Canvas Coffee, Portsmouth

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Canvas Coffee, Portsmouth & Southsea Railway Station.

I’ve visited Canvas Coffee at Portsmouth & Southsea railway station countless times since at least March 2016 (possibly before but that’s the earliest date which the photo’s I have go back to). Anyway, finally, here’s a review.

What have I been waiting for, you may ask? Well the reason is I’ve been waiting to have a sandwich or soup or something more substantial than just cake.

I’ve tried many cakes as you can see

I’ve tried loads of their cakes, cherry & almond, chocolate brownie, blondies, raw cakes, lemon & pistachio, lemon & rosemary, banana & walnut to name but a few.

The outside inside the station

But it seems that almost very time I decide to have lunch there they either don’t have anything I like, for example in the chilled cabinet today was a vegan leek & mustard SOSage roll (looked like a sausage roll), but I hate mustard. A mozzarella, tomato, pesto & basil roll, but I’m not a great fan of pesto, another with capers in it (bleurgh) and a couple of rolls which I disliked because of just one or two ingredients. I don’t think I’m that fussy.


They have a ‘specials’ menu which includes a daily soup and a toastie plus a vegan toastie option. The soup and the non-vegan toastie had sold out and this was only 12 noon.

Thankfully when I visited the previous week, although the toastie of the day had run out (same time of day) they could in fact make me a cheddar toastie with extras such as tomato, pickle, onion.

Cheddar, tomato & onion toastie

The toastie was very tasty you’ll be glad to know, I’d certainly have it again. I’m not sure what bread they used, I’m guessing from the local bakery, Bread Addiction, which seemed fine in this toastie (cut thinly) but I do hate it when people serve sandwiches with thick sourdough, I find it just too tough to eat and it hurts and cuts the roof of my mouth.

Clockwise from top left: banana & walnut loaf; a flower someone had made from a serviette; inside; a poster showing the take-away cup portraits with famous local people on them

On my next visit as the toastie was so nice last time I ordered it again to share with my friend along with some cake. No cheddar toasties left! What! This is ridiculous. Exasperated, we gave up and decided to have just a cake and a coffee each.

Chocolate & hazelnut

We each had a slice of the chocolate & hazelnut cake. It was nice, but it wasn’t the world’s best or biggest and then we realised the prices of the cakes. £3.70! Gulp. I think that may just be the last time we ever have cake there. My favourite place for cake in Portsmouth (as many of you who read this blog know) is Manna Tearooms in Old Portsmouth opposite the Cathedral, which is in a lovely setting with fresh homemade-on-the-premises cakes, they are consistently delicious and generous portions. I’m not sure how much they are at Manna but I’m guessing around the same price, the cakes at Canvas Coffee are NOT on par with those of Manna nor plenty of other places we’ve visited in Portsmouth. We were shocked. I think I’ve not noticed the price before because I normally pay by card – and we all know, that’s not like spending real money is it? – but on this occasion I had cash.

One of the Gallagher brothers portrait on a take-away cup – I had to end up with this one didn’t I, I hate them! (Hmm, there seems to be many things I ‘hate’ isn’t there… 😉

I must say that their coffees are always very good, I have a flat white, again they’re not cheap but worth it.

Be aware that there are no loos inside the cafe, there are some beyond the platform barrier which a kind railway station guard once let me use for free. She’d let me through the barrier, I then realised that it was 20p to spend a penny which I didn’t have on me as my handbag was inside the cafe with my friend. I always make sure I use Tesco’s loo on the way beforehand now.

There’s free wifi and they have a loyalty card. They sell crisps and Doisy & Dam organic chocolate bars and bags of The Roasting Party‘s coffee which is the brand they make their coffees with. Outside the cafe you’ll find a blackboard easel with a different quote or caption each day.

I shall continue to visit Canvas Coffee when in town (unless they now bar me from doing so after reading this review 😉 ) but as I can’t guarantee that they’ll have anything left that I like perhaps I may share a slice of cake instead… although £2 for half a cake is still dear… There’s not anywhere else in town worth eating at to be honest – apart from Harbour Coffee but they only seem to have sandwiches made with the thick sourdough I mentioned earlier and no longer serve smashed avo’ on toast 🙁

Ambience 7
Value 7
Service 8
Quality 7
Return? Yes
Overall 7/10

Living life, loving cake (but not at that price) and coffee.
A x


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