Somehow even since The Guide was revived in November of 2016, the new-look Becketts has not been in the Dish Detective’s cross hairs.
The former wine bar and bistro was completely transformed only 10 months before that, after a husband-and-wife team took over from the previous owner of 30 years.
Now, its sights are set on a modern, high-end culinary experience – with its own six-room boutique hotel next door – and a vision for the future thanks to the couple who hold the keys.
For all of this it calls Bellevue Terrace home – a spot suitably distant from the craziness of the city centre. It is also en route to the beach.
As you arrive you quickly see the shtick that makes Becketts so trendy.
Pastel-coloured roses border the front door of its Grade II-listed building, while yards away, a copper-topped Victorian lamppost bearing Portsmouth’s star and crescent, emits a warm and welcoming glow.
Find Becketts on Instagram and you’ll notice this combination is oft shared by diners or drinkers looking for a picture-perfect way to mark their visit.
Having heard good things, the Dish Detective and a friend pop in about midday, with an eye for a tasty retreat from a bout of wet and windy weather.
Within seconds we’re seated by a polite bartender in the Courtyard – a stunning, quiet room opposite the main restaurant.
Thanks to a huge skylight this setting’s tiled Mediterranean floor, smart wooden tables, pot plants and mix-and-match chairs are soaked in natural light. A wall of mirrored doors blow the space wide open.
Keeping it simple, we opt for a glass of Coca-Cola each (£2.50), before both ordering burgers from the brunch menu.
Mine is a cheeseburger in a seeded brioche bun with smoked bacon, Monterey Jack cheese, tomato, pickle, lettuce, barbecue corn and skin-on fries (£16).
My pal’s is the aptly-named brunch burger, comprising Lorne sausage, fried egg topped with melted cheddar, also in a brioche bun, with beans, chips and a potato rosti (£12).
Other options range from seafood, to a granola bowl, to ‘naughty’ veggie-friendly pancakes drenched in raspberry, lemon curd, white chocolate and salted caramel ice cream.
As a couple seated after us are served their lunch first, with about 30 minutes gone, we fear we’ve been forgotten. But the dishes that arrive soon after look lovely – especially on fancy plates.
The novelty wears off slightly at the first bite into my burger as the meat is a little dry and lacks some flavour, but it’s nothing a trifecta of mayo, crisp bacon and gloriously gooey cheese can’t remedy.
I’m also a little underwhelmed at my so-called skin-on fries. These, as pictured, are normal, if not well-cooked, chips.
Meanwhile the corn – albeit not very barbecue-like – is the freshest I’ve ever eaten. It’s so plump and buffed I’m surprised not to see my own reflection with each bite.
All in all I’m not blown away by my lunch, which just about hits the spot, yet I know I’ll be back one day – and here’s why.
Becketts’ stylish, woody interior boasts a cosiness I’ve rarely known of a restaurant.
The first step in is a toasty embrace – the music selection is stellar – and it’s easy to forget you left the comfort of home at all.
Though my food wasn’t life-changing, I know for sure where I want to be when winter hits – perched by Becketts’ log burner with a tipple in hand.
Tel: (023) 9286 5000
Ratings (out of five)