It’s funny how two couples can go the the same restaurant on the same day, within hours of each other and have totally different opinions/experiences. Or is it? Both couples are of different generations, they ate at different times, one being lunch, the other dinner. Or perhaps the ones who really loved it at lunch time ‘bigged’ it up too much only for it not to live up to the others expectations.
This happened recently on our visit to newly opened restaurant in Osborne Road, Southsea, No. Forty-6 (where 6oz Burgers once was), sandwiched between Algarve’s Grill and our favourite Indian restaurant, the Spice Merchants. My husband, Geoff and I (the older couple) decided to check it out one Friday lunch time about a week after they’d opened back in November. We were the only ones in there but that was ok, we were cosy warm (for most of the time at least) and chatted to the friendly waiter and Dee, the young lady who co-owns the restaurant along with her boyfriend (and chef), Mike.
Inside is very nicely decorated. On one wall there was a large area of plastic foliage – something I’m not a fan of. It looks ok from a distance but once up close it just looks cheap. I hate plastic plants anyway. Helen liked it, of course – see her view on the restaurant below mine. I liked the chairs, they were unusual, open-weaved wicker with an iron base, topped with a comfy cushion. Both rustic brickwork and cream plaster are on the walls and in the bar area at the front of the restaurant is wood panelling where there are several high tables and stools. The lighting was good which made the place look and feel very warm and cosy. Music played in the background and although I don’t recall what type of music it was, I remember we both commented on it and really liked it.
The wine glasses were nice and large, almost square. Water containing fresh mint came in a corked glass bottle. Obviously a lot of love and thought went into the lighting, decor, cutlery etc., even the coffee cups were different than we’ve seen elsewhere.
There were two menus, one for small plates with prices starting from as little as £4.50 up to £9 and the main menu £14-£18, so average prices really. The restaurant use fresh, local ingredients from local suppliers and is a ‘sous vide’ kitchen – you can read what that is on their website in the second paragraph of this post.
Geoff and I decided to have the small plates option which is a great idea when trying somewhere new. We shared two dishes and had two of our own. We asked if it was possible to have the dishes spread out arriving at the table, not all at once. When that happens I find that we eat rather too quickly, afraid that the other dishes will get cold and sometimes they don’t arrive in the order one would prefer. The waiter said it was our food so we could have it when and how we wanted. How nice.
First up to share was the pork belly and watermelon, hoisin. This was fantastic, we really enjoyed it. The pork was nice and sticky. The watermelon was served two ways, wafer thin slices dehydrated and small warm cubes, almost caramelised.
The food is served on unglazed plates which are very popular at the moment but us oldies don’t particularly like them, although I must admit that food always seems to look nicely presented on them wherever we go – and No. Forty-6’s definitely did – but that scraping feel/sound! Aaagh. Like chalk on a blackboard.
Second dish was seared scallops, onion bhaji. Again, a very nice flavoursome dish. The scallops were beautifully cooked but we still preferred the pork belly.
Next up were the dishes we weren’t sharing. Geoff’s sticky chicken wings, yuzu yoghurt (they’re not actually called ‘Geoff’s sticky chicken wings’, I meant they belonged to him). He said that the best was brought out by the yoghurt and the key was in the combo. I think he meant that they complimented one another. And of course, they lived up to their name, sticky.
I went for the stuffed aubergine, daal lentil & papadum. This was delicious, again the aubergine was cooked really well and the dish was full of flavour.
I would have been happy with any of the desserts on offer as they all sounded really nice, there was nothing I didn’t like, which of course, made it difficult to choose. We shared both the sticky toffee pudding, vanilla & cinnamon poached pair and the walnut espresso torte, burnt orange caramel.
The STP could have been a little stickier, perhaps more sauce. The poached pears were a very nice addition and the ice-cream was good to.
The torte was tasty but it really needed ice cream or cream served with it, as it was a bit ‘gloopy’ on it’s own, it kind of stuck to the roof of our mouths.
Ok, one negative point. There was a lot of coming and going from all the staff including the chefs, to the door just behind our table to the basement. It was left undone – so they didn’t get locked in there obviously as it had a code to key in everytime someone went in there – but it did mean that it got quite chilly very quickly plus it was rather annoying. Perhaps they could try and minimise the amount of times they visit the basement or at least put some kind of screen up which may help with the draughts? That is really our only complaint, you can’t count my moans about the plates and foliage, they’re only personal preferences, we’re all different. We will definitely return. Whilst speaking to Dee she mentioned about them having a wine tasting/pairing menu evening. Unfortunately it’s in January and I’ve taken on the challenge of Veganuary so another time maybe. They have a special Valentine’s menu between 14th-16th February, 2 course for £35, 2 for £45 with vegan options available so who knows, I may get taken to that.
Helen’s take on Forty-6
Me and my boyfriend Carlos visited Forty 6 not long after Mum and Dad had, just a few hours in fact. We arrived around 6:30pm to find us the only ones in there. The staff were very attentive and the interior was modern and dimly lit. I particularly liked the foliage on the walls. There was a great choice of food and cocktails on the menu. In the end we both went for a glass of red wine and a selection of small plates which we shared as tapas.
We couldn’t help but notice a rather musky damp smell which soon disappeared as the restaurant filled up around 7:30pm. Maybe they had left the basement door open we thought. There was also a leak next to our table with a pot collecting the water. The waitress said the leak was from the washing machine of the tenant above – things like that can’t really be helped. Each dish was beautifully presented, and the pork belly a firm favourite. We ordered bread and olives and were surprised to receive half a plain white baguette, like the ones you get in the Co-op – it certainly wasn’t sourdough like it said on the menu. We expected something a little fancier at over £4 a pot. The waitress accidentally took our half-eaten bread and olives away and Carlos followed her into the kitchen to get it back. She kindly gave us a whole new portion to apologies for taking it away whilst we were still eating.
A couple of dishes we were a little unsure about; the tuna carpaccio which had a really spicy condiment and cured cod which was mediocre. The scallops and chicken wings were great though. Overall we enjoyed our food so we shared sticky toffee pudding for dessert which was fab! I’d definitely go back to Forty 6, I had a lovely evening with tasty food despite a few issues which I’m sure were just teething problems on their opening week.
Living life, loving Forty-6
A & H x
P.S – I’ve found lots of different ways online to name this restaurant ie., Forty6, Forty-6, Restaurant Forty-6 and so on. Not quite sure of the right one, so apologies if I’ve named it incorrectly.