Eating out in Southsea 3

A few more of Southsea's many eateries here, including a Spanish restaurant, a Japanese one, two eateries that serve light meals and a variety of drinks, and a restaurant that also sells handbags and jewellery. Quite a mixture.

Paelling on the pounds?

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by frangliz on November 12, 2011

Spanish restaurants are hard to come by in Portsmouth and Southsea, so when Clarendon Road's Oddballs Restaurant died a death and reopened as Sant-Yago Tapas Bar, we were hardly disappointed. The big red sofas visible through the glass front made it look as though the place had undergone a complete transformation, but on entering we found that further back the wooden tables and chairs and the bar area were reminiscent of the premises' former self. It was about 1.30pm on a Saturday, and only one table was occupied. A Spanish waiter welcomed us straight away and showed us to a table near the back of the restaurant, although there is another area further back at a slightly higher level.

Menus were handed to us and we were asked if we would like to order drinks straight away. My son ordered cranberry juice and I asked for pineapple juice. We did have a look through the menu, but we really wanted to try the paella which is for a minimum of two people. There are three versions: vegetarian, seafood or meat. We decided on the seafood one at £15.50. The meat version is the same price and the vegetarian one a pound cheaper. The waiter brought our drinks, and when we ordered paella he said there would be a wait of about forty minutes. We weren't in a hurry so we didn't mind, but we decided to order some olives and a Spanish starter salad to nibble on in the meantime.

We didn't have to wait long for our starters. The pitted olives, mostly green but with a few black, were presented in a shallow dish with quite a lot of liquid. There were tiny slices of lime, chunks of garlic and tomato, and a sprig of thyme. The salad was on a bed of lettuce and consisted of tiny cubes of vegetables in mayonnaise. It was topped with some long, thin stalks that I couldn't identify; they had a pleasant, slightly burnt taste. The salad looked fascinating, and I was impressed by the presentation of all the food at Sant-Yago; the taste lived up to the look as well.

While we were waiting for the paella, one more couple came in and sat at a table in the raised area at the back. We asked the waiter if the restaurant was busy in the evenings, and he said that the night before they had had a party of thirty-five people, so I would imagine booking might sometimes be essential. As it was, we had a very peaceful lunch.

We had used small plates for our starters and we offered clean ones for the paella but didn't think it was necessary. The paella was brought in a shallow oven dish that we were warned was very hot; it was placed on a slightly hollow wooden stand. The paper napkins are all either red or yellow, and the paella came with a red napkin wrapped around one handle and a yellow one round the other – very patriotic! It looked so appetising, with slices of lime, a chunk of lemon, a sprinkling of fresh parsley and a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary. We served ourselves a little at a time. It really was excellent, having plenty of squid, mussels, one or two prawns and chopped vegetables such as peppers and onions. It was a perfect consistency and very well cooked; when you have waited forty minutes and see all the fresh ingredients, you know it hasn't come out of a microwave. We weren't quite able to finish the paella; I don't have a huge appetite, but I think it would be enough for two people with good appetites as it was very filling.

Neither of us had room for a dessert but I asked the waiter what was available, just out of interest. He explained that desserts vary from day to day, but that there are usually several flavours of ice cream and a cheesecake. He also said there was a flan, but I remember from my schoolgirl Spanish that flan is a caramel custard, so I don't know whether he meant the English flan or the Spanish one! We decided we would have coffee; my son ordered an Americano and I asked for an espresso with a glass of water. I'm not easy to please where coffee is concerned, but the espresso was very good. My son said his filter coffee was excellent too.

Sant-Yago has several special offers, beginning with paella at £5 per person on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, although there must be at least two people ordering. Tapas deals are available all day Monday and Tuesday, and until 7pm the rest of the week. The first of these is two tapas chosen from mordiscos, clasicos and ensaladas plus a drink for £5. Alternatively, there are two premium tapas, excluding pulpo, langostinos and chuleta, plus a drink for £7.50. The drinks on offer are half a pint of a soft drink, a small glass of house wine or Sagres. All day Sunday and Monday Sant-Yago offers two cocktails, aside from specials, for £7.50, and bottles of wine for £9.95.

