Strong Island Co.

Food & Drink

The Rescheduled Thai Food & Craft Festival 2014

The annual Thai Food & Craft Festival is without doubt my favourite date in the culinary calendar. Unfortunately on the 10th of August hurricane ex-Bertha had other plans and the festival was postponed. However, it is with no little personal joy that I can announce it’s rescheduled outing this Sunday the 14th. Castle Field will be hosting seven hour’s worth of Thai street food, Thai dance, Thai boxing, live music, a ladyboys show and much more. Each year the festival goes from strength to strength and this weekend will be no exception. I’ll be the one with a beer in my hand and curry on my face.






The Champagne Bar – Closing Party

With Summer nearly over it is almost time to say goodbye to the Champagne Bar for the year. We have been told that you can expect great decor, lights, live music, guest DJs and of course a VERY well stocked bar!

Sadly this will be the last ever Champagne Bar at Southsea Castle. So all the more reason to get down there for the final grand send off and help celebrate the good times and very fond memories of the past 3 years.

Tickets will be £10 and are available online however I am advised there are not very many left so get in there ASAP to avoid disappointment. For more information check out the Facebook Event Page HERE.

The Champagne Bar Closing Party.

Charity Cabaret Event at The King Street Tavern

The King Street Tavern & Wish Street Productions invite you to join them on Monday 8th September for a night of live music, burlesque, beverages and grub. The event was inspired by one of their customers who is doing her best to fundraise for the charity @uxilia. The charity focused on the protection of the vulnerable abroad.

As part if this fantastic event there will be a Sri Lanka themed menu, live music from Nathalie Gunn & Marley Blandford & Burlesque from the incredible Isabelle L’Amour, Madaleine Soleil & Scarlett Séductrice. An evening not to be missed.

Tickets are on sale from The King Street Tavern for £15.00 each. There will also be a raffle with prizes from All About Tea, ABarBistro, Kitsch N D’or, King Street Tavern and Two Tickets for ‘Rock With The Foxes’ Halloween Show at The RMA Tavern.

Find out more on the Facebook Event Page HERE.


King Street Tavern

Victorious Festival 2014

Like many, I loved the Dockyards as a venue and was excited to see how Victorious would look in it’s new home on Southsea Seafront. Victorious Festival 2014 surpassed all my expectations, it has evolved into a far superior event that will rival all others in the South of England.

The site looked impressive with two large stages situated on Castle Field and the Southsea Bandstand. Just north situated around Southsea Skate Park were the Silent Disco, Beer Festival and it was great to see so many market stalls selling a whole variety of different crafts, fashion and gifts from local artists and vendors.

My one regret of the weekend is the amount of things I missed, this wasn’t for the want of trying, there was simply so much great stuff going on.

On Saturday afternoon friends and I camped out at the Castle Stage underneath the most photographed sight of the past five days, the Victorious sign at the top of the hill. While enjoying a few ciders I was treated to a bit of a throw back to my college days with Sophie Ellis Bextor and Razorlight. The highlight of the day was unquestionably Dizzie Rascal. He had the whole crowd bouncing and it was a great way to end day one. If only it did end there for me though!

On Sunday morning I woke up with after very little sleep and with a slightly sore head. Never the less I was determined to get back down the seafront to catch some of the amazing music on offer.

Early in the afternoon The Day of the Rabblement amassed a bit of a crowd at the Pie & Vinyl Tent which was situated amongst the market stalls. After some food and a bimble round the arts area, some of my favourite local bands then took over the Seaside Stage. Blackfoot Circle, Burning Beaches and Kassassin Street all entertained large crowds, and by the way they were dancing around; the crowd were enjoying what they were hearing.

Next on stage were Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip. They must have had the largest crowd of the day so far, and the Essex pair had most of them jumping up and down to their unique blend of Hip Hop and Electro beats.

The band I was most looking forward to was easily British Sea Power, and they didn’t disappoint! As dusk was settling in, the band treated us to hits including ‘Carrion’, ‘Machineries of Joy’ and ‘Remember Me’. You could see some of the more die hard British Sea Power fans had even brought their own tree branches to wave in the air.

As a flood of people passed me coming into the Seaside Stage for Ocean Colour Scene, I made my way over to the Castle Stage to check out another of my musical heroes, Seasick Steve. With a host of home made instruments in tow, he put on a typically great show and got a great reception from the crowd. To say I was jealous of my Strong Island colleagues watching in back stage would be an understatement. I know how hard they were worked on our stall over the weekend so I can’t begrudge them that treat! Obviously it would be criminal not to compliment the closing DJ set of the festival by 2manyDJs, a large crowd were not put off by the incoming rain and they were witness to another top performance by the Belgian duo.

