Maya, Southsea | Restaurant review

’TWAS the night of May 17 and all across the land, people were sitting inside restaurants for meals they had long planned.

Maya at Jubilee Terrace, Southsea.
Maya at Jubilee Terrace, Southsea.

And you best believe your Dish Detective was one of them.

For this, the first foray into the wonderful world of dining out, only something really special would do.

Luckily a venue had been booked that more than fitted the bill.

The aubergine tacos, mash and salad from Maya.

An eatery that specialises in Latin American food, there is certainly something for everyone to try at Maya, in Southsea, with its extensive range of tapas dishes.

On arrival your Dish Detective and their companion are greeted by a friendly mask-clad member of staff at the door who reminds us to log in to the NHS test and trace app before showing us to our table downstairs.

There are two levels to the restaurant – the ground floor and the basement. Both are inviting but the basement definitely benefits from an intimate, cosy atmosphere.

Our table is separated from those on either side by a clear screen that has obviously been put in place since the pandemic.

The desserts at Maya.

Before even looking at the food menu we are tempted by the delicious sounding cocktails on the drinks menu and order the passion victim - which mixes vanilla vodka, Passoa, passionfruit puree, pineapple, cranberry and prosecco – and the raspberry sting, made up of sloe gin, raspberry, chilli, lemon juice, agave, apple juice and plum bitters.

Both are priced at £9 and are equally delicious - although the chilli in the raspberry sting gives it the edge over the other in my opinion.

The food menu is vast and offers a mix of vegetarian, meat and fish tapas.

We are advised to order around three dishes each, so we end up getting six to share.

First to arrive are the garlic quesadillas and the jalapeno fritters (both £4.50). These are the perfect starter before the other dishes come out.

The fritters are mildly spicy and deep fried. They come with a tomato chutney that perfectly complements them. I am a little disappointed with the quesadillas as I had hoped they would be more garlicky – but they are still tasty.

Our other four dishes are then brought out.

The mexicali salad (£6.50) which is a mix of corn, black beans, quinoa, grapefruit and rocket, with a creamy mango habanero dressing, is a lovely light dish to follow the starters and works well as an accompaniment to the other food.

Instead of opting for fries, which is often a default when eating out, we choose the Mayan mash (£6). This is a sweet potato mash with black beans, chipotle and red peppers, topped with lime crema and coriander. It is divine – there’s no other way to explain it.

In the mix with these two dishes is a helping of the aubergine al-horno (£7). It comes served as half an aubergine topped with harissa, mozzarella, bravas and kale. This is definitely something your Dish Detective would not know how to make at home - but they would sure like the recipe.

If this isn’t already enough food, we have also ordered the avocado tacos (£6.50). For the price you get two and they contain something I had not thought possible – coated and fried avocado, which is truly delicious.

At this point Dish Detective and their companion have already consumed too much food.

However, knowing how good it has been so far they feel compelled to order dessert – two of them in fact.

Both are the perfect way to wrap up an incredible meal.

Firstly the miso caramel and chocolate (£6) – chocolate ganache with miso salted caramel and Oreo biscuit served with creme fraiche and black sesame brittle. The chocolate is extremely rich and the creme fraiche works to balance it out.

And then the star of the show – the lemon posset (£6). The equally creamy and light citrus posset is topped with limoncello pistachio crumb and raspberries. Absolutely superb.

After months without being able to sit inside a restaurant for dinner, Dish Detective has certainly made up for lost time with this decadent and delicious feast at Maya.

Not only this but they have found another favourite venue to add to a rapidly growing list.

Tel: (023) 9229 2646

Food: 5/5

Value: 4/5

Ambience: 5/5

Child-friendly: 2/5