Strong Island Co.

Food & Drink

HUIS

HUIS, or HOME in Flemish, has been a long time coming. This gestating project was born from one man’s desire for a career change and a love of Belgian beers. For a number of years Simon had expressed an almost whimsical desire to open up a Belgian themed bar, and each time I heard him discuss it two thoughts sprang to mind: yes please and good luck getting the council to approve an alcohol license for beers that ran into the 11%. Portsmouth and Southsea has always held a tough stance on alcohol, in fact this is the only city I know where you can still be IDed well into your thirties. If pink burgers are deemed an issue then surely selling bottles of Delirium Nocturnum on Elm Grove has to be a no no? Thankfully this was not the case and HUIS, Southsea’s first Belgian bar, got the green light. And what a fantastic place it is too.

From top to bottom, the décor and branding oozes Retro Flemish Cool™: from the minimal clean lines and muted colours to the vintage adornments peppered around the bar. Everything has clearly been carefully considered and thought out. But let’s get down to the real business; what about the beers? Is HUIS going to settle with passing off entry level Affligem as a top dollar import? You bet not. Simon has drawn from his extensive knowledge of Belgian beers by creating a thorough drinks list that is sure to meet even the most fastidious of palates (Delirium, Rochefort, St Barnadus, Duchesse de Bourgogne and many more). And guess what? No matter the percentage nothing breaks the £5.20 mark; a conscious decision that is sure to keep me, and many others, returning. Not one for strong beers? The in-house HUIS draft beers (wheat and blonde) also provide a great alternative if you are after something a little lighter. Food wise you will be treated to hearty traditional fare such as moules frites, flammenkuche and jarred de porc. Ideal accompaniments for thick treacly beers. Dessert wise look no further than the next level banana, ice cream and chocolate waffle.

HUIS is a welcomed addition to Elm Grove, a tough and long old road which has perhaps always struggled with it’s identity slightly. However compare Osborne Road now to what it was like five years ago and the difference is like chalk and cheese. Or beer and cheese as is the case now. If anything HUIS is another great example of what creatively fertile ground we live on. For a long time it has felt like Southsea nurtures the ideal ecosystem to get your niche business ideas off the ground. After all it really wasn’t that long ago that two unkempt beatniks decided to peddle records and pies on Castle Road, and they seem to be doing alright.

Simon, any chance of some Gouden Carolus in those beer fridges?

You can give HUIS a like here and a follow here, for extra photos hover your cursor here and gently click on your mouse or track pad.

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Portsmouth Beer Festival

Last weekend saw the return of Portsmouth Beer Festival. After the huge success of the May 2014 and Christmas sessions, the Portsmouth Beer Festival team were back.

The festival is “a celebration of craft beers and cask ales alongside a selection of ciders and draught beer”. The team had clearly done their research with the array of beers they had on display. With an eclectic mix of beers, ciders and ales, and tasting available, there was no room for disappointment.

On entering the beer festival you were given your ‘official tasting notes’. This was your beer bible. All the drinks, brewers and anything you wanted to know to help you make your selection was in this booklet in an easy A-Z format. As well as this you got a choice between a half or a full pint Portsmouth Beer Festival branded glass, for all your drinks that night which was a great souvenir to take home. Plus you received a free beer token (the value of half a pint).

Official Tasting Notes and Glass

Entertainment at the festival was well covered. There was a games room featuring a few classics – ‘play your cards right’ and ‘hoopla’, raising money for Samuels Fund and Rowans Hospice and a steady hand game by Sam FM.

Play Your Cards RightSteady Hand Sam FM

Outside in a ready-made beer garden were the food stalls, the smell was wonderful. Providing the food was Flip Burgers and O’Hagan’s BBQ and Hog Roast. It was a toss up between a perfectly crafted burger, a “no artificial anything” hot dog, or a hog roast. I decided to go for the hog roast as I was enjoying the cider.

Headlining the festival was The Southsea Alternative Choir (TSAC), supported by Mr Big Stuff and Fleetingwood Mac. It was the first time I had seen any of the bands, and was truly blown away by their performances. Particularly TSAC who played wonderful renditions of a variety of songs with the lyrics on a projector in the background for the whole crowd to join in.

