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.