Cosy Club, Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth – Food review

Short of being economic with the truth, few restaurants in Portsmouth outside the perimeter of Gunwharf Quays can boast of a decent harbour view.

By Dish Detective
Thursday, 23rd May 2019, 6:48 pm
An exterior view of Cosy Club, which opened at Gunwharf Quays in March
An exterior view of Cosy Club, which opened at Gunwharf Quays in March

But Cosy Club really can boast – so it seems almost greedy that the scene from the outside looking in is just as good. 

Taking up the unit formerly occupied by Water Margin, opposite the Spinnaker Tower, the colourful venue infuses aristocratic aesthetic with classy kookiness. 

Oil paintings adorn almost every wall, cigar-lounge style chandeliers hover over the bar and vintage sofas offset against a hodgepodge of wooden tables and chairs with studs and slats – the place manages to give off a charm blending the modern with the mad. 

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The Cosy Club Breakfast, with an additional halloumi and sweetcorn fritter, beneath the poached egg

Accepting the mission of assessing Portsmouth’s new Cosy Club for the first time since its March launch, the Dish Detective and a friend enjoy all of this eye candy on a sunny morning, in search of brunch. 

Glorious as the weather may be – and Cosy Club does have a balcony terrace – we’re the only souls in sight, so being sat down takes no time. 

Just minutes after, our waiter returns. My sweet tooth takes the wheel and I order an iced mocha (£3.45). My friend’s beverage is a pot of earl grey tea (£2.60), or at least it should’ve been had he not been brought the wrong drink. 

This is exchanged without a hassle though, albeit without an apology, and the sipping swiftly starts. 

Cosy Club strikes a perfect balance of dominant chocolatey flavour and subtle bitterness with its iced mocha – it’s delicious. 

And thanks to a mini mountain of crushed ice, it’s staying perfectly cool for the long run. 

From across the table I’m told there are no alarms and no surprises from the now-earl grey tea. 

Before long our server returns and it’s time to pluck a choice from the menu’s 13 brunch dishes – six of which are veggie-friendly and all can be made gluten-free. 

Not wanting to mess about we both opt for the Cosy Club Breakfast (£8.50), comprising grilled smoked back bacon, Gloucester Old Spot sausage, field mushroom, grilled tomato, a potato rosti, baked beans and a fried or poached egg with buttered sourdough toast. 

Feeling extra hungry, I bolster my brekkie with an additional halloumi and sweetcorn fritter (£1.95). 

As a firm believer the day’s first meal is the most important, I cross my fingers for a good show – and it is. 

Cooked exactly to my liking, the bacon offers more of a bend than a crunch. 

The sausage’s natural casing cracks satisfyingly when cut, revealing a perfect storm of delicate meat and herby flavour. 

And it’s the same story with the rosti and the poached egg. 

Both are firm on the outside, but tantalisingly soft within. The potato is hot and fluffy and the thick yolk of the egg oozes beautifully. Though for something that tastes little of halloumi and more like a traditional veggie burger, the fritter is unremarkable.

I’ll avoid that next time and save the pennies. But what’s important is there will be a next time.

Overlooking the tea gaff, and a tiny shard of shell on my poached egg that is easily picked off, this is breakfast done right. 

Cosy Club’s interior might be complicated and quirky, but its all-English breakfast is the polar opposite. It does what it says on the tin – and well.

You’ll no doubt find a cheaper breakfast in Portsmouth, but what this may lack in heft it makes up for in no-nonsense execution – and I urge you to give it a crack on a sunny day too.