The Southsea Alternative Choir 2 The Southsea Alternative Choir

The mix of festival goers was diverse, ranging from 18 – 50+. It was great to see a such a variety of people of all ages connecting over something they loved. The atmosphere was fun and friendly with a combination of good music, entertainment and a fine selection of beers and ciders.

Crowd

The Portsmouth Beer Festival is due back this December for another fantastic event, which I am already looking forward to. To find out more about the charities at the festival visit www.samuelsfund.co.uk and www.rowanshospice.co.uk.

Portsmouth Beer Festival – This Weekend

This weekend the Portsmouth Guildhall will be hosting the second annual Portsmouth Beer Festival.

The festival will feature plenty of beers brewed from all around the UK. The team behind this weekends Portsmouth Beer Festival have put out the list of beers that you can expect to see at the festival this weekend but please note that this is subject to availability.

Thornbridge, Saltaire, Mad Squirrel, Tiny Rebel, Northern Monk Brew Co., Magic Rock, Great Heck Brewing, Beavertown, Dark Star, Titanic, Ilkley Brewery, Gipsy Hill, Arbor, Wild Beer, Vibrant Forest, Burning Sky, Liverpool Organic, Brass Castle, Naked Beer, Staggeringly Good, Wychwood, Sunny Republic, Siren Craft Brew, Milk Street, Triple FFF, Mallinsons, Longdog, Sharp’s, Irving & Co., Bowman Ales, Brewhouse & Kitchen, Southsea Brewing Co., Upham, Hopback Brewey, Suthwyk Ales, Langham, Sixpenny Brewery, Joseph Holt, Exmoor Ales, Thwaites, Arkells, The Great Yorkshire Brewery, Merrie City, Belhaven, Marston’s, Ringwood, Belma and Bank’s.

There will also be plenty of awesome food available along with live music from bands including the Southsea Alternative Choir, Jerry Williams, Fleetingwood Mac, Bog Rolling Stones and Elasticated Waste Band with many more to be announced soon!

Tickets are now only available from Meat & Barrel, Leopold Tavern, Brewhouse and Portsmouth Guildhall box office and online.

You can follow the event and receive updates on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Portsmouth Beer Festival 2015

Jamie’s Italian | Gunwharf Quays

I was recently invited to be the guest of Jamie’s Italian in my old stomping ground of Gunwharf Quays. It seemed like the perfect excuse to have a get together with four good friends.

It has to be one of the largest restaurants in Portsmouth as it can seat around five hundred people at one time. The restaurant has a very industrial feel which was inspired by Portsmouth’s nautical past with a reclaimed mosaic floor, old shipyard winches, and a décor of beautiful historic maritime relics. The Deli counter in the centre of the restaurant is certainly eye catching and a nice focal point to the restaurant.

First off we opted to try a selection of their mocktails, I opted for a Ginger Mojito (£3.25). I have never been much of a fan of Mojitos but I am a big fan of these although I would’ve been even happier had if there was a bit of rum in there.

As a starter I went for the Italian Nachos (£3.95). The crispy fried ravioli was stuffed with three cheeses and served with arrabbiata & Parmesan. This was easily one of my favourite starters on offer anywhere. I begrudgingly shared them with friends who agreed I’d won on the starters.

For the main course I chose one of the vegetarian options in the Baked Crespelle (£11.50). I thought I would go for something I’d never tried before. If I’m honest I’d never even heard of Crespelle before although I’ve since found out that it is simply Italian for crepes. The menu describes the meal as a gluten free buckwheat pancake was filled with Spinach, Westcombe ricotta & basil with smoked mozzarella, sweet buttery leeks, Sicilian tomato sauce & Parmesan. As vegetarian options go this was really good however I had a little bit of food envy going on when I saw a friend’s Steak come out.

I didn’t have it in me to have a dessert but I did manage to grab a taste of a friends Amalfi Lemon Meringue Cheesecake (£5.45). The velvety mascarpone & lemon cheesecake topped with Italian meringue, served with lemon curd & blackcurrants is certainly something I would recommend.

I am a fan of what they are doing in the restaurant and will definitely be returning over the summer. I still don’t think that they’d be able to beat my home made meatballs although thinking about it I’m pretty sure it was taken from one of Jamie’s cookbooks so maybe they might.

