Review: Lunch at Southsea Beach Cafe

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Today Lydia Grace Hazel Taylor-Thompson is four months old. To celebrate Al and I popped into Southsea’s newest eatery: Southsea Beach Café. Considering it’s not ‘officially’ open, it was quickly filling up with the curious and the hungry. I bumped into a few friends who had rushed down after seeing someone else’s lunch on Facebook. Which is exactly why we were there. Thanks Lou for sharing your brunch when we were insanely hungry. That kind of shizzle seems to really pack out a place these days.

There is a outdoor deck and an indoor eatery with retracting walls and roof. I can imagine its quite fun to push that button everyday. I can honestly say it was like eating by the beach in Nice (where mama lives) minus the ageing plastic surgery and yappy dogs.

Now a place like this with a view like this could easily charge £15 for a burger or a salad. Like the Wine Vaults do, and shouldn’t as they have no such view. We would all tut and go there anyway. Not here. The lunch menu was under a tenner. A good size portion of mussels cooked with the unusual addition of rosemary was £7.50. The eponymous SBC burger, a fat, oozing patty topped with chorizo, a couple of quid more. And they threw in a free gherkin. The salads look insanely good. The menu is pared down but there is foody lurking behind the ingredient choices. The wine list looked decent and I heard rumours of elderflower cider, though they had no problem with providing tap water.

Gimmicks are kept to a minimum. You wont be tripping over piles of vintage suitcases. They don’t blare out music and the simplicity of the design makes it chic by default. The blue and white enamel bowls suited the fare and accommodated reasonably generous portions.

The lunch menu had a nice balance of surf and turf, but best of all it tasted home made and fresh. The first impression is family friendly (forgot to check the changing facilities). I noticed a good number of rather expensive looking wooden high chairs, ready for little bottoms, and I’m sure I saw evidence of a kiddies menu. They had no problem with our pram and we didn’t feel uncomfortable for bringing her along. Later on though a small cortège of buggies arrived together and being busy, it was difficult for them to navigate around. C’est la vie! I may be a mum but I don’t believe businesses have to accommodate a million prams at once. Its not fair on them or the other diners. If you need to fill space, get there early.

If they stick to their current prices and keep their food quality consistent they are going to be very busy all summer, so maybe not somewhere for a weekly mothers meet-up (after all we have the uber baby friendly Watkins & Faux for that). This is not to say they have under priced themselves. The quality/quantity/cost ratio is spot on, which means if you come and visit me from London I will smugly take you here so you can validate my life choices.

The waiting staff are friendly and there are plenty of them. They are still finding their feet service-wise, which is completely OK. They could do with a maître d to boss them around a bit. We were not the only people who had to ask for cutlery. Frankly, though, who cares? This is the most exciting thing to happen to the seafront since Ken Russell burnt down the pier.

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