I don’t think I was alone in using Monday as a day of recovery, however I still couldn’t quite shift that feeling that I wanted to do it all over again. Although perhaps not in that rain! Special mention has to go to the group of friends who made it such a fun weekend. it was the perfect way to make me forget about my imminent birthday and turning yet another year older.

It’s great to hear that the overwhelming majority shared my positive views and experiences. Everyone I encountered was in high spirits and was having a great time. I’m proud of everyone I know who were involved, the boys and girls done good, very good! I hope the staff involved had a chance to enjoy it as much as we all did. They have thrown an event which all of Portsmouth can be proud of!

Be sure to keep and eye out on our Strong Island and Victorious Festival‘s Facebook pages to see some of the amazing photo’s. I’ve had a sneak peak of what the photography team have produced and it looks great!

Photos below are by Matt Ankers, Tom Langford and Todd Lawton


Todd Lawton Victorious

Todd Lawton

Todd Lawton Victorious


Sub Focus - Victorious Festival 23/08/14

Dizee Rascal - Victorious Festival 23/08/14

British Sea Power at Victorious by Matt Ankers

Victorious Todd Lawton

Tristan Savage

Bread Addiction Artisan Bakery Now Open

A while ago we posted about Bread Addiction who were setting up a new Artisan Bakery in Portsmouth. Nikola Ondrouskova and her partner Ladislav Adamek opened for business earlier today and are already creating quite a buzz.

During my visit there was a steady stream of people coming in to find out about their venture and support them. They have been successful in using crowd funding to start the business and are very passionate about the quality of their products.

Both believe that Portsmouth is ready to experience the delights of Sourdough and they hope to run bread making workshops very soon.

Across the globe the rise of artisan shops, workshops and ventures doesn’t seem to be dying down with more and more people wanting to know where their food, clothes and other products are being made. Even getting involved in the process which of course has many benefits.

Strong Island wish them every success. Their Cinnamon Buns were simply stunning and I even got to meet their live Sourdough!

You can find out more information on their Facebook page and find them at 54 Elm Grove, Portsmouth, PO5 1JG.

Official Opening Party of Southsea Beach Cafe

Southsea Beach Cafe is the stunning new cafe located right on Southsea beach, just down from South Parade Pier, which for the last couple of weeks has been running a soft launch, with their breakfasts, lunches, coffees and more sold to the crowd who have discovered this new culinary asset to the city by word of mouth. The soft launch allows the kitchen and front of house staff to refine their menu and service ready for the full opening of the cafe…which happened this past weekend!

Strong Island Media have been working closely with the Southsea Beach Cafe team and Sarah Jones on the visual experience of the new cafe. The cafe logo and the branding from social media to signage through to the menus has been designed by Tristan at Strong Island Media and we have been really pleased to work on a local project such as this. On Thursday there was a special party at the cafe to launch this exciting new business and we popped along to help celebrate. Southsea Beach Cafe is now fully open and a must-visit spot in Southsea with beautiful views over the beach and sea.

Photos below from the opening are by Josh Knill, find out all about the cafe on their Facebook page at:

Official Opening Party of Southsea Beach Cafe by Josh Knill (1)

Official Opening Party of Southsea Beach Cafe by Josh Knill (2)

Official Opening Party of Southsea Beach Cafe by Josh Knill (3)

Official Opening Party of Southsea Beach Cafe by Josh Knill (4)

Official Opening Party of Southsea Beach Cafe by Josh Knill (5)

Official Opening Party of Southsea Beach Cafe by Josh Knill (6)

Official Opening Party of Southsea Beach Cafe by Josh Knill (8)

Official Opening Party of Southsea Beach Cafe by Josh Knill (7)

Official Opening Party of Southsea Beach Cafe by Josh Knill (9)

Strong Island Blissfields 2014 Review By Sophie Perryer – Day One

And so again to Blissfields, the place to be to witness some of the best burgeoning talent that the South Coast has to offer, as well as plenty of established and memorable artists besides. This year brought with it a ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ theme, five versatile stages, and the first rain at Blissfields for nine years! However, the Great British weather was no match for our Blissfields artists, who came from far and wide to deliver their burgeoning talent to an awe-struck festival goers.

The festival site had evolved since last year, this year the main arena was larger and a second camping area was created. Other welcome additions to festival were our friends from Pie & Vinyl who were there selling their trademark delicious pies, psychedelic tie dye tee’s and obviously vinyl records. Making their Blissfields debut were the Bathing Under The Sky team, with a number hot tubs, hot showers and a sauna.

After setting up camp, a tour of the site, dinner (courtesy of The Breakfast Club) it was time to check out some music. On Thursday evening The Hustle Den stage played host to the Road to Blissfields winners, including Portsmouth champions The B of the Bang; the bang delivered a powerful set, which built tension through melodic changes and contrasting harmonies. The most memorable track culminated in a crescendo, incorporating every voice, and the repetition of the words ‘We All Stand On Thin Ice’, which lent an almost prayer-like sense to the track and made for a very impressive performance, without a doubt the B of the Bang’s best to date.

