UPDATE: see bottom of post
In all the years Rosie’s Vineyard has been in Portsmouth (since 1982 in fact), it’s rather odd that I’ve never ever been there. I don’t know the reason why. I suppose I must be mad.
Knowing that the fantastic FB Pocket Orchestra would be playing there today, we decided to book ourselves in for lunch along with Geoff’s parents.
As soon as I walked in I liked the place very much – a little like how I felt when I walked into The Wheelwright’s Arms in Havant last week.
With it’s wooden flooring and fairly high ceiling with skylights and hanging baskets of ivy and ferns – all plastic unfortunately – the tables don’t appear to be packed in, so there’s plenty of space. Several tall stools are at the bar, all in use today. Lots of pictures on the walls, one great one of Lilly Bollinger on a bike and quoting the following on champagne –
“I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it—unless I’m thirsty”.
There are three dining areas to Rosie’s, the main room with the bar which we were seated in, downstairs in the ‘wine cellar’ which is cosy with candles on the table – as do all the tables actually, but obviously the light from them show up more as it’s darker down there – and upstairs (photo number 3), which I didn’t get a chance to look at.
When we went to sit down both myself and my mother-in-law noticed how small the tables and chairs seemed, but once sitting down they didn’t seem quite so small, they just appeared to be, but we both commented on this. Geoff is taller and said he noticed it but it wasn’t annoying nor uncomfortable and we were there for almost 3 hours. The backs of some of the chairs had the little slot for hymn books to go in so perhaps they came from a church originally. The tables had cast iron decorative legs which were very nice.
The menu on offer was a Christmas one and we had crackers upon the table. There was plenty to chose from and not all too Christmassy.
For the starter I went for one of the specials which was crab & fennel salad with ginger, chilli & coriander. I don’t normally chose crab nor salads but I thought it sounded rather nice. And it was. Very fresh mixed salad leaves and a delicious pesto type sauce. I couldn’t taste the chilli nor the ginger but this didn’t make the dish any less tasty whatsoever, quite the opposite in fact.
Geoff had the celeriac & hazelnut soup which he said was very nice.
Geoff’s dad mistook brioche for brie whilst reading the menu I think as he was expecting cheese instead of this, which is creamy mushrooms & Madeira sauce with toasted brioche. I adore mushrooms so I would have enjoyed this too. It looks delicious.
For my main I went for the Christmas ‘En croute’ which was Turkey Wellington. Served inside a light and airy flaky pastry, the turkey breast within was stuffed with cranberries, chestnuts and mushrooms. A very tasty dish indeed.
My mother-in-law had the same and she also enjoyed it immensely. Served with thinly sliced sauté potatoes, some wonderfully crispy, roasted parsnip and tiny baby carrots and mange tout (both were cooked to my liking which is NOT al dente). And the jus was incredibly rich and superb and just the right amount of it too.
Geoff had the apple & cider sausages served upon a bed of coarse mustard mash, baby carrots and a cranberry & port compote.
For dessert I had the Belgian chocolate mascarpone cheesecake with Bailey’s cream. Although this was nice it lacked something. There wasn’t enough of the Baileys sauce for me, only a drizzle. The cheesecake was rich and smooth, a bit dense perhaps and the base was a little dry and not terribly sweet. It was okay, but I wasn’t making any ‘Mmmm’ noises.
Geoff enjoyed his Christmas pudding with mince pie ice-cream and brandy syrup – very festive – and his mother was also pleased with her crème brûlée which was creamy smooth with a crisp hard top and served with a nice shortbread biscuit.
Of course an espresso finished off my meal which was very nice. Even though the only spoon I was given was a long latte one, haha 😉
The staff were very friendly and attentitive, and of course the FB Pocket Orchestra were fab as usual, playing the song I always ask them to, ‘diggin my potatoes’. We first came across them at Restaurant 69 in Palmerston Road, Southsea and have seen them several times now, we’ve become a ‘groupy’ – or stalkers maybe 😉 Everyone we take along with us, young and old seem to love them. There will be a few people in our family who will be receiving their CD for Christmas, ssshhh.
Rosie’s Vineyard regularly have jazz bands playing so take a look at their website for dates and times and who’s playing. The restaurant can cater for large numbers too, they have a large conservatory and a secret garden, both which I didn’t get to see. I did however, see the very nice Victorian ‘Waterfall’ toilet in the ladies loo.
We’d definitely return to Rosie’s, no hesitation.
Service 7/10 (lose a point for the flat second pint of beer for both Geoff and his father, but they quickly changed the barrel, apologised and poured fresh pints without a quibble).
Value 7/10 fairly expensive, but worth it I think, especially with the music
Living life, loving cake
Since this review we’ve revisited Rosie’s on numerous occasions, mainly when the FB Pocket Orchestra jazz band are playing there.
Today I chose scallops to start, the vegetarian main which was thyme roasted butternut squash & beetroot wellington, asparagus, walnut & kale pesto whilst Geoff went for roast pork. For dessert, strawberry liqueur over blackcurrant sorbet, all washed down with a bottle of vino of course.
The food and service was excellent.