Jamie's Italian Menu

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Portsmouth Beer Festival – May 2015

On Friday 15th & Saturday 16th May the Portsmouth Guildhall will be hosting the second annual Portsmouth Beer Festival.

The festival will feature plenty of beers brewed from all around the UK, including a variety of pale ales and golden beers which are perfect for the summer months ahead. Not forget there will also be more of my personal favourites, the darker stouts and porters. Expect to see beers from the likes of Ilkley, Dark Star and Tiny Rebel as well as local brewers The Brewhouse, Havant and Irving & Co to name just a few.

Co organiser Ben Miles says, “We’re proud that The Portsmouth Beer Festival is back for a second year after the sell-out weekend in May and December 2014. A celebration of craft beers and cask ales, alongside a selection of ciders, draught beer and delicious street food all set to the backdrop of more fantastic live entertainment including the Southsea Alternative Choir, Bog Rolling Stones and Elasticated Waste Band with many more to be announced soon!

During the festival the pub games room will again be open and the Saturday evening session will feature prize giveaways as well as a traditional meat raffle with a modern twist sponsored by Bransbury Park Butchers. Keep an eye out on Strong Island next week as I will be featuring some of the great live music you can expect to hear over the weekend.

Tickets are priced at £10 per person per session (some venues subject to booking fee) and include a souvenir beer glass, programme and beer token. Tickets are available online at pompeybeerfestival.co.uk, Portsmouth Guildhall Box Office, Little Johnny Russells, The Belle Isle – Southsea, The Brewhouse, Leopold Tavern and from our own Strong Island HQ at 12 Highland Road (open Thursday-Saturdays).

The festival is fast earning a reputation as one of the best events in the city. If you have never been before then I encourage you to get some tickets for yourself and some friends and check it out for yourself.

You can follow the event and receive updates on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Portsmouth Beer Festival

Portsmouth Summer Show Announcement

This morning will there was an exciting announcement from the team behind the new Portsmouth Summer Show which is to be held on King George playing field in Cosham this June. The event looks like it is going to be a fun event for the whole family with boyband Blue, Professor Green, Alesha Dixon, X factor’s Matt Cardle, Lucy Spraggan and Luke Friend performing over the weekend.

Tickets are on sale now at £7 for adults, £5 for 5-15 year olds and Under 5’s able to attend for just £1. You can get your hands on tickets now by visiting the website www.portsmouthsummershow.co.uk.

You can stay up to date on all things Portsmouth Summer Show by following them them Facebook and Twitter @PortsSummerShow.

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Champagne Bar at Southsea Castle

Last Friday saw the return of the Champagne Bar to Southsea Castle. The sun was shining and the crowd was in equally high spirits.

With lighting provided by Mijaro the castle looked fantastic. On hand to provide music for the evening were Civilisation of the Rough‘s DJ Mark Persaud and Herma Puma‘s DJ Pimpernel Jones. Live music came courtesy of funk band Big Love Soul, they went down a treat and had everyone busting a move in the marquee area.

With upcoming DJ sets from Funktifino, Hipshaker, Gentle Bren, Handsome Dave Rocker as well as live music from Southsea Alternative Choir and The Smiley Campbell Band it’s clear that you are going to be hard pushed to find a better place to spend your Friday evenings this summer.

The Champagne Bar will be open from 6pm until late and be free entry every Friday (apart from the Victorious Festival and Americas Cup weekends where they will be having a week off). You can stay up to date with all things Champagne Bar by following them on Facebook.

Photo’s from James White Photography.

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Champagne Bar 2015 Poster

Portsmouth Beer Festival – May 2015

On Friday 15th & Saturday 16th May the Portsmouth Guildhall will be hosting the second annual Portsmouth Beer Festival.

The festival will feature plenty of beers brewed from all around the UK, including a variety of pale ales and golden beers which are perfect for the summer months ahead. Not forget there will also be more of my personal favourites, the darker stouts and porters. Expect to see beers from the likes of Ilkley, Dark Star and Tiny Rebel as well as local brewers The Brewhouse, Havant and Irving & Co to name just a few.

