FOOD REVIEW: The Cafe, Tesco Extra in Fratton

The chicken and cheese wrap
The chicken and cheese wrap
The Rampant at the ramparts of Portchester Castle in 1967. L to r: Peter Richardson (aka Ritchie Peters  they turned his name around) vocals, Ron Hughes guitar, Ken Hughes (his brother) drums, Don Golding bass, Mick Cooper Hammond organ.

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So it probably won’t win a Michelin star and nor does it have the acclaim of trendy high street cafes.

And you won’t spend time planning to head there for an evening meal.

The Cafe at Tesco, Fratton

The Cafe at Tesco, Fratton

But The Cafe at Tesco, Fratton, serves its purpose well.

Designed for shoppers to have quick break, or ideal for families arriving early to Fratton Park for a Pompey game, the cafe at the new(ish) supermarket is ideal.

Dish Detective dropped in on a dreaded ‘I’ve-left-it-until-Sunday-to-do-the-shopping’ morning.

Its simplicity has been well thought-out – as you might expect from a huge supermarket chain – and made a welcome stop in an otherwise frustration-inducing trip to a supermarket on the day of rest.

Before even entering the cafe, shoppers are confronted with a board asking ‘really hungry?’ or ‘a little hungry?’

This is an eaterie that expects its customers to be swivel-eyed and stressed-out with children in tow shouting their demands of hunger.

And the questions on the board serve precisely that purpose: it’s the questions you’d ask your own child.

From there the menu is split in two, with jacket potatoes, three ‘classics’ and five mains in the ‘really hungry’ category.

In the ‘a little hungry’ category, there are two types of soup, four quiche and salad meals and then five options of the ubiquitous cafe food – panini or wraps.

There’s also an eight-item breakfast menu, with bacon or sausage roll (£1.99), a breakfast (£3.99) or what’s called the Bigger Breakfast at £5.99.

Apart from the breakfast, the two-category menu is served from 11.30am.

As with most cafes such as Starbucks or Costa Coffee, it’s a case of ordering at the till and picking a table before waiting for your meal.

Dish Detective opted for a £3.99 southern fried chicken, cheese and BBQ sauce wrap, with an optional portion of chips and a £2.50 latte ,while DD’s offspring had a £2.49 children’s meal. There’s a choice of five items for the children’s meal, including cheese, yoghurt, ham or cheese sandwich, Capri Sun and pineapple.

There were other items available – just not on the day Dish Detective was there.

Staff had run out of children’s sandwiches, but were only too happy to make up another one.

Thankfully, as the little ones can pick their food there’s no waiting – apart from for the sandwich – before they can start eating, thus ending what all parents know is the stress of a toddler demanding to be fed instantly.

On that point, it must be noted that the supermarket itself offers a free piece of fruit to sustain children during the shopping.

That’s an initiative that not only should be commended for emphasising healthy living, but one that helps parents get on with what needs to be done.

Back in the cafe, it is just far away enough from the escalators not to have to worry too much about children zooming off (and there are high chairs available).

Our party was well tended to by the staff, who were cheerful.

The waitress who delivered our food to the table was good enough to offer a choice of sauces for the meal, which arrived hot and was filling.

The wrap itself was exactly what such light snacks are designed to be – tightly-packed and easy to eat and with a smothering of barbecue sauce.

Chips were fat and there was a good number of them.

In all, while The Cafe in Tesco may not be a destination of choice if you’re not already in the shop, its excellent design (which has clearly been through the corporate focus group and design machine) makes it a good choice for a quick break.

We’d go back again, but hopefully won’t be leaving the shopping to the last minute...

Tel: 0345 610 6712

Food 4

Value 5

Ambience 3

Child-friendly 4

(ratings out of 5)