It’s been a while since I (Helen) have made an appearance on this site and boy have I missed sharing my food finds with you. Farm life is beginning to quieten down and I can safely say, for once, I feel settled and in a good position to start contributing to this blog again.
First up, the Cosy Club. Heard of it? Owned by the Loungers (they have a new lounge, Panero opening in Southsea next month!), there’s 25 Cosy Clubs in cities across the UK, the nearest to Portsmouth being Guildford, which I visited with University friends last month. Cosy Club describe themselves as
“relaxed dining, drinking and lounging in a really special setting with a dash of nostalgia”
There wasn’t a massive song and dance made about Gunwharf Quay’s latest opening. Just a few invites to the launch emailed to Pompey businesses and a short article on a couple of local news sites. Of course Mum knew about it way before me, she always does!
My boyfriend, Carlos and I headed down to the official launch on a Monday night. The invitation promised an evening of “complementary tapas and drinks”. Wow, how generous we thought.
I met Carlos at six and we were seated at a nice table looking out to the Spinnaker Tower. The Cosy Club now occupies where the Water Margin used to be, which was there for as long as I can remember. We were rather blown away by the interior and how much it had changed from the previous Chinese buffet restaurant. The interior was fun, quirky and certainly unique. I really like it.
The walls were covered in old paintings and pattern designs. Interesting old “stuff”; cameras, type writers and the like, were dotted around. The staff, dressed in eccentric 1940’s outfits certainly all looked the part. The Cosy Club say “Cosy Clubs celebrate the joys of relaxed dining, drinking and lounging in a fabulous, welcoming setting: think aristocratic abundance with a dash of local village cricket pavilion pottiness.” I agree, 10/10 for ambience.
We ordered two glasses of bubbles to toast another addition to Portsmouth’s food scene. After that we ordered a cocktail each. When in Rome. Our waitress came over with four small plates of food. Then left. There was no explanation as to what each dish was so we didn’t have a clue what we were eating but we had already told the organisers that we weren’t allergic/intolerant to anything. Luckily we aren’t fussy. We guessed that we were given:
- Chicken Goujons (3)
- Breaded Halloumi sticks (3)
- Mushrooms on half a slice of toast
- Potato Bravas with pulled chicken
All were pretty average to be totally honest. Nothing was met with a “yum” but more of a “not bad”. After two drinks and no food since lunch time, we demolished the lot in seconds. More tapas would be arriving soon we were sure. We ordered a glass of red wine each and were given an entire bottle – nice! We waited a while and kept looking around to see if anyone else was being served some more dishes. Surely four tiny tapas to share wasn’t it for the evening?
We asked the waitress for the social media details so we could share the launch with our followers and mention them in our posts. “I don’t know” she replied. I searched on Instagram and found that the Cosy Club Portsmouth doesn’t have their own account. No social media and no event hashtag?! They had certainly missed a trick here.
Half seven came around and our table was needed for the next guests but we were kindly shown to the bar where a large number of people were enjoying complementary drinks. We were notified that only the beer, wine and bubbles were complementary. I apologised that I was unaware and had ordered a cocktail earlier that evening. They kindly let us off the bill.
I told the women on the table next to us who had successfully made their way through the entire cocktail menu without knowing that they were not complementary. Luckily they were let off as well. Free beer, wine and bubbles and just a couple of bites of finger food was a recipe for disaster.
We had a glass of bubbles at the bar and got “socialising” with Portsmouth foodies. Like Cosy Club describes, the bar was relaxed and cosy. It was trendy, quirky and overall a lovely place to hang out.
A waiter came round with mugs for everyone. The mug was a cheap white mug with the logo on and certainly wasn’t consistent with their brand. Inside was a stick of rock (meh) and some tokens for our next visit – finally some smart marketing!
By late evening the majority of people had ventured beyond the stage of tipsy and had either knocked their mug onto the floor (smash) or left the venue without it. We had no bag or pockets and Carlos unintentionally forgot ours on the way out.
So as a launch event goes, it wasn’t the best. We had a fantastic time but felt that the Cosy Club failed to showcase their offering and get their name out there, especially on social media. We weren’t even told what type of things we could find on the menu but looking online there is a good selection of burgers, sandwiches, mains and sharing plates. They do breakfast too.
My visit to Guildford’s Cosy Club was pleasant but my superfood salad and salted caramel cheesecake (Yin & Yang) was rather disappointing. My friends all ordered The Colonel, a chicken and mac cheese burger which looked amazing. We all agreed that this is definitely the “go-to” dish. I have since returned and had this dish and it is definitely the showstopper.
I like the concept of the Cosy Club. The interior is super cool, the atmosphere social and relaxed and they have heaps of offers and events. I like their free teas for OAPs on Wednesdays between 10-11am. This brings older people together which I feel very strongly about.
I would return to the Cosy Club and think its a nice addition to Gunwharf Quays. I’m yet to be wowed by the food and I think their marketing needs some improvement. The staff were a bit clueless on the launch night but they were new and a little nervous. They were all very nice so that didn’t bother me too much. A cool concept and a generous night out. Thank you Cosy Club for a fun night.
Value 8 – excluding this complementary event which was of course a 10
Return? Yes, with a group of friends
Living life, loving quirky spaces like The Cosy Club