Co organiser Ben Miles says, “We’re proud that The Portsmouth Beer Festival is back for a second year after the sell-out weekend in May and December 2014. A celebration of craft beers and cask ales, alongside a selection of ciders, draught beer and delicious street food all set to the backdrop of more fantastic live entertainment including the Southsea Alternative Choir, Bog Rolling Stones and Elasticated Waste Band with many more to be announced soon!

During the festival the pub games room will again be open and the Saturday evening session will feature prize giveaways as well as a traditional meat raffle with a modern twist sponsored by Bransbury Park Butchers. Keep an eye out on Strong Island next week as I will be featuring some of the great live music you can expect to hear over the weekend.

Tickets are priced at £10 per person per session (some venues subject to booking fee) and include a souvenir beer glass, programme and beer token. Tickets are available online at pompeybeerfestival.co.uk, Portsmouth Guildhall Box Office, Little Johnny Russells, The Belle Isle – Southsea, The Brewhouse, Leopold Tavern and from our own Strong Island HQ at 12 Highland Road (open Thursday-Saturdays).

The festival is fast earning a reputation as one of the best events in the city. If you have never been before then I encourage you to get some tickets for yourself and some friends and check it out for yourself.

You can follow the event and receive updates on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Beer

Portsmouth Beer Festival

Atrium Launch New Cocktail Menu with Fuzz Tones Night

The Atrium has always been a good spot for some cocktails and with the spring arriving they are launching their brand new cocktail menu this friday (20th March). Providing the music for the evening will be Fuzz Tones, Southsea’s only regular Psychedelic and Garage Rock night. Along with the brand new cocktail menu, the Fuzz Tones DJ’s LongDistanceDan and Martin Horn will also be giving away a free mix CD too.

The night runs from 7.30pm to midnight with happy hour from 7.30pm to 8.30pm.

Find out more at the Facebook event HERE.

Atrium Launch New Cocktail Menu with Fuzz Tones Night

King Street Tavern – Easter Gift Fair

This Saturday coming see’s the Easter Art and Gift Fair at the King Street Tavern, Southsea. From 11am a collection of artists and designers will be taking over the pub to showcase and sell some of their products.

Kendal James who organises the event introduces the artists and designers involved…

Maggie Ambler – A self taught ceramic tile artist. Maggie enjoys experimenting with styles and effects of glazes to create beautiful one of a kind art. Her tiles have all kinds of suitable home ware uses and can even be formed in sequences to create larger pieces.

Vicky Tupper – From skulls to flowers, Sewing With Screwball creates lovingly stitched goods for you, your loved ones and your home.

Stu Linfield – A recognized Southsea Illustrator that creates series of original art works by hand and digital media. His pieces are frequently nautical or geek inspired and always well thought out and beautiful pieces of design.

Debra Wallace – Southsea based handmade card maker. One of a kind superhero themed felt greetings cards and soft toys. Lots of Easter and birthday gifts and greetings will be available at this fair.

Lou Bliss – A Portsmouth based fine artist working with a variety of media, generally found natural objects and recycled materials. Presenting a collection of unique framed prints created using the spores of collected fungi specimens.

Chantelle Cheshire – A mixed media illustrative and graphic artist living in Southsea. She makes all kinds of home and office wares and specialises in creating patterns.

Kate Smith – Hand crafted from felt, embroidery thread, and the occasional sequin or two, Gingerthread House products are a soft and fuzzy way to decorate your home this Spring time.

Kendal James – Inspired by old-school computer games and today’s (cute) Japanese film industry, Kendal creates pixel art accessories and home decorations as well as designing her own ultra soft and fluffy crochet (Amigurumi) toys.

For more information about the event of the artists involved, just visit the Facebook Event page HERE.

KST Easter Gift Fair

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Friday, Saturday & Sunday in Southsea

We couldn’t possibly of asked for better weather this weekend. From straight out of the door after work on Friday till finally retiring to our couch on Sunday evening the sun was blazing and Southsea was rich with activity and happy people. We spent pretty much the entire weekend outside on the seafront, changing the vista every now and then and sinking more than our fair share of corner store beers. Let’s hope it keeps up for at least a while longer hey. Check my Flickr for a few more Sunny Southsea photographs.

