The interior is very nicely decorated with a nautical theme and lots of interesting photos and items dotted around to look at. Thick rope which hangs from the ceiling above the counter holds bare light bulbs, Tiffany wall lights, lots of Union Flags, an eclectic mix of chairs and tables with a couple of leather sofas to relax in. Music played, mostly 80’s music such as UB40. It all works really well and has a lovely ambience about the place.
The menu has a good selection for both breakfast and lunch, both at reasonable prices.
Geoff and I enjoyed a very nice fresh and moist slice of Victoria sponge the week before their official opening. They had a good selection of cakes on offer, a chocolate sponge, chocolate brownies, lemon sponge, red velvet to name but a few. We were each given a free Chocablock chocolate to sample (which I took home) of which there were many more to choose from in the display cabinet. Of course, I just had to buy 6 to take home with me too didn’t I.
I must admit that I’ve never been a fan of the Chocablock chocolates (I’ve visited their Copnor Road store several times). I find that they don’t melt in the mouth very well, the outer shell especially and the centres are ok but pretty average on taste and I’m sorry to say, not for me. Yes, I know that they supply Rolls Royce and a member of the Royal Family but taste chocolatiers such as Philippe Bouvier/Aneesh Popat (The Chocolatier) or Paul A young then you’ll notice a big difference – in price too unfortunately, but you get what you pay for. That doesn’t mean to say that I don’t occasionally enjoy a bar of Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut now and again.
We returned on the official 3-day opening weekend – they had live music in the evenings I think – and was disappointed that the Victoria Sponge cake we had this time wasn’t half as good as the one we’d had the previous week.
Not ones to give up quite so easily (especially on a local establishment) when Helen returned home for a few weeks from New Zealand the three of us decided to pay them another visit for lunch.
As we entered a chap came over and said he’d be with us shortly, give us time to look at the menu. After that a waitress came along and said that they normally like customers to order at the counter, which was no problem as we’d done that before anyway but I mentioned about what the chap had said and she said oh ok I’ll take your order but I told her it was fine, we’d go to the counter. So that was a little odd.
Geoff had a ham baguette – which was just that, a baguette with ham inside, no butter, no pickle – whilst Helen and I ordered the pulled-pork bun with BBQ sauce with a mixed salad on a brioche bun. Well, it all looked a little flat on the tin plate it was served upon. There wasn’t an awful lot of pulled-pork in the bun and the mixed salad was disappointing consisting of a few pieces of watery iceberg lettuce and red peppers. The crisps which came with our meals were similar to Doritos but were cheesy and as Geoff doesn’t like cheese he couldn’t eat them and I must say that I adore cheese but these were rather strong tasting. If you’re going to serve crisps then they should be plain.
The bun also contained some home-made (I guess) coleslaw which was ok but a bit bland and almost no dressing. (We visited Wonderland Cafe in Tangier Road, Copnor and it was a far better pulled-pork bun there, so too were their cakes and coffee, that review will be coming shortly).
Geoff looked at us both and said ‘what do you think?’ turning up his nose. ‘Not great is it? I won’t be coming here again’. I’m sorry to have to say that we agreed with him.
Geoff had a San Miguel beer whereas I had a flat white which wasn’t really a flat white whatsoever. It was also extremely hot and once I could put cup to mouth it was very watery and not a great tasting coffee – I’d had tea on my previous visits.
The cakes looked awesome in the cabinet (away from coughs and sneezes which spread diseases, several other cafes could take note on that). The sponges were really big and tall and I really wanted to try the rose & pistachio sponge cake but after our disappointing lunch and the cake we’d had on our previous visit we declined and set forth to Manna in Old Portsmouth where we knew we’d get an excellent cake, not just some of the time, but every time.
The Chocolate Lounge have a loyalty card so if anyone wants mine which has several stamps on it you’re welcome to it. Try The Chocolate Lounge for yourself though, this is only my opinion (oh, and my husband and daughters 😉 ) but we wish them well. We’re all different and don’t like the same things which is a good thing, it’s what makes the world go around. And as good old John Lydgate’s saying goes “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time” How true that is. 😀
Return? No, not for us
Living life loving cake and chocolate