Giuseppe's, Kent Road, Southsea: Restaurant review
As far as local celebrities go, Giuseppe Mascia cemented his place in the annals of Portsmouth history as the exuberant owner of Pizza House, in Hilsea.
It was a favourite with Pompey players, owners and and managers, including Milan Mandaric and Harry Redknapp. David Cameron even popped by once, such was its reputation.
Now three years after Pizza House closed, Giuseppe is back with his own eponymous restaurant in Southsea. As I had not been fortunate enough to have made the pilgrimage to Pizza House, I arrive at the restaurant excited to see if Giuseppe lives up to his reputation and my high hopes.
Stepping through the door from Kent Road is like being transported to Italy.
The neoclassical columns give it the feel of Ancient Rome, and the dark panelled walls are decorated with paintings of Italian scenes that whisk me from Portsmouth to the Mediterranean.
Giuseppe himself adds to the authentic Italian feel as he welcomes customers in his native tongue. The rest of his staff are very attentive, showing us to the table as we walk through the door and quickly taking our drinks order, leaving us to mull over the menu with breadsticks and olives.
The ambience inside Giuseppe’s is pleasant, music plays in the background but does not threaten to drown out our conversation.
As we have arrived for an early dinner, the restaurant is quiet to begin with. But slowly it becomes busier as more and more people walk in.
The chatter around the room increases as more people enter, but this only helps to add to the pleasant feeling inside.
The olives are a particular hit with my companion who can’t get enough of them and they vanish in what I imagine is Olympic record time.
There are a wide range of items – from the Italian staples of pizza and pasta, to meat dishes, as well as fish. The menu even boasts a Southsea pizza.
Several vegetarian options, such as gnocchi, are included and there are plenty of side options or starters if you are feeling extra hungry.
The drinks menu is equally as extensive, with everything from soft drinks and espresso to a range of wines, beers and other spirits.
After struggling to narrow down my choice to just one, I eventually opt for the homemade ravioli (£12.95) which comes with three cheeses and nutmeg. My companion goes for the mushroom Risotto (£12.95).
When the food arrives, I am surprised at how small the individual ravioli are and worry they may not be filling. But my worries are misplaced, the dish is delicious and incredibly filling – it perfectly hits the spot.
Each of the individual ravioli are rich and packed full of cheesy goodness, while the sauce drizzled on top is hearty. The cherry tomatoes add a freshness to it all.
I am a little disappointed not to be offered Parmesan cheese or black pepper to go with the meal – particularly after hearing the legendary tale of the giant pepper pot Giuseppe would take out at the Pizza House. But this is a tiny gripe.
My companion enjoys the flavours of the risotto and likes the meal overall but finds the risotto rice to be a bit under-cooked for their taste.
The staff continue to be just as attentive once we finish up our plates, which are practically scraped clean.
No sooner are our knives and forks put down than the empty dishes are whisked away with a ‘grazie’.
We are quickly offered dessert menus but are completely stuffed and will probably explode if we try to eat any more.
We leave very satisfied customers.
Giuseppe’s, Kent Road, Southsea
Tel: (023) 9282 6879