The ladies' toilets were exactly as I had remembered them from the time of Oddballs Restaurant: not the most luxurious, but there was plenty of soap and toilet tissue and the hand-drier worked better than most. The toilets are right at the back of the restaurant with one or two steps to negotiate so the disabled might not find things easy.

Our bill came to around £30 – my son had ordered another drink along the way, and we had had starters and coffee, so that seemed very reasonable. We had no complaints at all about service, which was very polite and friendly, so we left a good tip.

I'm sure we will be going back to Sant-Yago to try the other versions of the paella and probably some tapas dishes too at some point. My son said he would definitely like to take his partner there – he had been working on that Saturday, otherwise he would have been with us. Sant-Yago is just round the corner from Palmerston Road shopping precinct and is within walking distance of Southsea common and the seafront. This would seem ideal, except that there is a huge choice of restaurants on Osborne Road, the other side of Palmerston Road, so a lot of people might go in that direction to have more choice. There are also branches of Wetherspoons and the Slug and Lettuce as well as several independent restaurants at the southern end of Palmerston Road, nearer the seafront. I somehow suspect, however, that word will get round that Sant-Yago is well worth a visit, and the only other Spanish restaurant I know of locally is La Tasca in Gunwharf Quays. I certainly hope that Sant-Yago will flourish, and I think we will be doing our bit by returning every so often.

Opening hours: Sunday-Tuesday noon – 10.30pm; Wednesday-Saturday noon – 11.30pm.
Facebook page:
Sant-Yago Tapas Bar
12 Clarendon Road
Southsea, Portsmouth, PO5 2EE
+44 (23) 92179636

Plenty of tea and more besides

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by frangliz on January 14, 2012

I should note that the Mint Tea Rooms is now called Cafe Flo, but the owner is still the same and the menu has hardly changed at all. The cafe is now open for a three-course meal on certain Friday evenings.

The Mint Tea Rooms are a relatively recent addition to Southsea's Castle Road. The first time I paid a visit I was about to go and have lunch with friends somewhere else so could only sample the coffee, which was very good. I was with my son, who ordered a carrot, walnut and hummus wrap which he enjoyed very much. I was also impressed by the fact that he was served loose leaf tea in a traditional teapot with a porcelain cup and saucer. I vowed to go back one day for lunch.

That day came one Saturday in January. It was about 1pm, and the place was about half full. It is a tiny tearoom with about ten tables; there is a counter at the back and a dresser to one side where homemade cakes are displayed along with teapots and other ornaments. Bunting hangs above the counter, and underneath is a banner with the advice "Keep calm and have a cupcake." The Mint Tea Rooms are a place where it is easy to get away from life's stresses and relax in a calm atmosphere. Music plays at a volume that could not disturb conversation.

As well as serving a huge variety of teas in traditional teapots and porcelain cups, they offer coffee, hot chocolate and soft drinks. The menu consists of breakfasts, jacket potatoes, sandwiches, soup, quiche and frittata. Sandwiches can take the form of a wrap or a traditional sandwich on white or brown bread. Smaller size sandwiches are offered for children. Tuna and mackerel are among the sandwich fillings, but there are no red meat or chicken options. Vegetarian choices are plentiful. Locally sourced and organic products are used as far as possible.

The Mint Tea Rooms are owned and run by a couple who had the help of one of their mums on that particular day. They are very friendly and polite and genuinely interested in offering healthy, homemade food. My son wanted to order a pot of organic green tea and I decided I would share it with him. Unfortunately they had run out, so we ordered ginger tea instead. To eat I chose the special of the day, chick peas with cumin, spinach and couscous. My son went for a grilled haloumi and salad wrap.

