). Risottos barely cover an inch in depth, so you don't get that much for your money.  This was my feedback to the waiter - a slightly larger portion please.   I think I made a poor choice on this occasion.

Unfortunately some of the prices are hard to chew, and although I would like to return again and perhaps next time order several smaller dishes under the nibbles/antipasti menu instead of a main course (as also encouraged to do by the waiter), for my choices would come to just shy of £20 excluding drinks, dessert and any tipping - wowee.  So potentially best part of £40 for 1 person.  I think I would need an advance on my wages!

I think the majority of the public will love this place going on the popularity of all the other branches.  The service is slow, so don't think you can pop in for a quick lunch.  You will need to take your time, so go with good friends.

Would love to get other peoples thoughts on the place.
Risotto Milanese

Truffle Risotto

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Southsea Castle's new tea rooms

Opened on May 14th, I was chomping at the bit to visit the new tea rooms, equally to visit the castle as I have never managed to do so before (terrible I know).

They have made this place into something truely special in my view.  It had a feel similar to Aspects Gallery tea rooms, but in a greater setting.  With the sun shining it was a perfect day to visit.  I only stayed for a cup of tea on this occasion, but having looked at some of the food coming out, I will be back to eat soon.  They have a few outdoor tables and benches, so weather permitting you can sit and eat/drink there also.  The inside space has very clean lines (love that expression LOL) and is bright with its modern feel and touches. 

The cafe is run by Yellow Kite who are a catering company set up as the social enterprise component of the healthy Pompey project.  There mission is to improve the health of the people of Portsmouth, by introducing healthier options.

I had a cup of tea which was fairly priced at £1, and a pot at £1.50

The menu comprises of a few breakfast dishes, lunch is 12 to 2.30pm and includes soups, salad, mezze, and a childrens menu,  and all dishes are priced between £2.50 to £6 (for the mezze).  Afternoon tea is served between 2.30 to 4.15pm, and a selection of cakes are available throughout the day.  There is a small selection of alcaholic beverages too :-)

There has been talk of turning the hot walls in Old Portsmouth into an art space and cafe, if so, then this is what I imagine it will look like as it housed in a similar space.

Truly a great addition to the now expanding Southsea tea room scene!

Open daily 10-4.30pm May to October, excluding Mondays. 

Nara Sushi

Having a Yo Sushi at GWQ is fine and well, but sometimes it is nice to give the independent restaurants our support, plus there is the need to pay a minimum of £2.80 to park at GWQ!

I went for a spot of lunch Saturday afternoon to Nara Sushi.  There were only 6 other customers in there, but it still created a nice environment.  The waitress was very knowledgeable and helpful.

The concept is the same as Yo, with a conveyor belt and brightly coloured dishes all individually priced.  I am no expert on Sushi, but the food in this place was very good compared to my previous sushi adventures.  The rice had a consistency and texture so creamy it melted in the mouth, like no other sushi rice has done before.  I ordered a Tuna Set, Chicken Gyoza, Salmon Roe Nigiri (this was beautiful), to name a few.  Even the wasabi was prepared beautifully, and not too harsh on the palette like it can be. 

What a cute place!  They have 2 belts, so lets hope they fill them with lots of adventure seeking locals.  I will be back for sure!

Top tip: They have a BYO policy too!


Monday, 4 April 2011


I received the following information this week and thought it would be of interest to some to publish this:

Now with Osborne Road Wednesdays you don't have to travel for miles to taste the world.  Every Wednesday you can eat drink and be merry with one of the fabulous offers printed in The News.

The top places to eat and drink in Osborne Road have come together with regular offers every Wednesday for you to save money and try something different!  Look out for the full-page feature in The News on Tuesday, April 5 where every one of the businesses below will be giving you a mouth-watering offer.

Happy Eating!

Chez Choi~Steki~Barnaby's~Rancho~Belle Isle~Shenanigans~Istanbul~Spice Merchant~Grosvenor Casino~Noble House~Jewel in the Crown~Kingsley's

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Noorish finally open!

Noorish had a stall at last years Southsea Food Festival, and since then I have been keenly keeping an eye out for it's opening which was yesterday (29th March 2011), and due to unforeseen personal circumstances they had to delay the opening.

If you like the idea of making your own curry dishes then this place is for you.  They have created different spice blends for you to take home and add your own ingredients to.  Also recipe cards will be available to follow along for those of us (me included), who are less experimental with Indian food.  The boutique store also offers pre-cooked food using the unique spice blends such as samosas, spicy wraps, potato patties and chickpea salad.

They are easy to find and are located off Marmion Road opposite Waitrose (down the side street which is Winton Place)

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Saturday, 12 March 2011

Zizzi - GWQ

Chain restaurants!  Love them or loath them, they are convenient, and at GWQ there is not much else to be found.  I recently read a review in a respected food magazine on chain restaurants where Zizzi came quite high as one of the better ones, so I thought I would give it a try.  It was heaving in there - people must love the place.  I had not booked and it was a Friday night.  The only table left was one that had been brought in from outside, crammed in to accommodate more customers. 

