We were invited to the soft launch of Restaurant 1865 at the Queen’s Hotel in Southsea and what fun we had. Firstly, this was our first meal out sitting inside this year and our first event, plus we were super excited to see the newly revamped Queen’s Hotel.
The Queen’s Hotel has a long history, since 1865 you may have guessed. This was the year it opened as a hotel, after being a family home named Southsea House for four years. In 1901 a fire raged through the building and it was rebuilt in 1903 – something I never knew until now. In 2017 the hotel was taken over by new management who have spent the last few years renovating it, to return it to its former glory.
Upon entering the hotel I was wowed by the spacious lobby which, with its painted ceiling and grand furniture, is really quite impressive. I particularly liked the huge vase of fresh Lillies which took centre stage and smelt divine.
The Queen’s Hotel has a number of places to eat and drink; the Dukes Bar, Libby’s Room, and their garden which hosts some fantastic live music parties in summer. 1865 is the hotel’s main restaurant and is both cosy and elegant inside. Think high ceilings, rattan chairs and chandeliers. We were seated at a table with Lauren and Shafy who we briefly met at another food event two years ago.
On arrival, we received a glass of rosé which was nicely garnished with a strawberry. The wine glass caught my eye as it was a different shape from your standard glass and I really liked it. On our table was a menu for the evening showcasing four dishes and four matching wines, plus a 10% lifetime discount card for the restaurant – how sweet.
First up was the starter, brioche and Tunworth cheese with figs, candied walnuts and balsamic shallot jam. Oh my, this was my favourite dish of the evening, the flavours matched perfectly and the presentation was on point. I couldn’t fault it. This was served with a dry-ish Italian white wine called Castellari Bergaglio Gavi Salluvii.
The tandoori monkfish with a monkfish pakora, curried cauliflower and coconut sauce was a dish I was really looking forward to and it certainly didn’t lack flavour. The white wine that accompanied this dish was one of my favourites of the evening and was called La Jade Viognier. Our main was the pork belly and scallops with black pudding, potato terrine, peas, honey and mustard. Beautifully presented and well cooked. This was served with Bodegas del fin del Mundo Patagonia Malbec which was a lovely red wine.
By the time we got round to dessert, it had been over two hours but I didn’t mind that, I hate going out for a meal and feeling rushed. The black forest gateau with cherries, hazelnuts and clotted cream ice cream was again, nicely presented and was just big enough to satisfy my sweet tooth but it didn’t leave me feeling overly full. This was served with a Quady Elysium Black Muscat which was gorgeous. The couple we were sat next to weren’t drinking so I was lucky to enjoy a second glass of this.
We both had a lovely evening at 1865 and we will be returning. The extensive menu has something for everyone and there is plenty I still want to try. The lunch and breakfast dishes all sound great too. 1865 is a great place to come for a special occasion or on an impressive date. It’s a great addition to Southsea, I’m glad the Queen’s Hotel is back, bigger and better than ever!
Living life, loving Southsea,