The tea came in a large white porcelain teapot; on this occasion it was made with teabags. A small jug of milk was brought, which we didn't use, and a porcelain bowl of sugar with a delightful pair of silver tongs. The cups and saucers were, of course, porcelain with a rose design. I decided to try the tea without sugar and it was delicious.

The food arrived very soon after that. My couscous was served in a small bowl, and the chick peas came in a covered ceramic pot, both on a large plate. I decided to spoon the couscous into the chick peas little by little. There was just the right amount of sauce, and the dish was spicy without being overly so. I didn't regret my choice at all, and my son was equally happy with his haloumi wrap.

Neither of us was completely full so we decided to try a piece of tempting homemade cake. On my previous visit I had spotted chocolate and Guinness cake, but that day the choice was from apple and ginger, lemon drizzle or banana loaf. They all looked gorgeous, but we both decided that apple and ginger would go well with our pot of ginger tea which had been topped up with hot water. It turned out to be an excellent choice. There was just a sprinkling of sugar on top, and the cake was a beautiful consistency; the small pieces of ginger inside gave plenty of extra flavour.

Our bill came to £12.90 which was extremely reasonable. Of course we added a tip, as service was first rate; every so often we would be asked if everything was to our liking, and it certainly was. The only disadvantage is that payment has to be made in cash, but that didn't pose a problem for us.

The Mint Tea Rooms are open from 10am to 5pm every day except Sunday. There is on-street parking and disabled access. It is possible to hire the Mint Tea Rooms for private events such as baby showers or children's parties.

I sincerely hope that the Mint Tea Rooms will survive. They are situated a stone's throw from Southsea common and about five minutes' walk from Palmerston Road shopping precinct, but there is plenty of competition in the area. I don't think, however, that any other establishment nearby tries to confine themselves to local, organic products. For anyone who is interested in eating healthily in a quiet, welcoming environment, it is worth going a little out of the way of the shops to visit the treasure that is the Mint Tea Rooms.

Tel. 023 9234 6958 (There is an error in the number given above.)
Mint Tea Rooms
59 Castle Road
Southsea, Hampshire, PO5 3JG
023 9234 6598

Retro coffee and cake

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by frangliz on April 22, 2012

Not long ago, there actually was a garage at number 1, Albert Road, Southsea, but it closed during 2011. Albert Road is about ten minutes' walk from Southsea's main shopping centre, and it's a street filled with small restaurants, pubs and cafes, as well as a motley selection of shops, some of which are pretty quirky. It's a residential area where many of the sizeable old houses in the side streets have been turned into student housing. If you just wanted to go for a coffee, it would be hard to find anywhere in the evening, and during the day you would be more likely to head to the Palmerston Road area. The Garage Lounge, however, has made it possible to have breakfast, a light lunch, afternoon tea or a non-alcoholic evening drink away from the shopping precinct.

My first visit to the Garage Lounge was on a Sunday morning at around 11am. It was fairly busy, but my son and I managed to find a table in a corner at the back. The lounge is furnished in an unusually retro style unlike anywhere else locally. There are old-fashioned sofas and chairs, even a chaise longue. Lamps and flower vases are similarly from another era. Cream cakes and fruit salad are displayed in a large, dark wooden cabinet with panes of glass. Soft drinks are kept in old-style cooling boxes, and there's a row of glass jars containing a variety of fruit and herb teas. The coffee machine may be an ultra modern one, but the till on the counter is delightfully old-fashioned.

