DISH DETECTIVE: Sticky, dirty tables, a hairy glass and a waiter with shoe issues...
All Bar One, Gunwharf Quays
From the outside, All Bar One at Gunwharf Quays looks like a reasonable place.
Views out towards the marina and Portsmouth Harbour bring a sense of calm and a touch of class.
When we first walked in it was very busy, which Dish Detective thought was a good sign.
The establishment seemed to have a vintage shabby chic look with mismatching furniture and a wood and metal vibe going on.
But on closer inspection it was mostly just shabby.
It was unclear whether we should just sit anywhere or if we should wait to be seated, so we hovered for a minute or two.
A waitress politely informed us to take a seat anywhere we fancied – which was easier said than done because nearly every table was taken by people or a pile of dirty plates.
After finding one near the window, we discovered something we weren’t bargaining for.
Our table was sticky.
The cuff of my sleeve became rather attached to whatever sauce had been dropped by a previous customer.
To make matters worse, the table had grooves in it. I assumed these were there for decorative reasons, but they doubled as a home for the remains of other people’s leftovers.
It was enough to put one off eating at this place entirely.
We moved to a different table that had recently come up for grabs and ordered soft drinks.
One came in a dirty glass, the other one was another table’s order.
After the drinks were replaced, one of the new glasses had a hair on it. Nice.
The menu was extensive with a variety of dishes – which isn’t always a good thing.
Diners can choose from classic fish and chips (£11.95) to a miso rice bowl (£9.95).
There was a range of burgers – handmade beef burger, corn flake and buttermilk fried chicken, or an aubergine and harissa burger.
All sounded rather delicious.
When taking our order, the waiter took the opportunity to put his foot up on a spare chair at our table to tie his shoe.
It was a bit strange but credit to him as he remembered our order.
For lunch Dish Detective’s mother opted for a chicken quesadilla with black beans and mozzarella with a pineapple habanero ketchup and sweet potato fries (£8.50).
I chose a chicken burrito with spiced rice and smashed avocado served with paprika fries.
The restaurant had a nice atmosphere and it was clear families were more than welcome.
Our food arrived and the modern vibe continued with patterned plates and metal buckets for the fries.
While the food was not horrible, it was somewhat bland – although Dish Detective’s mother enjoyed her pineapple habenero ketchup which she described as ‘the right amount of hot and sweet.’
However, the majority of the food not only lacked taste but also some ingredients.
The chicken quesadilla was mozzarella-less.
The burrito was not accompanied by avocado – smashed or unsmashed.
And the paprika fries lacked a certain spice – namely paprika.
To top it off both Mexican delights were slightly overcooked.
On a positive note, the lunch experience took just over an hour.
So if a quick-ish lunch in the middle of a day’s Christmas shopping at Gunwharf Quays is what you are after then this would be the place... if you don’t mind the lottery of finding a clean table.
All Bar One, Gunwharf Quays
Tel: (023) 9283 8880
(ratings out of five)