Carlos and I were in Southampton to go bouldering at Boulder Shack Climbing Gym. After our climb, we thought about where to go for lunch. We don’t often eat in Southampton because there aren’t many decent independents to choose from, not as many as Portsmouth anyway (though we are a little bias!). I looked to Instagram for inspiration. We’ve been following Smugglers Bar and Kitchen on Instagram for some time. I can’t think where we first heard of them, but their food photos are Insta-worthy. It was nearby and seemed like the obvious choice.
We paid for parking outside as Southampton is a bit of a nightmare for parking and Carlos didn’t want to dillydally around trying to find somewhere for free. The exterior looked smart and modern and the place was larger than I expected. The interior, just as nice, although there was a strong smell of paint which we noticed upon walking through the door. We were the only ones in there which meant we weren’t able to get a real feel for the atmosphere, but the music was good and staff friendly. It was a little cold in there and I had to keep my jacket on. This time of year, I often find that staff don’t turn the heating on if there are no customers. It makes sense, but it’s a shame for those customers that do come in.
The menu was fantastic, something for everyone. I wanted it all! Pulled pork burger, halloumi and mushroom burger, salad, etc. They had a nice lunch menu which was a little cheaper in price. Carlos chose a pulled pork wrap which was £7.50. He paid extra for chips. I chose the superfood salad which was £11.50, the most expensive thing from the lunch menu. A little pricey I thought, but it did have a lot of ingredients.
Our food came and the presentation was good. How can you make a wrap look fancy? You can’t. My superfood salad was colourful and wholesome. The quality of the food was great. Carlos’s pulled pork was delicious and they didn’t skimp on the filling at all. It was a generous size. The chips according to Carlos were “notable” (pronouced: no-ta-blee), which is a term in Spainish when you score between a 7 and a 8. The notable chips were crispy, thin and a little skin still left on.
My superfood salad was delicious. My bowl was filled with roasted sweet potato and butternut squash, broccoli, pomegranate, mixed leaves, and avocado. However, it didn’t include the puy lentils which the menu said. For me, this didn’t matter because I’m not overly keen on lentils and the salad was perfect without it. I just thought £11.50 was a fair bit to pay when the bulk of the salad was missing.
We were both left full and satisfied after our lunch. The staff were preparing a large table for an engagement party that evening and the place was due to fill up. I’d like to return one evening when the Smugglers is a little busier. The food was great and the place nice too, they have a secluded beer garden out back, perfect for summer.
Overall we enjoyed our lunch at the Smugglers Southampton, and we certainly would return if in the area again. I have my eye on that mushroom and halloumi burger!
Ambience 6 – because no one else was in there and it was a little cold!
Living life, loving Smugglers.