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Southsea Strong Island Celebrates

I just can’t find the right images for this! Strong Island is 1 whole year old this Sunday the 27th. Time surely does fly hey. Meet us for a beer if you’re out and about. I think there’s something going on Albert Road this Sunday too…

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and on another note…

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The Tricorn

It’s fair to say that we all loved The Tricorn outside of it’s it intent. A classic example of people reinventing architecture far beyond it’s original purpose. This short film doesn’t delve too deeply in to the many uses and inspirations The Tricorn had to offer, but it’s still a nice watch.

“An imaginative portrait of a futuristic concrete experiment of a shopping centre (‘the ugliest building in the world’ according to Prince Charles), built in the 1960s coastal town of Portsmouth, England. Loved or loathed, it developed a passionate cult following of artists and skateboarders but has now lost the battle for life.”

Directed by David Ferrone and Martin Fickling.

Two for a Fiver mate…

I’m really digging this Tea Towel they have for sale down Clarence Pier. Great little illustrations of some of our more recognisable landmarks and modes of travel. A great addition to any kitchen.

TOWEL

It’s going to be a Strong Movember – Closed at £725

Righto chaps, it’s time to clean shave your boat race and get that mighty moustache on the grow in support of Movember for The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. For 30 days of November you can help support and raise awareness through selflessly parading your top lip for charity.

You can sign up yourself, as I’m sure many of you already have, or you can join the Strong Island team and seek out sponsorship as a team. Through the Strong Island Movember page you can ask people to join the group, make donations, upload photos and post updates via the MoSpace page, Facebook and Twitter.

Head over to www.mobro.co/StrongIsland if you would like to get involved and grow a Strong Moustache to help raise awareness, or simply head over to www.uk.movember.com and sign up to personally raise money.

The funds raised in the UK support the number one and two male specific cancers – prostate and testicular cancer. The funds raised are directed to programmes run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. Together, these channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programmes in line with our strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.

Poster: Tristan Savage

Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea

Following on from photos of The bandstand and Tennis Courts the other week, here’s another scan from Khalid.

Back before East Jet in the late 1940s, early 1950s people flocked to Southsea seafront. Check the beach huts near Canoe Lake. Dozens of them and the Paddling Pool which is now occupied by the Sealife Centre. Love the little train to the right of the picture. Click for a closer look.

Old Portsmouth

I found this photo of Old Portsmouth shot form The Spinnaker last night. I don’t think I’ve seen it shot from this angle before. It almost looks like another town at first glance. Some great details. Cricket in full swing, all the catchers traps on the roof of the fish market, enjoying a beer at The A Bar, Lawn Bowls, all on a cracking sunny day. Click on the image for full size.

Photo – eNil

Ben Schroeder Transfer

In the previous Ben Schroeder post I didn’t really describe the legendary trick very well, so I’ve dug out the photo! Ben frontside ollied out of the pool over the platform and in to the steep bank. Sick stuff.

Ben Schroeder, Transfer, Southsea (1991)

It’s going to be a Strong Movember

Righto chaps, it’s time to clean shave your boat race and get that mighty moustache on the grow in support of Movember for The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. For 30 days of November you can help support and raise awareness through selflessly parading your top lip for charity.

You can sign up yourself, as I’m sure many of you already have, or you can join the Strong Island team and seek out sponsorship as a team. Through the Strong Island Movember page you can ask people to join the group, make donations, upload photos and post updates via the MoSpace page, Facebook and Twitter.

Head over to our MoSpace if you would like to get involved and grow a Strong Moustache to help raise awareness, or simply head over to www.uk.movember.com and sign up to personally raise money.

The funds raised in the UK support the number one and two male specific cancers – prostate and testicular cancer. The funds raised are directed to programmes run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. Together, these channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programmes in line with our strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.

Poster: Tristan Savage

Created Local – Inksquatch

Here’s an interesting little blog I stumbled upon. Inksquatch are a collective of Portsmouth based artists, illustrators and designers that comprises of four people working on anything from books, maps, sculptures, bags, badges, you name it from the sound of things. Check out their BLOG and WEBSITE for more info.

southsea-flats

Southsea Flats by Cat

Strong Island Clothing Co.

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