Customers have to order and pay at the counter, and food and drinks are then brought to the table by a waitress. We both decided to have an Americano along with a granola bar, and my son ordered an orange juice as well. The bill came to about £12. The coffee was served in mis-matched china and tasted wonderful, but we did have to request milk to go with it. The granola bars were served on what appeared to be place mats, but these were covered with a thin sheet of paper which seemed very hygienic and presumably saves on washing up. A small garnish of yoghurt and fruit salad came with the bars, which were so chunky that we had to eat them with our fingers rather than the large forks we were given. They were crammed with seeds and dried fruit and were very filling. We noticed that most of the breakfast items were removed from display soon after we arrived, and a little while later the cakes began to appear. A mental note was made to make a second visit at a later time. The waitresses are very quick to come and clear away empty cups and plates or mats, but we were nevertheless able to linger for a while and talk. My son noticed that there were covered sockets on the floor; the Garage Lounge offers free wifi. As it is open until 11pm, he thought it would be the ideal place to come in the evenings occasionally. Even though he lives near to central Southsea, he was quite envious that I live closer to the Garage Lounge than he does!

My second visit came the following Saturday at 1pm, when I was meeting a friend. I went in a few days beforehand to ask about booking a table. At first I was told that wouldn't be necessary, but my request was eventually written in the book and we were given a table by the front window that could actually seat four people. I decided to try the cake this time. There was a fair amount of choice, including butternut squash and coconut, chocolate and beetroot, apple and rhubarb crumble and one or two more creamy affairs. Not wishing to be too naughty, I chose parsnip, walnut and apricot cake (£3.50) along with a large Americano (£2.50). My friend looked at the quiches, where the choice was between goats' cheese and caramelised onion or ham and leek. Sandwiches included Toulouse sausage as well as roasted cherry tomato, aubergine and halloumi with rocket pesto. In the end she decided against those and went for a granola bar and an Americano, just as I had on my first visit.

My cake was served once again on thin paper on top of a mat, with the yoghurt and fruit salad garnish. It was a thick slice with tiny chunks of dried fruit on top. The consistency was just right, neither too soggy or too dry, so I was happy with my choice. The coffee was just as good as it had been the previous Sunday. My friend somehow managed to eat her granola bar with a fork, so she had more success than me. She had said she was very hungry, but the granola is so filling that she didn't quite finish it. We weren't in a hurry to leave, so she ordered an apple and lemon tea and I had a decaffeinated coffee. I was surprised that the coffee tasted almost as good as the Americano, but my friend was a bit disappointed with her tea, as she couldn't taste the apple at all. Our table was reserved for another group at 3pm, so we left about a quarter of an hour before this.

My friend wasn't quite as impressed with the Garage Lounge as I had been. She used to run a tearoom herself and was quick to notice that there was a crack in the sugar bowl on our table, and that the spout of her teapot was chipped. I do like the idea of the mismatched china, but it should be in good condition. We also found on the Saturday afternoon that the music was a little loud, although it hadn't been on the previous Sunday.

There is just one unisex toilet at the Garage Lounge but I can't comment on it. I was waiting outside for several minutes and was eventually invited to use the staff toilet instead. The suggestion was appreciated!

The Garage Lounge doesn't have a website, but I have had a look at their Facebook page. Most of the comments are very favourable, and it seems to be a very popular place. One commentator thought it was pretentious, which to me seems a little unfair. Its décor is very different from anywhere else in either Southsea or Portsmouth; the retro style won't please everyone, but I'm glad that it stands out and makes a statement. Another issue raised, however, is that some of the food on display is left uncovered, and this may have to be addressed. It's true that supermarkets have fresh bakery products on their shelves uncovered, but in a coffee house it should be easy to display cakes in containers with transparent lids.

On the Saturday evening I was in the area again and the Garage Lounge was still crowded just after 6pm. At around 8.15pm it was about half full. It stays open until 11pm, and I think it's a great idea to have somewhere other than a pub serving drinks in the evening. It may not be perfect, but it's stylish, serves wonderful coffee, and for me, it's local. I'm sure I shall be going there again.

The Garage Lounge
1 Albert Road Buildings
Southsea, England, PO5 2SP
023 9282 8432

Aly shouldn't be angry!

