“ Unit R21, The lighthouse, Gunwharf Quays, Southsea, Portsmouth. Tel: 023 92739933 „
At about 11.30am on New Year's Eve we were looking for a late breakfast/early light lunch in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth. New eateries seem to be springing up every week, and we decided it would make a change to try one that is not part of a chain, especially after my disappointing visit to Strada a few days earlier.
That Great Food Place is situated on the Canalside, between Loch Fynne and Cafe Rouge. More than just a bistro, it offers food for sale or delivery, from fresh dishes cooked on the premises to jars of preserves and chutney as well as a great range of cheeses. It describes its offerings as 'modern deli bistro food'. Glancing at the breakfast menu that was displayed in the window, we liked the sound of the croissant with scrambled egg and smoked salmon at £4.95, so we ventured inside.
A friendly waitress handed us menus and let us choose where we would like to sit. We headed towards the back where there were comfortable upholstered seats along the wall, with two tables to choose from. My only criticism of my experience here is that neither was completely clean, but it was nothing serious enough to put us off. We had a view through the floor-to-ceiling window of the Canalside, but we could have picked a table with wooden chairs and a view towards Portsmouth harbour and Spinnaker Tower had we wanted to.
We looked at the menus and realised that they were lunch menus with no sign of the croissants that had caught our eye. I went to the bar and enquired if the breakfast menu was still on. The waitress kindly said that she would check with the chef and soon returned with the answer that it was but that there were only four rashers of bacon left. I told her that it was actually croissants with scrambled egg and smoked salmon that we were interested in, to which she replied that they would involve a ten-to-fifteen-minute wait as the chef would be cooking from fresh. We were not in a hurry and in fact were glad to hear that our food would be freshly cooked. I also ordered a large cup of tea and a small cappucino, which were brought to our table within a minute or two. I won't say the cappucino was the best I have ever tasted, but it was good enough.
The radio station that was being broadcast seemed to be choosing the most heart-rending tunes to see the year out, and we were treated to 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', 'Hey Jude', 'Something in the Air' and even 'Stairway to Heaven' - well, it was the day that we heard that Robert Plant had been awarded a CBE. I reflected on how much more pleasant the place was than Strada, where I had had lunch with my other son a few days before.
Our food arrived after about fifteen minutes as had been promised, on large white oval plates. The generous amount of scrambled egg was served on top of the opened croissant, with thin slices of smoked salmon on the side. It was delicious, the scrambled egg being just the right consistency, not too hard and not too soft. I am a slow eater, but it was still very hot as I was finishing. I have eaten something similar recently, with brioche rather than croissant, at Cafe Rouge in Chichester. At Cafe Rouge I paid about a pound less, but I would say that I enjoyed the food more at That Great Food Place.
I went up to the till to pay, and the bill came to £15.75 altogether, including the two hot drinks.
We used the disabled toilet as it was very close to the table where we were sitting, and I can say that it was very clean. I presume that there are other toilets in the restaurant.
As we left the staff at the counter said goodbye very cheerfully and wished us a Happy New Year. I am sure we will be going back again, possibly for a full lunch and perhaps to buy some of their tempting jars or cheeses to take home. It was a refreshing change from the chain restaurants that abound in Gunwharf Quays.
Monday-Friday: 10am - 7pm
Saturday: 9am - 7pm
Sunday: 10am - 5pm
That Great Food Place
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Hampshires finest independent delicatessen and real food bistro.