I love artisan coffee shops and in the age of Starbucks, Costa and Nero, it is heartening to see independent shops opening. Southsea Coffee Co opened just over two years ago in Southsea in Portsmouth and serves coffee roasted by hasbean. There are espresso based drinks (latte, cappuccino etc) and hand poured coffee (this changes regularly). They can serve you a long black, a coffee I got to love in Australia and one I have rarely seen on offer in the UK. They also serve a selection of special blend teas and herbal teas, hot chocolate and smoothies. In the Summer, there are iced coffees and teas. There is a beverage for everyone!
I have had several very fine coffees here and I’ve also had a nice pot of tea which was served in a cute tea cosy. I love their iced mocha which is not as sweet as some of others I have tried. They used a good quality Belgian chocolate and it was one of the best coffee drinks I’ve had. I’ve also tried their cinnamon rose hot chocolate and loved it – again, it was not too sweet and tasted rather grown up. I have a loyalty card and might be due a free drink soon…
They also sell a selection of locally sourced cakes and sweet snacks – I usually have an Anzac biscuit if available. There are also a good number of vegan, gluten free and raw choices including raw cakes, raw vegan ‘cheesecakes’ and bars made by their in-house raw cake company, Ginger and Peach. We have tried their raw Turkish Delight vegan cheezecake, the cheese element is made with cashew nuts. This was a thing of elegance, with pistachios and rose petals sprinkled on top. The ‘cheese’ / cheeze part was flavoured with raspberry and rose and the cake was topped with a layer of chocolate ganache. I love ‘traditional’ cheesecake but I am also partial to vegan cheesecake. I have tried a few raw vegan cheesecakes and for the uninitiated, these usually comprise of a crumb base, a thick layer of flavoured cashew cheese and usually a topping – much like a traditional cheesecake. This cheesecake was delicious the -best vegan cheesecake I’ve eaten – and the flavours were just like a Fry’s Turkish Delight! My non vegetarian / non vegan / carnivorous friend loved it too.
Southsea Coffee Co serve a breakfast, brunch and light lunch menu. The food is healthy and the menu changes regularly. For breakfast, you can expect items such as breakfast yoghurt and fruit pots and fruit with toast: don’t come here expecting a fried English breakfast to go with your coffee or tea as it’s not that kind of place 🙂 For brunch, you could always opt for the rather yummy sounding crumpets with honeycomb butter.
I have had the avocado on toast with chilli, lime and feta (available without feta as a vegan option) from the all day brunch menu. Smashed avo on toast is another delight I loved in Australia. A thick slice of sourdough toast came out piled high with mashed avocado and feta cheese, topped with rocket leaves. This was delicious – the lime juice and chilli flakes really complemented the creamy avocado. My only criticism was that at £6 (at time of writing), I thought it was a little expensive. The Ploughman’s lunch, however, was good value at £7 – proper ham from the local butcher (Buckwells), slices of mature Cheddar, home pickled vegetables. gherkins, salad, pesto mayonnaise and a bucket of bread. This, I was told was so much better then the sum of its fine parts!
The ambience and vibe is slightly ‘hipster’ with wooden floorboards and tables, a few cushions scattered on benches and hessian sacks under the counter – it does remind of places I’ve been to in Brighton, London and Sydney (I’m thinking of the lovely Third Village Coffee). There is also a snug at the back with an art wall which features a mural painted by a local artist. The mural changes every two months or so.
Southsea Coffee Co is in my opinion a wonderful venture and is deservedly busy. The staff are knowledgable, polite and passionate about what they do – much like the wonderful Canvas Coffee Shop, another artisan coffee shop in Portsmouth. If you are impressed with the coffee, you can even buy some to take home. What’s not to like?
Update 24th September 2015: Southsea Coffee Co now serve matcha (green tea) latte. This is a subtle and comforting drink and has become a favourite of mine 🙂
Southsea Coffee Co
63 Osborne Road
Hampshire. PO5 3LS
Typical cost per person: Around £7 for a hot drink and raw cheesecake; Up to £10 for a light meal and drink