The Quartermaster’s Kitchen at the Royal Marines Museum, Southsea

The Quartermaster's Kitchen at Royal Marines Museum, Southsea
The Quartermaster's Kitchen at Royal Marines Museum, Southsea
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The Royal Marines Museum, that row of achingly handsome buildings overlooking the sea on Eastney Esplanade, is a treasure trove of information and exploration for those keen on finding out about what it takes to earn a coveted green beret.

The Royal Marines Museum, that row of achingly handsome buildings overlooking the sea on Eastney Esplanade, is a treasure trove of information and exploration for those keen on finding out about what it takes to earn a coveted green beret.

Visitors are catered for at The Quartermaster’s Kitchens, formerly the Officers’ Mess.

Although the museum and its buildings have retained an air of grace and stature, the restaurant space sadly underwent a period of removing every vestige of its past character many years ago.

The two rooms, with their artex ceilings, plastic tablecloths, plain chairs and fake flowers transport the visitor back to an era best forgotten.

It’s such a pity, the museum not keeping up with current museum and art gallery trends of offering visitors a more salubrious experience. I thought I had stumbled on a TV set depicting the 1950s.

The kitchen is proud of its breakfasts, served up to noon, but the smell of fat doesn’t add to the atmosphere.

A Quartermaster’s Special – three slices of bacon, two sausages, two fried eggs, three hash browns and other plate fillers (£6.15) join other brekkie variations.

The usual British suspects – baked beans, scrambled eggs, jacket potatoes, baguettes, toasted sandwiches – join Main Meals and Winter Warmers: chips; tagliatelle; sausage, egg and chips; omelettes; chilli con carne and other dishes, prices not rising above the Q Special.

I ordered a steak and kidney pudding at the lacklustre bar with its cheap push-button coffee machine and sat at one of the tables overlooking the beautiful buildings.

‘Everything is freshly cooked to order’ says a sign. Hmm.

The dangerously hot, virtually meat-free pudding, came with watery vegetables. The mash was the only saviour of this poor meal.

Daddy’s Sauce, the subject of an old metal ad on the wall, might have saved the day.

Few people were eating there when I visited, a stark contrast to last week’s great find, the Casa de Castro in Southsea. That place makes quality food in a tiny kitchen for an appreciative audience.

Not only is the décor in The Quartermaster’s Kitchens reminiscent of the ’50s, the food is too.

As it’s a family-run business, I regret having to write this negative review as it won’t cheer. But museum visitors deserve a class act and this isn’t it.

The ‘great food and drink in a lovely setting’ lives up to only the lovely setting.

But the staff are cheerful and pleasant, a definite plus for anybody heading this way.

My bill came to just under £7 for that meal and some bottled water.

The Quartermaster’s Kitchen, Royal Marines Museum, Eastney Parade, Southsea PO4 9PX (023) 9288 2411

Open: 10am–5pm every day

Food: * *

Service: * * *

Atmosphere: * *

Disabled access: Good

How to get there: Head for the seafront and the museum is on Eastney Parade. Car park (paying). Follow the path towards the museum and the restaurant is on the right.