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by frangliz on June 17, 2012

Angry Aly’s is situated on Southsea’s Castle Road, a narrow street that leads down to Southsea Common. I must have walked past the restaurant many a time but never seriously thought about going there, probably because the window is filled with jewellery so it doesn’t really look like an eatery. However, one of my old school friends decided to have a major birthday dinner there and I was invited. She sent menus out along with the invitations, and we were asked to choose a starter, main course and dessert about two weeks before the date of the dinner.

There is a choice of five starters, ranging from mozzarella and tomato salad (£3.25) to green lip mussels in a garlic and cream sauce (£3.50). Main courses include fillet steak with creamy peppered sauce (£14.50) and Greek lamb oven cooked in foil with garlic and oregano (£11.50). For vegetarians there is just one dish, stuffed peppers with couscous, vegetables and seasonings (£8.95). Fish of the day was either trout or sea bass, and there are other daily specials but I didn’t see the board showing these. All main dishes are served with herb potatoes and fresh seasonal vegetables.

Desserts feature cream caramel, chocolate gateau, ice cream with warm black cherry and apple crumble with custard (all at £3.50). There is also Angry’s special surprise ice cream (£3.95).

I chose mackerel pâté for my starter (£3.50; Brussels pâté was another choice). For my main course I decided on chicken breast filled with feta and spinach in a cream sauce (£9.95). Had I been ordering on the night, I might have gone for the trout, but there was no way of knowing in advance what the fish of the day would be. I don’t usually have three courses when I eat out, so I wanted a dessert that wouldn’t be too filling. I picked the ice cream with warm black cherry.

When I arrived on the night I walked through the front area, where there are a couple of small tables, past the bar and through to the dining room at the back. I was surprised, as I regularly visit a tea room on the same street that doesn’t have a large back room. There were, I think, twenty-six people that evening, and small tables had been put together to form three long ones. I have to say that it was a very tight squeeze for people who needed to get through the two parallel tables when everyone was seated, and that was the way to the toilets! There was a showcase of handbags in one corner of the room and one of jewellery at the far end of the opposite wall. About half a dozen quite large art prints decorated the walls. Ceiling fans were turned on once we had all sat down.

The restaurant appears to be run by a couple and a teenager that I presume is their son, plus a barmaid. They managed very efficiently to serve our party, and apart from a rare steak being brought out that nobody claimed, everyone got exactly what they had ordered. Bottles of red and white wine, the white in a cooler, were already in place on each table. A lady at my table asked if they had any rose, and there was just one bottle, which she seemed happy with. I sampled the red, a Shiraz, and it was very palatable indeed. Most of the guests were staunch fans of real ale, and Angry Aly’s does serve bottled real ales. Pepper and salt were to hand, and there were small vases of artificial flowers as well as battery-operated tealights. Napkins were good linen ones.

The starters began to appear, and the tomato and mozzarella salad did look appetising. My mackerel pâté was served on a small shell-shaped dish and came with three small slices of French bread. The pate had a very good flavour, but the man sitting next to me seemed to think the consistency should have been a little firmer. Extra bread was offered to a lady who was having the salad, and a small dish of butter was brought.

Main dishes took a while to be served, not surprisingly considering the number of guests. The lamb seemed to be the most popular choice, and it came still wrapped in foil. I wasn’t aware of anyone having fish or stuffed peppers. My chicken came in plenty of sauce. The vegetables were quite an unusual mixture: cauliflower cheese, peas with carrots, and hot beetroot. The potatoes were sautéed cubes. We were able to help ourselves to these accompaniments from the various dishes, and there was plenty to go round. My chicken was extremely tender and was filled with spinach; the sauce and feta cheese gave it plenty of flavour. Apart from a small piece of cauliflower that wasn’t quite cooked, the vegetables were very good and I was impressed by the variety. Those having lamb seemed full of praise too, but I wasn’t sitting near enough to anyone having steak to hear comments.

