Artisan Café has changed ownership and is now called Artie’s Kitchen. We’ve written a new review which you can read on the link above /\
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited by The Artisan Café in Southgate, Chichester (at the very end of South Street) to their ‘opening’ party. The café wasn’t actually ready to be open for another 10 days so it wasn’t quite finished. It gave me the chance to meet some people from local businesses and chat with the excited owner about what type of decor, food, drink etc., the café would have. I also met the two young baristas who seemed equally enthusiastic. They have a super coffee machine which takes centre stage on the counter. They make all the usual coffees, ie., lattes, flat whites etc., using their regular beans and they also have a ‘guest’ bean, changed every so often.
I have a friend who lives in Chichester and I told her about the Artisan Café, as I wasn’t able to visit straight away once it had been opened. She quickly got back to me to tell me what she had enjoyed to eat there. Luckily I was available to visit only two days after she had been to see for myself.
My husband Geoff and I normally park in the Avenue de Chartres car park (next to Waitrose) not far from South Street, so we have to pass Artisan Café to and from the shopping area. It’s in a great location for us, plus those coming from the railway station. Inside is very nicely decorated with distressed brickwork and wooden beams. The windows are old-fashioned sash ones. They still have the doors on the second and third floor which back in the ‘olden days’ they used to load through – every time I see the loading beam above places like this it reminds me of the film ‘Oliver Twist’ with Bill Sykes swinging from it. The lights are very nice copper domes, with a really great feature above in the middle of the open ceiling – as shown in the photo. I say ‘open’ because although there is a second floor, it’s not a complete floor and so makes the room we were on much lighter. (I hope that makes sense). The second floor is for staff only.
It was an extremely hot day and we sat upstairs and of course, heat rises. There was a fan blowing and the windows were open but Geoffrey still got rather hot for some reason. I was fine however, so that was the important thing 😉 Geoff wanted a cold drink and would have liked a coke but unfortunately they don’t appear to serve it. Other cold drinks however were on the menu, fresh orange juice and a list of Mr.Fitzpatrick’s cordials and mocktails. I’m not normally a great lover of cordials or squashes but thought I should be adventurous. They didn’t have any of the rhubarb & rosehip which I ordered, but the young waitress quickly returned to tell me this and offer instead, one of her favourites which was sour cherry, red grape and hibiscus. Geoff settled for a pot of tea.
The cordial was a really lovely drink! It came in a carafe with a glass containing plenty of ice. It reminded me of the sour cherry boiled sweets I ate when I was a kid or even the yummy sore throat sweeties from the Dr which I loved and pretended I had a sore throat just so I could have some! Wasn’t that awful of me? 😮
I’ve come across Mr. Fitpatrick’s drinks before, having had his sarsparilla cordial at Pie & Vinyl in Southsea – unfortunately that particular flavour I didn’t much care for. The food menu isn’t very large, which sometimes is a good thing as it makes it easy for the establishment, plus usually means less wastage. It also means you’re not sitting there trying to decide between umpteen different dishes. One of my favourite local haunts is Southsea Coffee Co and they also have a small menu like this, changing some items regularly but also keeping some favourites. I noticed at Artisan Café they too had similar lighter bites to eat. In fact, it reminded me a little of Southsea Coffee Co – which is a good thing of course 😉
Luckily they still had the Serano Tartine on the menu which my friend had enjoyed. Serano is dry-cured Spanish ham (quite possibly from Trevelez which is the highest village in mainland Spain, not far from where we stayed in the Sierra Nevada back in May. There were hams hanging everywhere you looked up there). This was served upon toasted sourdough with a thick mixture of humus/mashed peas, sliced radishes and a few whole peas too. On the side was a small fresh, mixed leaf salad with tiny cherry tomatoes. The humus/pea mixture had a slight minty taste to it, but not overpoweringly so. In fact it was really lovely and I would definitely order it again if it was on the menu.
Geoff enjoyed his meal too which was chorizo ragout topped with a poached egg. It “was very tasty indeed” he said.
There were a few cakes available downstairs which I briefly saw on our way upstairs. I remember seeing individual cakes such as a large ‘Jaffa’ type cake, another round sponge with blueberries I think and a rather nice looking lemon meringue tart. We each chose the tart. No ice-cream or cream served with this though, which would have been nice. The meringue was lovely. Soft, gooey and sweet. The pastry base wasn’t too thick either, it was nice and thin and quite crisp. The lemon was very ‘lemony’, quite tangy in fact. As lemon meringue tarts go this was one of the nicest I’ve had in a while.
We were quite full afterwards, which was a shame as I really wanted a coffee. I had enjoyed a really nice cappuccino at the opening so I was looking forward to having another. After a little shopping in Chichester precinct we headed back to our car and decided to pop in for that coffee before heading home. We were quite disappointed to find that at 4.35 they had already closed.
And I’m still dreaming of that sour cherry cordial which I wish I could buy in the supermarket to have at home. I shall just have to revisit Artisan Cafe again soon won’t I?
Living life, loving cake