With an unassuming name like Two Doors Down passers-by could expect the Southsea restaurant to offer familiar, middle-of-the-road dishes.
This could not be further from the truth. The modest venue, with its minimalist wood-chip tables and metal chairs, in fact offers food from around the world as part of a delicious, global tapas menu.
The name, Two Doors Down, is actually a nod to its locale, literally two doors down from its sister restaurant 6oz Burgers. But while both the Osborne Road businesses have proved popular, the type of food available is quite different.
When my friend and I arrive at Two Doors Down on a Thursday evening we are the only customers.
We are greeted warmly by a waitress who seats us by a window and within half an hour the place is busy.
As a vegetarian I am usually limited to what I can eat out; I would expect to find about three different options on the menu. But at Two Doors Down I am spoilt for choice with at least half the menu vegetarian or vegan-friendly.
This means I spend a lot longer deliberating than usual. Although my friend is not vegetarian, they have an equally difficult time deciding. There’s an abundance of meat dishes from around the world.
We imagine the portions will be small, it’s tapas after all, so we order several different things.
The food arrives promptly and the dishes are much more generous than we’d anticipated.
Our first plate is cauliflower wings in honey chipotle sauce (£5). Before I explain further, yes this is a legitimate vegan version of chicken wings.
It may sound bizarre but all I can tell you is they are divine. I can’t imagine they are very healthy because they are fried and loaded with that delicious chipotle sauce, but that doesn’t stop us demolishing the lot.
My friend admits he doesn’t usually like cauliflower but the wings are his favourite dish.
We also quickly eat the halloumi chips (£6) between us. Halloumi is something vegetarians can easily get tired of as often it can be the only option on a restaurant menu.
But these are different to anything I’ve had before. Cut thinly, they are lightly fried and complemented by sour cream, sweet chili sauce, spring onion and pomegranate seeds.
My friend orders a taste of the USA in the chicken and waffles, which at £7 is one of the more expensive items on the menu.
It’s tasty and the sweet and savoury flavours work together, although he admits the chicken, which was coated in breadcrumbs, was a little dry.
I do not have that problem with the sticky tofu bao buns (£6), influenced by Asian cuisine.
The tofu is cooked to perfection, it seems to melt in my mouth and the accompanying chili sauce really packs a punch. I have never tried bao before but they are extremely light and fluffy.
We also share a naan bread pizza – topped with wild mushroom (£6). This is very tasty, although the naan base doesn’t taste any different from traditional pizza dough. And our waitress tells us it will be removed from the menu entirely to make room for other tapas dishes.
But I would not go to a place like Two Doors Down in search of pizza or any other type of food that you can so readily find at other venues.
It has such an exciting menu to explore that I would definitely recommend stepping outside your comfort zone and trying something new.
You never know what new flavours you might discover that you like.
Two Doors Down, Osborne Road, Southsea
(023) 9243 0813
Ratings (Out of five)