The Yellow Kite Café has new ownership and is now called The Courtyard. We may well review it in the near future but I can tell you that we have already eaten there and liked it. The Champagne Bar is still there every Friday throughout the summer.
Last month my husband Geoff and I came upon the Yellow Kite Café at Southsea Castle. We’d just booked Sunday lunch for 2pm at Restaurant 69 in Palmerston Road in order to watch the FB Pocket Orchestra. We had some time to kill so went for a walk and came upon the café. They had picnic tables and other tables & chairs, mostly all filled and a BBQ. We thought this looked rather good so promised ourselves that we would return there to eat one Sunday soon, preferably on a sunny day so we’d be able to sit outside.
That day came very soon. We happened to be in Southsea again, enjoying a coffee at the newly opened Coffee#1 (which is okay but just like a Costa/Starbucks to be honest), when I suddenly remember about the café. As it was a since sunny day again – we’re having quite a good summer so far this year aren’t we? – we thought we’d sit outside and enjoy the BBQ.
The BBQ – which is only available on Sundays – starts at 12 noon and we were the first to actually order the BBQ food, I think. Most people had presumably got up late and were just having a coffee and although we’d also woken late – well, why the hell not – we’d not had breakfast so were a little peckish. The café also have a breakfast and a lunch menu including such dishes as fishcakes and croque monsieurs.
Burgers and hot dogs are on offer along with a veggie option and something for the kids. Order/pay at the till, grab a table and wait. The burgers and hotdogs are from local butchers, Buckwells of Southsea who also supply the tasty bacon for Capers in Marmion Road where we sometimes have breakfast on a Sunday. For a little over £2 extra you can also help yourself to the salad. Geoff went plain, I went for the salad.
We didn’t have to wait very long for our food. I went up to help myself to the salad which was very fresh and consisted of a mixture of salad leaves, rocket, etc., a cous cous salad with tiny bits of mint leaves in with cucumber and feta. New potatoes with a dressing and a tomato salad. Mayo, tomato ketchup, a French dressing and Dijon mustard mayo.
Although the burgers were nicely cooked and very meaty they were a little on the bland side. We’re not sure what exactly they lacked, but perhaps a little more seasoning would do the trick. Maybe some chilli sauce/jam could be available to spice things up a bit. I didn’t notice it so much because I had the salad with the mint etc., but when Geoff mentioned it I tried a bit on it’s own and I could see what he meant. On saying this though, it was very nice.
Wines, beers, soft drinks, teas and coffees are available, with a free top up with the filter coffee.
There were plenty of cakes to choose from, most from the Westbourne Bakery in Emsworth – their bread/rolls are also very good as I have had bread from there many times. Geoff wanted the Dorset apple cake. I tried to persuade him otherwise as there were only two slices left and I always like to have a slice of cake from a whole cake or an almost whole one as sometimes those last two slices which are left can be dry. No, he wanted that one (as Andy from Little Britain would say). Luckily for him it wasn’t dry at all – ok I was wrong , for once – and he said it was lovely.
I opted for the orange and lavender cake. This was a sponge cake with orange buttercream in the centre, icing on the top sprinkled with lavender and also the sponge contained lavender too. So it was quite lavendary but I was pre-warned. It was very fresh – only two other slices had been taken from the whole cake – and tasted superb. I do quite like the flavours of lavender, violet and rose which seem to have become popular lately in all sorts of food, from drinks to chocolates.
I believe that the Yellow Kite Café also help the local community. The left-overs are made into meals for those less well off and served in local community centres for £2 for those who live within the PO postcode areas. The café also run weddings at the castle too. Off the main courtyard is Harry’s Bar which holds a champagne bar each Friday evening throughout the summer.
Dog biccies are also on sale. 90p for a small glassful and dogs are welcome – well-behaved ones only of course.
The café also has three inside seating areas for colder or less warm days and these have been decorated nicely, each one slightly different than the other.
The castle itself is free to enter but donations are welcome. We had a look around and went through some dark spooky tunnels and also went to the top of the castle. From there are great views of the IOW (I think the saying goes ‘if you can’t see the IOW it’s raining and if you can see it, it’s about to rain’ or something similar. Or perhaps I’ve just made that up) and the Solent which is where the poor old Mary Rose ship went down back in 1545. The ship – or what remains of it course – is on show in the Portsmouth Dockyard along with lots of interesting artifacts they recovered from it.
The Yellow Kite café didn’t start to get busy until around 1pm, but you can book a table. It’s definitely worth a visit with great cakes, food and atmosphere with friendly staff to boot, plus you also have the Castle to explore.
Living life, loving cake