Things To Do
U.S. Travel Guides
New York City
All U.S. Destinations
World Travel Guides
Upload Your Photos
New York City
Write a Review
Best of IgoUgo
U GO! Awards
Member Hall of Fame
Things To Do
Like a Teatray in the Sky
You Are Here:
Things To Do
View Full Interactive Map »
Avg. User Rating:
31 Osborne Road, Southsea, England PO5 3LR
023 9273 1903
Show More Info
Add Your Photo
From cupcakes to French onion soup
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
December 23, 2012
Best of IgoUgo
My first visit to Like a Teatray in the Sky was on Mothering Sunday 2011, when my son took me for a delightful cupcake and a cup of coffee before we went off to the Isle of Wight for the afternoon. I’m not really sure why I didn’t go back until ...
My first visit to Like a Teatray in the Sky was on Mothering Sunday 2011, when my son took me for a delightful cupcake and a cup of coffee before we went off to the Isle of Wight for the afternoon. I’m not really sure why I didn’t go back until December 2012, although there are quite a few cafes to choose from in Southsea. One of my colleagues, however, had had lunch there one Saturday and had enjoyed it so much that she asked me if I would like to go with her the following weekend for a pre-Christmas get-together. She said it had been quite busy, so I booked a table for 1pm on the Saturday.
When we arrived it wasn’t particularly crowded. We were given a table by the window that could easily have seated four people. The Teatray is decorated in a retro style, with formica tables and an assortment of upright chairs. A collection of silver and china teapots adorn the shelves behind the counter along with an array of fruit and herbal teas. Cakes are displayed on stands on the counter at the side, and I was surprised to see that the beautiful cupcakes that had been on offer on my first visit had given way to a tempting assortment of larger cakes cut into slices. There were mince pies served with clotted cream, pecan and cranberry brownies, Earl Grey tea loaf, Bakewell tart, Victoria sponge with wild strawberry and fresh cream filling, and clementine slice that day, but the choice does vary.
On her previous visit my friend had enjoyed a cream cheese sandwich with salad so much that she ordered it again, along with a pot of traditional tea. There are usually two kinds of soup on offer, and on that particular day one of them was French onion soup, which I cannot resist. I decided just to have a glass of water with it and enjoy some coffee afterwards. The drinks were soon brought over, and the cup and saucer, milk jug and sugar bowl were all china in an assortment of designs that just seems to add to the charm. Cutlery and black paper serviettes came next, and in keeping with the style, the cutlery was silver.
A few minutes later the sandwich was served along with some thickly sliced granary bread with butter on the side to accompany my soup. The soup was served in a large china bowl resting on a plate, and there was a mouth-watering chunk of bread covered with melting gruyère cheese in the middle of it. Before I made a start on it, my friend insisted that I taste a piece of the beetroot from her salad, as it was so fresh and devoid of the vinegar flavour that comes with beetroot from a jar. My soup was piping hot but absolutely delicious. I enjoyed it with the granary bread and left the bread with gruyere until the end to give the cheese plenty of time to melt. It was heavenly.
Both of us were completely full by the time we had finished eating. I decided to have an espresso and my friend ordered another cup of tea. She also asked for a piece of the Earl Grey tea loaf to take home with her. I did enjoy my espresso, although it wasn’t perhaps the best coffee I’ve ever had. I don’t know how much the bill came to as my friend insisted on paying, but I do know that the soup was £3.95.
The following Saturday I visited the Teatray again with my two old school friends. We weren’t happy with our usual haunt, Capers on Marmion Road, as on our previous visit they were too busy to serve hot food and I found a hair in my cake. We wanted to try somewhere different so I suggested the Teatray. We were given the same table that I had sat at the previous Saturday, and when I arrived one of my friends was already enjoying a sneaky macchiato. The choice of soup was between tomato and basil and leek and watercress. I lamented the fact that there was no French onion, but both my friends decided to have the leek and watercress. The array of cakes looked similar to the previous week, although there was ginger cake this time but no Bakewell tart. I decided to try a pecan and cranberry brownie along with a small cappuccino.
The soup did look good, and my friends both said that it tasted as good as it looked. I had no regrets about my choice of the brownie. As well as the pecan nuts and cranberries, it had gorgeous chunks of chocolate near the base. As with the espresso, the cappuccino with its sprinkling of chocolate was good but not outstanding. One of my friends decided to have a brownie after her soup with a cappuccino, while the other ordered a cappuccino but was so full that she asked to take a brownie home with her. It came as no surprise that the first friend ate about half her brownie and had to give in and wrap the rest up to finish at home. They were perhaps a little more impressed with the coffee than I was, although I’m not complaining. This time we each paid separately, and my bill came to just over £6 - I had finished with an espresso after my brownie and cappuccino.
There are two unisex toilets at the Teatray. I have only been in one of them, a spacious one with a baby changing mat in one corner. It is always clean, and there is a box of tissues rather than paper towels or a hand drier. The toilets are on the ground floor, and there is wheelchair access to the tea room. On one occasion there was someone with a motorised wheelchair at a table near us.
The Teatray gets a big thumbs-up all round. My school friends and I booked a table for our next get-together before we left, as they liked the place so much. While it has the retro feel of the Garage Lounge in Southsea, it is quieter and less crowded. Music ranges from the soundtrack to Amelie to the Beach Boys greatest hits of the sixties, and the volume isn’t high enough to make conversation difficult. The walls in the rear area are hung with artwork that is all for sale, and if it’s not too busy you can have a leisurely browse.
Service is very friendly, and there is a relaxed, welcoming feel about the whole place. You can sit and chat without being made to feel that you have to vacate your table as soon as you have finished eating. It’s the kind of place where you don’t feel uncomfortable if you are on your own, but families with children are welcome as well. I have only mentioned soup, sandwiches and cakes, but afternoon cream teas are served, and in addition to soup, there is usually one hot option such as quiche or lasagne.
With its location on Osborne Road, the Teatray is very close to Southsea Common and also to Palmerston Road shopping precinct. You might be lucky enough to park on Osborne Road itself, but if not there are parking spaces on the common. Whether you are shopping or visiting Southsea seafront, I would definitely recommend a visit to Like a Teatray in the Sky. I am sure I will be going back regularly, either for French onion soup or to sample more of those tempting cakes.