How is everyone coping in lockdown? We know it’s been tough, especially for small businesses who have been unable to trade as normal. There is light at the end of the tunnel and we hope everyone’s effort in supporting local businesses in Portsmouth and beyond, has been enough for them to fully re-open when the time is right.
For us, this strange situation has made us realise how often we eat out (yikes!) and how much we miss it! Cycle rides and walks are not the same without picking up a coffee and cake from our favourite eatery. Friday nights aren’t the same without a visit to our favourite bar and Sunday brunch at home come and goes without much thought. What have you missed the most?
It’s not all doom and gloom, we’ve tried our hands at baking and spent time experimenting with different recipes, trying to recreate some of our much loved local treats at home. I recreated my favourite blondie from Baffled Coffee and my favourite carrot cake from Farm Kitchen – both which have been divine but not quite the same. We miss the social aspect of visiting these coffee shops, talking to the staff and watching the world go by.
Not being at the office has allowed me to enjoy a decent cup of coffee at home, which is often hard if you don’t have the proper equipment. We were kindly sent some samples to try from the Speciality Coffee Company who supply wholesale coffee to cafes and restaurants. They are soon to be launching Lola’s House Blend in a coffee bag.
For those of you who haven’t heard of a coffee bag, it’s essentially a tea bag but instead of tea, coffee! Lola’s House Blend is a mix of Sumatra Gayo, Brazilian Arabica, and Indian Robusta beans. It’s not speciality grade coffee but is intended to be a convenient way to make a good cup of coffee. I couldn’t agree more. All I had to do was pour over water, squeeze and leave for 3 minutes and I had a decent cup of black coffee. I even used the bag twice and it was just as flavoursome. Coffee bags are the perfect product for people with less time on their hands and like me, a big fan of camping! I pack coffee bags on every trip and Lola’s House Blend will most definitely be accompanying me into the mountains when the time is right.
Despite our coffee and cake fix somewhat being fulfilled at home, we’re both itching to return to the many eateries we know and love. Thankfully some are now doing takeaways and we certainly haven’t held back, wanting to support as many local businesses as we can. Here’s a quick lowdown on where we’ve been getting our foodie fix during lockdown.
Takeaway (collection) from Salt Cafe – Vegan flapjack and a fantastic flat white. Below.
One of my favourite flapjacks AND it’s vegan. A beautiful setting to enjoy a takeaway by the sea. These guys also do a fantastic almond milk flat white and pizza on a Friday night! They also sell much-needed eggs, flour and yeast and all those essentials which are hard to find in the supermarket at the moment.
Takeaway (collection) from Hunter Gather – Antica vegan cinnamon bun and a powerful long black coffee. Above.
Antica is no doubt one of the best bakeries in Portsmouth. This cinnamon bun was oh-so-fresh! I have to say though, it wasn’t as flavoursome as other non-vegan versions like Cinnabon (although Cinnabon is full is chemicals so it’s to be expected!). Hunter Gather is the place to go for a decent black coffee.
Takeaway (collection from Farm Kitchen – Copious slices of vegan carrot cake. Above Left.
How many vegan carrot cakes have our household consumed during lockdown? At least 4 a week! Both the vegan and non-vegan carrot cakes are fab from here and the portion size is enough for two (though our family doesn’t share cakes!). We missed it so much we tried to re-create our own at home (Above right). Mum also loves the vegan Tahini cookies. These guys are open till 9pm so perfect for dinner on the beach!
Takeaway (collection) from the Old Forge Tea Room in Hambledon (we call it Ed’s as the man is called Ed) – Biscoff rocky road, vegan chocolate orange cake and vegan blackcurrant sponge cake. Above.
The cakes from here keep on getting better and better! Most are made in-house and they are always so fresh. I love the fact there’s always something different on the menu as the baker loves to experiment with new recipes. Ed’s, as we call it, is a Mecca for cyclists and walkers. It’s located in the beautiful village of Hambledon which has lots of lovely walking trails close by.
Takeaway (collection) from Comestibles, a deli in Midhurst. Vegan pistachio carrot cake and a sticky flapjack.
Comestibles in a completely new find for us. Located in Midhurst, it’s a small deli which has a range of freshly made cakes and savoury options. Think Southsea Deli but in Midhurst! Their gooey flapjack is one of the best I’ve ever tasted! Now we make it our mission to cycle there at least once a week to pick up a tasty cake. Cake doesn’t count if you’re exercising!
Takeaway (collection) from the Coffee Cabin – Bakewell blondie made by ButFirstCake.
One really positive things to come out of COVID-19 is that I’ve spoken with my friends a lot more than usual and since we’ve been able to meet outside, I’ve seen them every Saturday morning at the Coffee Cabin on Southsea Common (following guidelines of course!). The coffee cabin is a great place to sit outside with friends on a sunny day. We have started to see the same people (and dogs) there each week now which gives off a real community feel.
A selection of takeaway savoury treats from; Huis (Beer brisket burger with glazed pineapple and a sweet potato patty) – Bonitas (Super doper spicy vegan no’chick tacos) – The Deck Emsworth (fish and chips) – The Monarch (Vegan burger and ribs – review coming SOON!). Swipe to see them all.
Despite these uncertain times, we are super excited to hear of lots of new places opening up in Southsea very soon – we can’t wait to review them all! In other news, the lovely Southsea Deli, a favourite of ours, are moving to a bigger location in Elm Grove. In the meantime, you can find their coffee wagon selling savoury treats and fresh cakes down Eastney Beach. We hope to see you all soon when eateries are allowed to re-open and we can enjoy cake and coffee on the premises. For now, let’s all continue in supporting local eateries in Portsmouth and further afield!