Beach huts are the motif chosen for their website by Maria and Wes Lewis, owners of the 18-month-old Breezes Café and Deli overlooking Hill Head.
Staff details and pictures peek out from huts including the delightful Canadian, Cara, who is the first staff member I see when entering this decidedly quirky business.
Breezes has gone overboard with the sea. The café is painted in North Atlantic blue-grey and there are seashells, driftwood, salty sea doors, boatyard rigging repair signs, beach baskets, rope-encrusted bulbous buoyant bowls and wooden artefacts all for sale in the crowded two-storey place.
There’s also a deli in the back, selling breads, cakes, spices, local beers and wines (yup, there’s a vineyard in Titchfield), biscuits, chutneys and, naturally, seasalt.
The menu highlights the kitchen’s expertise in the cake, pie, scone and bread department as well as Kitesurfers’ Breakfasts; fish and chips; sausages; burgers including a surf ’n’ turf one; homemade pancakes; three-egg omelettes; sandwiches; wraps; home-made soup with crusty bread; croque monsieur or madame (add a fried egg).
Prices are reasonable at around £6-£8 for mains.
The place was packed the Saturday I visited. Cara found a table for me in the upstairs lounge area, although it’s a self-service eatery. That just about sums up Breezes staff – charming, helpful and efficient.
The lounge continues the nautical theme, with beach hut paintings, local beach photography and other items. Out of kilter is a leopardskin shopping trolley reduced from £20 to £18. For carting away all that knicknack swag in?
What matters most here? Shop or café? Difficult to tell. But what I do know is that the open-plan kitchen is as efficient as the staff. My fish and chips with hand-cut chips and leaf salad was swiftly served to my comfy sofa with low table and Cara also delivered a glass of Titchfield white wine, which wasn’t half bad.
The beer-battered fish was one of the best of its kind, the cod expertly battered and cooked. And potatoes – halved, quartered, slivered chunks of new ones – shouldn’t be allowed to be this good, every single crispy hunk eaten.
Only the paint-stripper tartare sauce let the side down, my tongue still stripped of feeling hours later. A soft leaf salad partly soothed.
One moist carrot cake slice later, I slipped my sofa moorings. I wasn’t tempted by any seashells or driftwood but, if I had been a local, I might have signed up there and then for their cookery courses including bread and cake.
This multi-faceted business is on to a winning formula. My bill came to just under £15 including a glass of wine.
Breezes Café, 66-68 Hill Head Road, Hill Head, Fareham PO14 3JP
Tel: 01329 664141
Open: Seven days a week from 8.30am to 5.30pm, plus Thursday evenings.
Food: Four stars
Service: Four stars
Atmosphere: Four stars
Disabled access: OK but a bit tight for wheelchair users.
How to get there: Take J11 off M27 at Fareham, following signs to Titchfield and B3334. Turn right on to Cuckoo Lane, right on to Crofton Lane and right on to Hill Head Road. Cafe is on the right. On-street parking.