I was certainly glad that I hadn’t ordered a stodgy dessert as I was almost full after the main course. Most guests seemed to have chosen cream caramel and they enjoyed it. The ice cream surprise looked like a knickerbocker glory, and I was amazed that anyone could have found room for it. My dessert was three scoops of vanilla ice cream in an oval dish with warm cherries in sauce on either side. I loved the way that the cherries started to melt the ice cream, although they soon cooled down. I couldn’t manage to finish it all, but I had the cherries and almost half the ice cream. Birthday cake came soon after, and I wrapped my slice up and took it home! A friend of mine ordered coffee; it looked very good, but I can’t sleep if I drink it in the evening.

There are just two toilets, one for ladies and for men, with washbasins in them. The ladies has a huge, full-length mirror decorated with butterflies. It isn’t the most modern place and there was only an ordinary towel for drying hands, but there was plenty of tissue and soap.

My friend and I were the first to leave not long after 11pm, and there were still quite a few people in the bar area then. I don’t know how busy the restaurant usually gets. I wouldn’t make any comment on atmosphere as this was not a typical evening. I could at times hear music playing, but to be honest the conversation of twenty-odd guests drowned it out. Service was polite and efficient. The menu is rather restricted, but the food was so good that I would be tempted to go back and perhaps try the fish of the day next time. Parking is available on Castle Road and also beside the common, just a few yards away. This is not one of Southsea’s main streets, but it isn’t far from the common, the seafront and the shopping precinct. If you want a change from the usual chain restaurants, Angry Aly’s is worth a visit. Anyone interested in unusual handbags and jewellery might also like to have a look.
Angry Aly's
69 Castle Road
Southsea, England, PO5 3AY
023 9281 6825

Pumpkin cake and avocado warships

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by frangliz on September 30, 2012

The Asia Japanese Restaurant is the first Japanese restaurant to open on Osborne Road, close to Southsea’s main shopping precinct and not far from the seafront. We decided to try it out one Thursday evening in late September, about a month after it opened. Arriving at 7pm, we were able to have a choice of tables, but quite a few more people came in while we were there, including a Japanese family.

I was with my son and his partner, and we seated ourselves at a table for four near the front window. Each place setting has a round, sunken area covered with a metal lid, and on the sides of the table are switches and temperature controls. We didn’t really understand whether these were for cooking food or just for keeping it hot, but we didn’t need to use them at all. A Japanese waitress came to take our drinks order; I asked for an orange and passion fruit J2O (£2.20) as there was no other fruit juice, and my son’s partner ordered a glass of Pinot Noir (£3.20). My son was all for trying something Japanese and chose the Kimura Mable (£2.70), a kind of lemonade. After we’d eaten he studied the ingredients listed on the bottle and found it contained artificial flavourings as well as fructose corn syrup, so it’s not the kind of drink you would want to have every day.

We decided that we would order a variety of food and share it between us so that we could try out different things. My son knows more about Japanese food than myself or his partner, so he was left to make the choices. He ordered miso soup for each of us (£2.20 each) and one bowl of edamame beans (£2.20). He asked for just two salmon hand rolls (£3.30) as they are made with raw salmon which I have not yet convinced myself to try. I agreed on the California rolls which contain crab sticks and come in sets of six (£7.20), and also chicken dumplings (six for £5.50). His other choices were pumpkin cake (£5.50), mixed vegetarian tempura (£6.80) and a tomato salad (£4.80). We asked what the asparagus warship was, and the waitress told us it was quite a large roll made with rice and wrapped in seaweed. Unfortunately she had to come back to tell us it wasn’t available, so we ordered the avocado warship instead (£2.40 for two rolls).

