Monty’s restaurant in Castle Road, Southsea only opened in February this year. Previous to that I believe it was Angry Alys, another place which was on my long ‘list’ of places to visit but just hadn’t got around to it.
Castle Road has several eateries including Pie & Vinyl, interesting independent shops and a barber in the beautiful Clock Tower. The late actor, Peter Sellers was born in Castle Road and there’s a blue plaque commemorating this.
We pre-booked for lunch thinking it might be quite busy as they have a very good lunch menu priced at only £12.95 for two courses and £15.95 for three. Even the à la carte menu is good value at £29 for two courses and £35 with a few extra choices. The menu’s get changed every 6 weeks depending on the seasons and what’s locally available.
As you enter Monty’s you have a very nice, well stocked bar with tall stools and tables. We enjoyed a coffee after our meal there but I think it would be rather nice to enjoy a cocktail or two with friends.
Walk through the bar area and you enter the dining room which is pleasantly decorated with wood panels and a wood and tiled flooring – although we did think perhaps it was just slightly mono-chrome and a bright picture or two would add some colour, but hey, what do we know about interior design? The lights on the walls throw a pretty pattern on the ceiling and a warm glow in the room. There’s cover for around 23 with nice crisp white tablecloths and plush crushed velvet seats.
For starter I went for ceps (which are mushrooms) with Hampshire blue cheese mousse, pickled enoki mushrooms and white truffle oil. The dish was beautifully presented and tasted lovely. I ADORE mushrooms.
Geoff had the 12 hour braised pork shoulder rilletes – like a meaty pâté/terrine – served with a ginger & rhubarb compote & roasted croutes (toast) which I tried a little of and that was very nice too.
The main which we both ordered was slow braised lamb neck with peas, shallots and sautéed potatoes finished with a mint oil. This was like a casserole and served in a large bowl – which was quite a noisy bowl – and again, very very nice. The meat was tender with no fat or gristle whatsoever.
For dessert Geoff had the panna cotta served with a raspberry & red pepper soup with a milk chocolate ganache which he enjoyed very much. Of course I had to have a taste too.
I could quite happily have had any one of the desserts but I went for the dark rum chocolate & hazelnut tart with a honey mascarpone. I couldn’t taste the rum unfortunately, however there were plenty of crunchy hazelnuts and I enjoyed the honey mascarpone.
I had a glass of Malbec, £8.50 for a large glass and Geoff had a beer. There were plenty of wines to choose from and the majority were available by the glass, large and small.
Service was very good by a friendly and cheerful young lady. Be aware that a discretionary service charge of 10% is added to the bill – something I’m not keen on having imposed upon me but definitely well deserved. We overheard another diner saying his sea bream was excellent. Geoff’s aunt has also visited Monty’s recently and liked it too. Outside we saw a poster advertising Sunday brunch at £25? with unlimited prosecco!! Sounds good to me! Or did I dream that?
UPDATE: I did return with my sister and we were both disappointed. I can’t find my notes on the return visit so I don’t recall what the problems were, but I haven’t particularly wanted to pay them another visit. Perhaps they were having an ‘off day’ (they had some difficult customers I think – not us, haha). If I’d written a review on the second visit then the scores would have been lower on service and the food.
Living life, loving cake