Portsmouth cafe aims to be king of the castle

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A FAMILY-RUN business has given the cafe at Southsea Castle a revamp.

Previously the Yellow Kite Café, it has now been transformed into The Courtyard restaurant which will be open all year.

It is run by Crunchtime Catering managing director Lucy Gardiner, who said: ‘I was approached by my friend James Ralls about two months to come in and take over the cafe.

‘Originally it was seasonal but it was too good an opportunity to miss out on for it to be open all year round.’

After seeing the venue and realising that there is a good amount of trade available it was the perfect improvement place.

She said: ‘It was already set up as a cafe but we wanted to give it more of a luxurious restaurant feel.

‘To do this we stripped back the windows, changed the seating and introduced a new bar area.’

With the castle a popular destination in the summer Lucy decided to make the most of visitors by updating the outside area.

‘Previously there were just benches outside but to make it more welcoming we have had added more tables and chairs and outside heaters to allow more people to sit in the courtyard,’ she said.

The restaurant will hold monthly wine and cheese nights, whisky tasting evenings, theatre and dinner nights.

Lucy’s aim is to support local business and she has decided to use local suppliers for her special nights and regular 

‘It is only right to use local suppliers as much as we can,’ she added.

‘We have got lots of people around us who supply fantastic produce – meat, fruit and vegetables.

‘We hope to make our own cakes as much as we can but if we do need to get some in then they will be sourced locally.’

Before her new venture Lucy built up her own outside catering company which supplies food for backstage staff at events.

Recently Lucy and her team have supplied food services for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and The Victorious Festival.

She said: ‘I have always wanted to own my own restaurant and Crunchtime Catering was set up to allow me to do that.

‘My family are excited by the new restaurant as they go out to eat regularly in the city.’

The Courtyard restaurant will open its doors to the public tomorrow.