Beach Club, Clarence Esplanade, Southsea | Restaurant review
SOMETIMES when you’ve lived in a place for a while you forget to take advantage of the best it has to offer.
And if you live in or near Portsmouth it’s often easy to forget just how beautiful Southsea seafront can be.
Even on a fairly gloomy and chilly evening it is a privilege to be able to dine out while overlooking the - on this occasion - choppy waters of the Solent.
When The Beach Club, along Clarence Esplanade, first opened - replacing what used to be Mozzarella Joes - Dish Detective made a note to return one night for this very reason.
The trip finally became a reality on a grey and windy October evening, the newly painted cabin acting as a beacon for weatherbeaten travellers.
On first appearances the inside of the eatery is spacious and airy while managing to maintain a level of cosiness - helped maybe by the contrast to the weather outside.
Sticking to an appropriate beach theme most of the decor is blue or white, and Dish Detective is particularly fond of the array of funky jellyfish themed lampshades.
As it is an unsurprisingly quiet evening Dish Detective and their companion are offered a pick of tables.
We opt for one by a window to overlook the sea. Despite the weather it still makes for a lovely view. To the other side of the window is decking and outdoor seating, which would make a prime location in the warmer months.
Our waiter is extremely friendly and brings us menus and glasses of water.
When we are first handed the laminated menus I am met with some trepidation, thinking the food on offer might be more basic than I had hoped.
But I am instantly proven wrong. There is a vast menu with an emphasis - as you would expect - on seafood.
I opt for the southern fried cauliflower tortillas (£11.95), which are served with sweet potato fries and salad.
My companion chooses my back up option - the roasted harissa hasselback zucchini (also £11.95).
Our food is served quickly and immediately I am pleased with my selection.
The tortillas are served in two large chunks, stuffed to the brim with the fried cauliflower, salad and sauce, and is accompanied by a healthy portion of crispy fries.
I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of the taste of the tortillas but they are delicious. The cauliflower certainly has that signature spicy southern fried taste and whatever the sauce is, it complements the flavours perfectly.
The sweet potato fries are some of the best I have had in a long time. They are perfectly crunchy and not at all soggy as can sometimes happen.
While I am enjoying my meal I can tell my friend is slightly jealous. Their meal is not so generous a portion and while the courgette does come with pomegranate risotto and salad it does not look as filling as mine.
I offer some of my chips but my companion declines. They say the risotto is tasty but the hasselback courgette does not have as much flavour as they had hoped.
In the end they order a side of sweet potato fries (£3.50). This does the trick and they finish their meal with a smile.
Although we are both now very full having each consumed generous portions of fries with our meals we cannot resist the dessert section of the menu.
After much deliberation - it is a very important decision to make after all - we agree to share a chocolate fondant (£7.50).
It is extremely satisfying to put the spoon into the fondant and watch the rich chocolate sauce spill out. And it comes with chunks of honeycomb, honeycomb ice cream and chocolate soil, which all goes together so well.
This is one of the rare occasions in which Dish Detective enjoyed the dessert even more than the main dish.
It is definitely a delicious finale to what was a very enjoyable evening at The Beach Club - somewhere where I can’t wait to visit again, especially on a beautiful sunny day.
The Beach Club 023 9229 5004
Ratings (out of five)
Child friendly: 4