Sometimes you go somewhere and everything is just right.
Dish Detective was lucky enough to have one of those rare experiences at Home Coffee in Albert Road, Southsea. The eclectic street, which is packed with independent traders, is currently reeling from the news that Costa intends to open here.
It’s obviously sent shivers down the spines of places such as Home – and other cafes Jam and Bowler, Aurora, The Garage Lounge, etc.
But Home needn’t worry – it is already a whole league above Costa.
Dish Detective called by for a mid-week lunch break and, despite the rest of Southsea being eerily quiet, Home was pleasantly busy with a wide range of customers.
There were the foreign language students having a stunted conversation practicing their newly-acquired English skills, the business types in suits with laptops, friends meeting for a catch-up, a large family group with young children and a group of white-haired pensioners.
Whatever walk of life they were from, Home’s small team of staff showed the same welcoming and friendly nature.
It’s a small place, but well-designed to fit the most amount of people in without being too crowded. A couple of the central tables displayed signs encouraging people to share when busy, a nice touch.
Out the back there is a small garden with a couple of tables that looked like they’d be a great escape in the summer.
There’s a small menu too – with just a few easy lunch options – so don’t head here if you want to experience the full Wetherspoons-style range of options.
But everything that came out of the kitchen looked lovingly crafted and carefully chosen.
After seeking a bit of advice, I was recommended the Sriracha hummus sandwich (£5.90), pictured above.
Sriracha is a chilli sauce and, while not usually my thing, I went with the recommendation.
It came on some deliciously fresh sourdough bread (again not usually my thing) and was accompanied by slices of tomato, avocado and rocket (again, ingredients not usually found in my fridge).
It arrived like a tall stack, with a skewer keeping it together and oh my was it delicious. Fresh and tasty, plus all the ingredients worked well together. Clearly a sandwich put together with skill.
I also ordered a SuperPower smoothie (£4.50) which the menu says is developed by their ‘in house nutritionist’.
It has a pleasing mix of matcha, pear, apple, banana, mint and coconut and is meant to be good for your immune system.
This, like most of Home’s goodies, tasted nice while leaving you feeling good.
And it would’ve been just wrong not to try one of the cakes - I went for a slice of rhubarb and orange loaf (£2.50) which proved to be the perfect way to round off a very pleasant lunch – not too sweet, but tangy enough from the fruit and it tasted home-made.
Filtered water was on offer for free from the side and, like every good cafe, there were a couple of copies of The News floating about to help pass the time.
I wasn’t rushed, it wasn’t noisy and everything about the place just gave off good vibes.
We’ve seen the owners getting involved in the community too – like when they opened their doors on Christmas Day to provide lunch for people who were lonely and when they were recently speaking out online about mental health.
This is a place that Southsea should be proud of. A well thought-out business that Dish Detective would definitely prefer to visit over a Costa any day of the week.
Tel: (023) 92 176 240
(ratings out of 5)