Jessie's Latin Lounge, Albert Road, Southsea | Restaurant review
Nestled among the many different food joints along Southsea’s Albert Road sits Latin-inspired bar and lounge, Jessie’s.
Previously the cafe bar Aurora, Jessie’s offers South American-inspired breakfast, lunch, brunch, burgers and tapas meals, as well as a range of beers, wines and spirits.
It also offers traditional English breakfast and pancakes with healthier options such as fruit and granola, or bacon and maple syrup for the not-so-health-conscious.
Once inside, you feel as if you’ve stumbled upon a little cafe tucked down a Colombian back street.
It’s vibrant, colourful and welcoming, with beautiful flower displays and hand-painted artwork adorning the walls. A world away from rainy Southsea on the other side of the door.
It’s busy and a little crowded, but my family and I manage to get seated at a table – even if it does feel slightly as if we’re dining with the family next to us.
We have a cup of perfect Colombian coffee to keep us occupied while we wait for our food.
Interesting facts about Colombia are displayed on the walls and the riddles painted in the toilet are a talking point.
After a bit of a lengthy wait – which is forgiven as it’s a Saturday morning and they are pretty busy – my Colombian breakfast (£5.95) arrives.
The menu states ‘our food is made with love and love is patient. Please be prepared to wait for your meal’, which is a hopeful sign that everything is freshly-made on-site.
The meal is a round cornbread topped with cheese and Colombian-style scrambled eggs and it looks beautiful.
The eggs are cooked perfectly – not too snotty and not too dry, and they blend dreamily into the melted cheese that tops the cornbread.
I’m normally very much a full English kind of person, so to switch up a breakfast order and go for something new is always a bit of a gamble – but this one paid off.
The friendly waitress recommends the Jessie’s home-made hot sauce to top the meal so I accept – and I do not regret. Although for ‘hot’ sauce it is a little mild.
The meal is small but mighty and even someone with as big an appetite as the Dish Detective can’t manage to finish the lot.
I get serious food envy when one of my dining companions gobbles up the Marmite mushrooms on toast with poached eggs (£6.50).
Another goes for the pancake stack with bacon and maple syrup (£6.95), which leaves me feeling equally as envious, but I’m fully satisfied with my meal and ready to come back to make my way through the rest of the menu.
We leave happy and full, ready to attack our weekend.
I return the week after about the same time to try something a little more traditional and order the full English breakfast. I must say it is one of the best fry-ups I’ve had in a long time.
It’s cooked to perfection – not too greasy and a nice generous portion. The wait time was also more impressive this time around, at about 15 minutes. My companion opts for the Colombian breakfast and is offered the same mild ‘hot’ sauce and is, like me, a little disappointed, but still mops up the delicious meal.
Compared to some of the breakfast joints in Portsmouth, Jessie’s is good value and the standard isn’t compromised. You can tell it’s made from scratch and with TLC. A proper little Southsea gem.
On my next visit – which will hopefully be very soon – I’m going for those Marmite mushrooms.
Jessie’s is a ‘si’ from me!
Jessie's Latin Lounge
Albert Road, Southsea
Tel: (023) 9217 7400
Ratings (out of five):