Three Cheers for the café that’s a home from home

Go to Jamocha for home-cooked food with a light touch.
Go to Jamocha for home-cooked food with a light touch.
Porta 6 2015, Lisboa

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A proper coffee machine hisses in the homely kitchen space next to where cakes and breakfasts are prepared.

Jamocha, 99 Elm Grove, Southsea.

Jamocha, 99 Elm Grove, Southsea.

The counter shows off some of the wares: a vanilla Victoria sponge, sliced bread and butter pudding, cookies and a variety of other cake slices.

Papers are sat on the tables ready to read and you can surf the internet to the tune of some charming background music.

The small space, offset by colourful leaf motif wallpaper and yellow paint, houses two squidgy brown sofas, five tables and seating for a maximum of 18.

It’s a home-from-home place with little to fuss about, a simple 7.30am to 4pm drop-in café where the owner knows most of her customers. It is Portsmouth’s answer to the television show Cheers.

If you come in the morning for a meal to start the day, there’s a choice of three cooked breakfasts, which range in price from £3.95 to £5.50.

Baps and muffins with any variety of breakfast item are also on the cards, with prices ranging from £3.20 for one filling to £4 for four.

The lunch menu includes jacket potatoes, omelettes, homemade burgers and salads.

Sandwiches, rolls and baguettes with a mass of fillings are also on offer.

Gluten-free options are available too.

There is also homemade soup, on this occasion leek and potato: a winter staple on a boiling hot day.

A coronation chicken sandwich was made to order from the hub of operations.

It was a well-filled, tasty mix of chicken, mayonnaise and spicing.

A more pronounced curry taste would have been preferable, but it was certainly one of the better sandwiches I’ve had this year, knocking spots off the usual shop-bought ones. Served with a crisp, perky salad and packet of potato wedges, the pretty plateful was a bargain at £2.60.

I order a ristretto coffee from the list of usual suspects: latte, cappuccino, macchiato, mochaccino.

‘That’s only the second one I’ve ever been asked for since I opened a year ago,’ the owner commented as she brought the tiny, strong coffee to my table.

Known as a ‘corto’ in Italy, it was good with a nice kick. The ristretto coffee is half a single shot of espresso and is more syrupy than usual.

The drinks menu also includes chilled coffee and cold lemonade – thirst-quenchers perfect for the current heatwave.

Milkshakes, soya milk drinks and teas are also available.

A piece of Victoria sponge showed off the owner’s baking prowess, her touch a light one.

And so is her subtle marketing – customers can text in their requests for collection, and deliveries are available to those who live nearby.

Neighbourhood cafes like Jamocha deserve our support and plaudits for what they offer to the community, but only if they serve quality food over the bog-standard supermarket variety and do it with friendliness.

The owner of Jamocha does this with ease and charm.

My bill came to £5.60.



99 Elm Grove,



(023) 9232 6083.

Open: 7.30am to 4 pm Mon-Fri.

Disabled access: Tiny space for wheelchair users but it can be done.

How to get there: Elm Grove is between Museum Street and Albert Road. Jamocha is on the left going east. On-street parking.

FOOD 4/5