UPDATE: 18/08/2017 see bottom of post.
I came across Baffled Coffee quite by accident back in January (see footnote) on a social media site and thought it looked rather good. I quickly paid them a visit for lunch the very next day along with my friend and gym buddy, Sarah.
Baffled Coffee have been open for around seven months – I’ve no idea why I hadn’t heard about them – and are situated about half way down Fawcett Road in Southsea, Portsmouth.
Inside is pretty much like any of the other ‘hip & trendy’ coffee shops around Southsea, such as Hunter Gatherer, Home Coffee, Southsea Coffee Co., etc., with bare light bulbs hanging from the ceiling and chipboard/pallet style seating. The ‘rustic-look’ I presume it’s called. I’m not a fan of the seats I must admit, my legs don’t touch the floor and the stools are a little too high for some of the tables.
The January menu looked quite tasty, most of which I’d happily eat, a few specials; sausage rolls, soup, sandwiches and a curry. Takeaway wraps and salads were also available in a cold cabinet and soft drinks too such as Fentiman’s Wild English Elderflower, one of my favourites. Plenty of people came and went for takeaway food and drinks and inside was just as busy.
Everything on the counter looked really nice too, the sandwiches, salad and cakes. Oh boy, what to choose? Decision time.
Sarah ordered the haddock chowder which was ‘tasty and filling’ she said. This was served with fresh bread and bacon pieces sprinkled on top of the chowder. Nice presentation.
I went for the spelt crepe with mushrooms and the IOW’s Gallybagger cheese which was really very good. The dish was quite rich for me but packed with plenty of lovely mushrooms, which I adore
We shared the spinach & butternut squash salad as a side dish which had quite a kick to it. I loved it but alas Sarah did not. At least I got to eat the rest of it.
The first flat white I had was very nice but lukewarm, the second was still nice but very very hot. A Goldilocks experience. I’m sure if I’d ordered a third it would’ve been just right. This review is based on several visits and it gets better so do read on.
There’s lots of cakes on offer, cinnamon buns, chocolate brownie, carrot cake, Portuguese tarts to name but a few.
We each shared a Portuguese tart which was ok but lacking in the custardy filling and not as nice as the ones you get in Casa de Castro less than a mile away – now they are truly good!
Geoff and I shared both cakes later that evening with a cup of tea. Sadly both were pretty average, the carrot cake wasn’t nearly as good as Manna’s (which is THE best) and we weren’t overly keen on the cheesy topping. I spoke the next day with Sarah and she didn’t enjoy hers either. We both agreed that it had a funny taste to it, as if it had been made in a cake tin which had previously been used for something greasy and not cleaned properly.
(Okay, I lied, this bit isn’t that good either is it? It get’s much better from here, I promise).
Nevertheless none of this put me off and I knew this place had potential so I returned the very next day with Geoff, again for lunch. This time I had the chicken Milanese sandwich which was bread-crumbed chicken in a fresh roll with salad and mayo’. The chicken could have done with a bit of seasoning but otherwise it was very good and the bread was fresh. The flat white was perfect this time.
Geoff had the beef Randang curry which I had a taste of. It was lovely. Very hot if you ate it with the red hot chilli peppers which come on top of it!
I had the sandwich deal which was £5.50 for the sandwich, coffee and either a Portuguese tart or a small cinnamon swirl. I went for the cinnamon swirl seeing as I’d had the tart the day before. I wasn’t fussed on it I must admit. Geoff had to try a Portugese Tart but alas, again it wasn’t great.
I began to think that Baffled Coffee was perhaps just a place to go to without having cake – unheard of! I accepted that this might be the case but still made arrangements to meet a friend for a late lunch only to find she just wanted cake! I didn’t want to sit there eating a meal if she was just eating cake so I ordered myself a chocolate brownie and my friend a salted caramel slice which she said was very nice indeed. The chocolate brownie was much better than my last, lovely and gooey in the centre.
Another day another visit, the very next day in fact – yes I’ve been several times now – I met my sister there this time. I had the curry which was lovely and tasty, the meat was very tender. I definitely recommend this dish.
Whilst waiting for my sister to arrive some chap had his dog on the banquette padded seat! Then it sidled up to me. Not a fan of dogs in eating establishments anyway, this was a bit too much for me. Thankfully he soon left.
We each shared a brownie which was even softer than yesterday’s so a big thumbs up for that, and the caramel salted slice was delicious with flakes of salt sprinkled on top. The flat whites were excellent again, since my first visit the coffee’s have been at the perfect temperature. The coffee they use is Limini.
It always seems to be nice and cosy warm inside which is good because lots of places don’t seem to bother much with heating these days – or so it seems – and come on, it is winter after all! I hate eating when I’m cold (I wrote this in January ? ). There’s plenty of seating, especially if you don’t mind being almost on top of others, plus to the rear of the cafe is another smaller room with more seating. I must say that the staff are all very friendly and I do enjoy going there.
Return? Yes, definitely
Living life, loving cake
UPDATE: 18/08/2017 – I haven’t been back for a while, there’s just too many new places popping up all over the place and I never did get to take Helen whilst she was home, but finally today Geoff and I paid Baffled Coffee another visit. He had the very tasty beef randang curry whilst I went for the smoked salmon with Jersey Royal potatoes, the salmon was beautiful, so too was the home pickled sweet rhubarb – or was it home sweet pickled rhubarb or pickled home sweet rhubarb or…? Anyway we shared a cake, berry, almond and lemon which was very nice.