Port Solent welcomed another top end eatery in March when Richoux opened its doors.
The chain restaurant has already proved popular in the capital and has even branched out abroad.
After spotting many favourable reviews online since its Portsmouth opening, we decided to go along and see what all the fuss is about.
As its name suggests, the restaurant has its origins in France. But unlike its contemporaries such as Cafe Rouge, diners will find a range of international cuisine to pick from.
The place undoubtedly has its own continental flavour, mainly from the endless rows of wine bottles behind the bar.
But visitors glancing at the menu will also find dishes from closer to home - fish and chips and shepherd’s pie are among the pub grub-style meals served.
Being in the centre of Port Solent also means the restaurant boasts spectacular views over the marina.
After arriving, we were quickly shown to a booth on the other side of the restaurant to the bar, where we could see staff working away preparing the evening’s food in the kitchen.
For starters I tucked into a tasty Camembert, while my partner went for the mushrooms on toast.
The traditional French cheese did not disappoint, served with tasty onions and six warm, crunchy pieces of baguette.
The creamy mushrooms, nicely-seasoned, were also dished out on crisp bread.
When she was interviewed by The News following the restaurant opening, general manager Claudio Silva said the menu had been designed to ‘please different tastes’.
The list of mains may not be the longest you’ll see at continental restaurants, but there is more than enough of a range of choice to satisfy any hungry diner.
Meat-eaters can feast on the likes of hamburgers, beef stroganoff and chicken curry.
There’s also plenty to appeal to vegetarian customers, with risotto and ravioli among the dishes available.
I eventually settled on the stroganoff, with the beef in sauce served in a separate pot to the plate of rice.
The highlight was undoubtedly the sauce, filled with onions, peppers and baby gerkins, which complemented the beef well.
My partner went for the fish pie, which according to management had proved to be one of the restaurant’s biggest crowd-pleasers so far.
The pie was tasty with a perfect balance between potato and sauce.
Combined with the crispy potato crust, it gave the dish a nice, subtle flavour.
We decided our stomachs were not quite up to the challenge of a dessert, though our waitress did her best to (and nearly successfully) tempt us with a tray of delicious treats from the patisserie.
Our service was good throughout with our courses arriving in a timely manner.
The price of our meal, with starters costing roughly £5.50 and mains £12, also proved strong value for money.
Speaking in March, Lisa Fowler from the Port Solent management centre said: ‘Richoux is an excellent addition to Port Solent and has been incredibly well-received by our visitors even before it opened.’
As a French-themed restaurant spanning a range of international dishes, Richoux has clearly already become a favourite for diners in Portsmouth.
The branch has also made it in into the top 50 eateries in the city on TripAdvisor.
While it may not fit in with diners looking for a more niche experience, there is little question that Richoux is definitely a restaurant with something for everyone.
(023) 9237 0992
(ratings out of 5)