Fellow Portsmouth singer/songwriter Matt Jarvis also took to The Larch Stage, once again silencing his captive audience with promising new material, a relaxed acoustic tone, and heartfelt lyrics. Matt said of his Blissfields experience: “Just as last year, it was a really nice show for me. I always find it hard to perform well in front of a raucous audience, but in the Larch everyone was sat quietly around the stage, which made for a really intimate setting. It was all very chilled. Seeing so many familiar faces in the crowd helped to quash the pre-gig nerves that set in beforehand as well, so I must thank everyone who came to see me. The rest of my weekend was just great music, meeting awesome people, little sleep, and lots of food and drink. Perfect.”

Finally, the Dub Pistols brought raucousness with them well into the night and teased Blissed-out festival goers with the promise of a (mostly) sun-drenched weekend, and the perfect soundtrack to accompany it.

Photos by Daniel O’Neill

Blissfields 2014 by Daniel O'Neill

Blissfields 2014 by Daniel O'Neill

Blissfields 2014 by Daniel O'Neill

Blissfields 2014 by Daniel O'Neill

Blissfields 2014 by Daniel O'Neill

Blissfields 2014 by Daniel O'Neill

New Menu At The Aspex Gallery

Say what? The Aspex Gallery cafe is now selling bánh mì as part of their new menu? Where else in Southsea can you get that, with free wifi, encapsulated in what can only be described as a hive of creativity? If you are yet to drop into Aspex solely for food and drink, then now is the time. More details here.

aspex menu1 copy

aspex menu2 copy




The Wave Maiden

I don’t need to say very much about The Wave Maiden. In one sentence I think they will easily do enough to grab your attention, and have you eagerly anticipating their opening in August. They describe themselves as ‘Southsea’s purveyors of Sincere Beer, we offer a unique range of micro and independently brewed beers and ciders along with homemade cheese-based dishes.’

Stay up to date with all things Wave Maiden on their Facebook and Twitter page @TheWaveMaiden.

The Wave Maiden Logo

Bemis at All About Tea

This Saturday Bemis will be playing an intimate one-off gig at All About Tea in Middle Street, Southsea.

The event itself is free to attend and begins at 7pm until 9pm. You can find out more info on the Facebook Event HERE.

The band are keeping busy as they are also playing Guilfest, Wickham Festival, Watchet Festival as well as recording a new live album and a new studio album.

All About Tea are importers, Blenders and Packers of fine and specialty teas and herbs, based in Portsmouth. They have an extensive range of teas from all the major tea producing regions of the world. My personal favourite is still the Lucy Rose Tea which is (two parts English Breakfast and one part Earl Grey) although the Portsmouth Tea goes down well. It is described as a strong, rich, full-flavoured tea, specially blended for Portsmouth’s hard, chalky water.

The shop and Tea Room is open every evening until 9pm Monday to Saturday (Sundays 6.30pm).


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Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea

Big thanks to Khalid who sent over these vintage photographs scanned from The Images of Portsmouth (1993). We have a small selection so I’ll put one page up each week.

Love this first shot of the band stand on the common in the 1920s showing how the site was originally used before the Skatepark was built around it in the 70s. So many deckchairs, it must have been big business back then. It’s a shame they didn’t keep the bandstand as it was with the little steps and iron railing. It’s a little different NOW as Marcus’s ariel shot shows. Click the image to see the high res scan up close.

Created Local – Mikey Ayling

Good friend of Strong Island and many Southsea locals, Mikey is quite the talent. He’s always been into art, design, photography, fashion, skateboarding, music and well, let’s just say all the cool stuff. He recently began his second year in Graphic Design (Communication Design) at Portsmouth University and he’s killing it.

Matt Sills from the Wallspace Gallery has helped Mikey produce 3 prints, on sale now, of which the ants ‘Tower Block’ is a limited run of 100 Giclee print and the others, ‘Do You Dream’ and ‘Love Life’ are open edition screen prints.

Get down Albert Road and grab yourself one of Mikeys prints. Seriously, these are like hotcakes I’m sure of it. Oh, and pop past The Little Johnny Russells Market on your way and grab some bargains.




Vintage Photos

Adam Wintle recently uploaded to his blog loads of photos from an old book about Portsmouth passed down to him by his dad. Some of the photos in the book are incredible, be sure to spend some time having a good look through, below are a few examples:

Vintage Southsea Postcards

I dug these off the internet a while back and forgot I had them. Some real old school winners here. Click the read more link at the bottom of this article to see the full set.



Super Sunny Southsea

What amazing weather we’ve been having as of late. I even rode the full 8 miles home in the sun on Friday. We all had a great weekend spent on the common, riding our bikes, skateboarding and generally eating and drinking the days away.






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