Anyway, I will keep this one brief.  The food although appealing to the taste buds from the menu description - and well presented was bland!  Gorgonzola gnocchi starter with barely a taste of any cheese and a lemon chicken breast for mains which barely kissed any lemon (although to look a the picture below you would never know).  £42.50 for 1 calamari, 1 portion of olives, 1 gnocchi, 2 lemon chickens and 2 soft drinks.  I wished I had gone elsewhere.

I don't want to give all chain restaurants a bad name, as some are quite good, but there is always the dreaded fear of wasting your money on bland food for the mass British public who seem to have inactive taste buds!  I'm sure the Italians would not say this was authentically Italian. 

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Southsea Food Festival 2011

The dates are now in for this years event which will be taking place on Saturday the 18th and Sunday 19th of June 10am-4pm.  It promises to be bigger and better than last years!  Well let us hope so, as I blogged about this event last year after it happened and although it was a good event for us locals to attend, I'm sure if more local food businesses took part it could be a really fantastic day out and put Southsea on the map!

So get these dates in your diary and hope that the British summer is kind to us that weekend!!!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Soprano's - Palmerston Road, Southsea

Last Saturday I thought it would be a good idea to have lunch at Soprano's, so I parked on the seafront, paid the £2 parking fee only to find when I got there it was full, and many tables had been booked!  I was disappointed that on a Saturday lunchtime it would seem you can't just expect to walk off the street and get a table for lunch.  This must be a sign of a good eatery!  I was not to be beaten by this so in the week I called to make a reservation for Saturday lunch.  When we arrived there were several spare tables (typical), although this said, they soon started filling up even as late as 2pm.

The 'Ristorante' looks to have approx. 30 covers, and it appears to have a very loyal customer base.  You get the distinct impression that everyone knows everyone, as the staff were chatting to the customers on first name terms and vice-versa.

It was just a quick lunch date so no starters, snacks or puds - just straight into the mains.  I had the daily special which was pan fried mackerel fillets on roasted baby new potatoes and tomatoes with olives and a caper and lemon mayo at just shy of £10.  My dish was tasty, especially with the lemon in the mayo which really helped to cut through the oily and rich nature of the fish.  A very well balanced dish and nice to also have a few salad leaves on the plate too. 

The other dish my partner ordered was the Polpetti Spaghetti which is homemade beef meatballs with a spicy rich tomato sauce at £7.95.  Both dishes were very reasonably sized portions.  He enjoyed this, I found the meatballs a little dense and solid, rather than being succulent and flavoursome.  The sauce however delivered nicely on the spicy notes.

During Monday-Friday Soprano's offers a lunchtime special which is 2 courses for £6.95.  I would be interested in trying this next time, and would hope that the portions are as good in size and flavour as the full price menu.

I think the main menu is missing a trick - I would have liked to have seen some home made Gnocci dishes and perhaps dishes which feature Polenta (grilled as a starter with Porcini mushrooms for example).  Both these ingredients are very Italian and very current and I feel would make Soprano's even more contemporary and trendy...so here's hoping!!!!

Would I go again?  Yes - I will be back, if only for the excellently priced lunch menu.

Tip:  Try the salads as every salad that came out from the kitchen looked fantastic!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Like a Teatray in the Sky - Art Cafe - Osbourne Road, Southsea

This quirky new Cafe has just recently opened and it's owners Sam and Nicky Foot also of The King Street Tavern have branched out (so to speak) and opened a vintage tearoom. 

Not only can you purchase a scrummy piece of cake (with several beautifully displayed to choose from) and a pot of tea, but there is also the opportunity to purchase items from local artists and designers.

They are currently looking for artists, designers, illustrators, photographers etc to get in touch with a view to selling their work in their shop and tea room. Please contact Sam for further details – sam@thekingstreettavern.co.uk

I'm backing this place all the way, as Sam and Nicky are two lovely people with a good eye for what the locals want, with the Tavern a roaring success as proof of this fact.

I wish my local landlord and landlady all the best with this new venture!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

My appearance on Saturday Kitchen January 2010

Well - this one just has to get a mention as it's not every day your fortunate to be invited to appear on this show!!  Having written in several times to be guest, to my surprise I had a phone call inviting me on.  I had to write a bit about why I was interested in being a guest before I was chosen (as they had other guests they were considering too), so without hesitation I hot footed it home, wrote a brief biography, and the rest is history!

It was a fantastic experience, I was so pleased to have two Michelin Starred Chefs cooking too, and Kelly Adams from Hustle who was both beautiful and warm to talk to.  Check out the two minute clip of my best bits from the show!