Outside-In Food Court, Portsmouth – Restaurant Review
Last weekend, Instagram and Facebook was inundated with pictures of a food court decked with leafy palms, Pompey sayings, fairy lights and wooden furniture.
If it was not for its aesthetic decor, it may not have attracted so much attention from millennials, families and adults alike.
But the new Outside-In Food Court in an unassuming building in Middle Street, Somerstown, deserves all the rave reviews it has been receiving for its friendly atmosphere, tasty food and great drinks.
Set up in the revamped warehouse of the former All About Tea merchants, the food court has been furnished with a bar, comfortable seating, gig space and six food stalls.
The current inhabitants are La Boca Rica, with their Spanish-inspired vegan and vegetarian menus; Dumpling Dumpling, the Cowes-based Asian kitchen; Southsea’s Hunter Gatherer Coffee, serving burgers and fresh smoothies; Arepa 2 Go, which brings a taste of Venezuela in the form of gluten-free corn pockets; One Tonne Burger Co, specialising in burgers for all; and finally, Indies, who create Caribbean-inspired curries.
It would be hard to find something you don't like among that lot.
As my companion and I arrive, we’re greeted by the friendly staff who explain the relaxed lay-out and we head over to the bar. Stocked up is a selection of beverages by Portsmouth’s Staggeringly Good Brewery, Portsmouth Distillery and Camber Wines plus many more. However, we settle for a glass of cold Pimms at £6 each.
We visit Outside-In at the end of their busy launch weekend, which brought out locals in their hundreds to put the new venue to the test on the hot bank holiday. Therefore it’s no surprise that One Tonne Burger Co had already packed up after selling out and it didn’t look like the other stalls were far behind them. They must have been delighted to have had such a successful weekend.
After much deliberation, your Dish Detective opted for food from the Arepa 2 Go stall as we hadn’t tried Venezulean food before – and it didn’t disappoint.
We ordered the Ávila Arepa, which was a gluten-free corn pocket filled with chicken avocado, cheddar cheese, fried plantain and garlic sauce (£8.95), the Casacas Arepa, stuffed with slow cooked beef, black beans, plantain and queso blanco (£8.95) and Papitas Fritas which is chips with feta cheese, coriander and avocado sauce (£4.50).
It was less than 10 minutes before we were beckoned to come and collect our food. At first, the corn pocket looked a little small for nearly £9, however my eyes were bigger than my belly because I could barely finish it. The fries with feta were absolutely delicious.
I wished I could fit in a delicious crêpe from guest stall Angelitos Crêperie but it wasn’t meant to be.
Although we only tried food from one vendor, the smiles on every customer’s face said a lot about the quality of food.
With more than 50 different meals to choose from, Outside-In caters for vegetarians, vegans and coeliacs too.
After this weekend, a friendly waitress tells me, the stalls will be changing their menus every week and the food court will be welcoming new vendors every two months so there is always the opportunity to go back for more.
The Outside-In Food Court prides itself on being plastic-free, using only recyclable or biodegradable materials. They are also a cash-free venue and welcome dogs until 6pm, making it inclusive for all. The sociable space looks forward to hosting live music and also their Cinco De Mayo food festival on May 5.
It looks like Outside-In is here to stay.