The miso soup was soon brought in tiny bowls with lids. The waitress removed the lid for each of us and rested an oriental spoon on it. I couldn’t remember having had miso soup before and was surprised that it reminded me of clear chicken soup as it is of course a vegetarian soup. I really enjoyed it. Next came the edamame beans which are served in pods. I just had a few of these. The plates are tiny square ones, and since we had to put our empty pods on them the waitress brought us each an extra one. Chopsticks, each pair individually wrapped, are kept in a little box at the side of the table. There are condiments and soya sauce as well, but we didn’t use any of them as two dipping sauces were served with the food.

The other dishes were brought gradually as they were ready, so we were able to try things one at a time if we wanted to. I loved the chicken dumplings, which were very crisp on the outside and soft inside. The tempura was a bit of a mixture, but on the whole I enjoyed it. My son said the pumpkin cake was one of his favourite foods and I would have to agree; it is coated in breadcrumbs and each cake, looking a little like a fish cake, is cut in half before serving. I’m not a huge fan of either crab or avocado, but once I had removed the cucumber (my pet aversion), I did enjoy the California rolls. They were coated in fish roe which again is not in my list of favourite foods, but it did make them look very pretty. The tomato salad was a refreshing accompaniment to the cooked food, and fresh ginger and wasabi added a bite to the flavours. I didn’t try the avocado warship as it was the last dish to be served and I was already rather full, but it was apparently quite spicy.

I was glad that we had ordered such a mixture of food to share, as I had the chance to try several new dishes. There are, however, individual main dishes on the menu that are served with rice or udon noodles, and most of them come with miso soup as well. At the far end of the restaurant is a conveyor belt with seats around it in the style of Yo! Sushi, but nobody sat there that evening and there weren’t many dishes going round on the belt.

The waitress asked us if we were interested in dessert and we said we might well be. Then, however, she told us that there was only ice cream, in red bean, wasabi or sesame flavours, each £2.80. I was disappointed that there was no green tea flavour as it is one of my favourite kinds of ice cream. My son chose red bean and I went for sesame; we tried to tell the waitress how to pronounce sesame properly, and she was surprised that you have to pronounce the e at the end as of course in most English words it is silent. My son’s partner asked if he could have a scoop of red bean and a scoop of sesame, but the waitress came back to say that the ice cream came in a glass and it wasn’t possible to mix two flavours, so he decided on sesame. We understood what she meant when the ice cream was served; it was in a slender glass that had obviously been in the freezer, so there were no separate scoops. We all enjoyed it, although it was very different from usual ice cream flavours and not overly sweet.

We asked for the bill, which was brought in a small wicker basket along with a handful of mints. It came to £64.10 altogether, and we paid by card, leaving a tip in cash. Considering we had soup, a variety of dishes and ice cream, that seemed very reasonable, but if you ordered an individual main course you wouldn’t necessarily pay as much.

As well as enjoying the food, we liked the restaurant itself. There were lots of oriental paper lanterns, and traditional Japanese artwork decorated the walls. Bouquets of flowers stood on a shelf above our table, but most of these seemed to be to congratulate the owners on the opening of the restaurant, so they probably wouldn’t usually be there. On the pavement outside, a miniature pagoda was placed either side of the entrance. We also appreciated the friendliness of our waitress, who did her job very efficiently.

There are just two toilets, one for gents and one for ladies, with a shared washbasin and hand drier in between. The ladies’ was very clean, but you would of course expect that in a restaurant that has only been open for a month. It was also well appointed.

I hope I will have opportunities to visit the Asia Japanese Restaurant again in the future, and I hope it will flourish as there is plenty of competition from restaurants in the area. If you like Japanese food and you are shopping in Palmerston Road precinct or visiting Southsea beach, I would definitely recommend trying the restaurant. Parking spaces are available on Osborne Road if you are lucky, and there are additional spaces close by on Southsea Common, opposite the Queens Hotel.

Opening hours are from noon to 2pm and from 5.30pm to 11pm every day except Wednesday. There is a takeaway service.
Asia Japanese Cuisine
42 Osborne Road
Southsea, Portsmouth, PO5

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