Carol Godsmark reviews: Home Coffee, Southsea

Home Coffee, Southsea.

Home Coffee, Southsea.

Pie & Vinyl

Five of the best vegetarian and vegan eateries in Portsmouth and Southsea

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Home specialises in coffee, its single origin beans chosen from Brighton’s Small Batch.

You might find several African coffees (Ethiopian, Rwandan), central or South American ones. Brazil, naturally, is also part of the rich mix.

But the guys who run this new enterprise – friends Russell Ison, Andrew Chance and Rob Nichol who have bags of experience between them (BA cabin crew, PR and retail) – go for seasonal beans. Cutting corners or taste is not their remit. They have a welcoming, messianic approach to what’s in the cup, seeking out each region’s distinctive beans.

But it’s not all about coffee. Local, English, food is part of their ethos too. Buckwell’s ham features in sandwiches, English apples partnered with crumbly Cheddar which may also include piccalilli and real ale chutney in their doorstops. There could be a beet hummus with pitta and celery or crostinis with toasted sourdough topped with pesto, cherry tomatoes, feta or maybe tuna with red onion.

There are also soups – curried parsnip, maybe, or leek and potato. Breakfasts include a Knickerbocker Brekkie with muesli, Greek yoghurt, berries and goji berries.

Breads and pastries come from Bread Addiction (only sourdough from here, sadly) on nearby Elm Grove. Prices? About £4-£5; cakes less at about £2-£3. There’s Portsmouth Tea too.

The narrow space – once a Chinese takeaway – is decorated in industrial fashion: metro-type white tiles; smart black lighting; reclaimed wood; snazzy old brass gas pipes now supplying electrics, the bar seating made of scaffolding poles and wood.

My doorstop sandwich – ham and cheese with piccalilli and rocket – would have stopped a cathedral door from banging shut. Some mouths just aren’t that size, mine included. So it turned into a Danish open, the fine ingredients showing a caring kitchen. A piece of first-rate pear and almond slice, moist and light, followed.

Coffee, a mocha blend of Mexican, Ethiopian and Guatemalan, is about the tastiest cup found in this neck of the woods, vying with the Southsea Coffee Company for excellence and approach. And Rob introduced me (and, no, he didn’t know me from Eve) to a fine coffee gadget, the Aeropress, making me a sample cup while he explained the method.

Milk? Sugar? Why, spoil this fabulous cup of coffee with its chocolate, caramel and toasted hazelnut subtle tones? For the real taste of coffee why spend a parallel sum – £2.50 – on those chain types? This trio want you to experience the Real Coffee Deal and succeed. Slow down, enjoy the drink and concentrate on the taste.

Southsea has yet another gem on its hands on all levels. Service? Smart, friendly, inclusive. Ace.

ESSENTIALS

HOME Coffee,
36 Albert Road, Southsea PO5 2SJ (023) 9217 6240

Open 8am–5.30pm Mon-Sat & 10am–4pm Suns (but look out for open signs too when the nearby Kings Theatre has a good house).

Food: ****

Service: *****

Atmosphere: ****

Disabled access: fine.

How to get there: Albert Road is the heart of Southsea shopping, just off Victoria Road South and a continuation of Elm Grove. Home is a few doors down from Kings Theatre. On-street parking.

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