Carol Godsmark reviews: Katies, Gosport

Katies, Gosport.
Katies, Gosport.
Many fans dressed in costume

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Katies opened a year ago, the hard-to-find place a five-minute walk from the ferry, the address on publicity incorrect at the time of writing which didn’t help.

It’s in The Precinct, not on South Street proper. I gave up the first time, another café visited, and I wished I hadn’t. Gosport isn’t exactly a destination for quality, simple food. Too many outlets offering poor choices and a smoky experience – fried food is king here.

Katies, however, has a different, more attractive take on hospitality, the music-cum-coffee shop sporting a far better, more modern menu alongside the usual suspects, jacket potatoes, sandwiches, paninis ...

But first the feel of the place. Orange and black dominate the generous space with these colours on stylish lounging sofas, walls, high chair seating, tables and on the place mats, fashioned to emulate vinyl records.

Katie’s musical interest focuses mainly on the ’50s and ’60s, Johnny Cash playing during my visit. She’s not averse to the ’80s, Stone Roses and Nirvana featuring too. The café sells T-shirts, mugs, vinyl record clocks and other vintage music-inspired items. Or you could browse the old leather suitcases for vinyl records. There’s a record player too, Katie urging you to bring your own to play. That’s what I call inspired.

On a second floor, walls and windows are coated with posters. A retro collage of best of past musicians covers one wall.

The rest of the menu is far from the Gosport norm: fajita salad with hummus and tzatziki; chicken or seafood salad; spicy coated prawns; spiced calamari. These join the more prosaic hand-carved gammon and fish and chips. But the breakfast is the thing here, 23 choices all rejoicing in musicians’ names. Morrissey’s is vegetarian, the Beatles linked with Fuller English. Proclaimers have the groaning Scottish one complete with haggis, and Laura Marling is harnessed with fresh fruit and yoghurt. Prices? £3-£6.50 or £10 for five tapas.

Service is pleasing. Order at the bar for table service. The prawns were excellent, as were chicken wings, the calamari less so, quality lacking here. But they were smartly served in square, white dishes, other platefuls on either black or orange ones.

A Mumford and Sons – poached eggs with cheese and proper mushrooms – was being demolished nearby, another table ordering waffles and ice cream and cupcakes. Coffee was good, a luscious latte with home-made biscuit another plus.

Katies has upped the hospitality game in Gosport, creating a fun atmosphere with higher quality, simple, well-cooked food. Their publicity states ‘finally somewhere different for Gosport’. And not before time. A thumbs up for independent cafés, well, this one. My bill was £10.90.

ESSENTIALS

Katies, 3 – 4 The Precinct, South Street, Gosport, PO12 1HA (023) 9307 3785 Open 8.30am–3pm but check times. They’re inconsistent.

Food: ****

Service: ****

Atmosphere: ****

Disabled access: toilets upstairs, otherwise plenty of wheelchair space.

How to get there: take the A27, follow signs to Gosport town centre, continue along South Street past the ferry terminal and turn right into South Cross Street for parking. The café in the nearby precinct. Don’t give up!