Strong Island Co.

Food & Drink

The Wave Maiden Present… I Think I’m Turning Japanese

From 7pm on 23rd October The Wave Maiden will be hosting a special artisan Sake tasting event.

Tickets for the event cost £50 per person however you get good value for your money! Your ticket entitles you five course Japanese taster menu, seven types of speciality sake, a premium bottle from the Kiuchi Brewery to take home with you. If that sounds like your idea of a good night then you can purchase your tickets from the Wave Maiden in person or by email at

Co-founder Ali Lees explains that “There will be some staff in kimonos as well as Japanese music making for a fun and authentic evening. As part of the ticket price you can take home one of three really special 8% Hitachino Nest Beers from Kiuchi Brewery: XH or Extra High, Commemorative Ale, or Real Ginger Ale.”

This is the first of hopefully many beer tasting events that the Wave Maiden team are aiming to host in the future. Being a lover of them and their beers I for one am excited by the prospect of even more of these events!

You can find out more about this and future events on their Facebook, Twitter @TheWaveMaiden and Instagram @thewavemaiden.

Wave Maiden

Pie & Vinyl – Winter Menu

Pie & Vinyl are ready to launch their new winter menu this weekend which includes their new roast dinner pie named ‘Sunday Best’ after Rob Da Bank’s famous record label.

The meat used in the pie’s will vary from week to week but will be served up in a giant Yorkshire pudding, filled with creamy mash and minty mushy peas that you can then top it off with onion gravy. Veggie, vegan and gluten free options will be available too.

For more information on the menu options visit their website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter @PieandVinyl.

Pie & Vinyl

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Pie & Vinyl Menu

Bestival 2015 Review | Saturday

My Saturday morning began with a trip to the press tent where I exchanged Bestival stories from the night before with the folks from Trapped Magazine and Capital South. Afterwards I nipped back to the tent and got kitted out in my tie dye ready for Saturday’s fancy dress day.

This years theme was ‘Summer of Love’, Bestival organiser Rob da Bank explained that the simple theme was in order to be a positive message in light of all the bad news and downright evil goings on in the world. The theme was a great idea and it was awesome to see large numbers getting involved and spreading the love, but I have to be honest I found that this years festival costumes lacked the ingenuity and creativity which I’d come to expect from previous years. This years Fancy Dress Award went to worthy winners, the Love Hearts.

I spent most of my Saturday with the lovely Victorious Festival crew who were letting their hair down after a busy August. House of Pain were the special guests on the Main Stage followed by Little Dragon but for me Saturday was really all about the evening’s entertainment.

Annie Mac kicked things off on Main Stage and did a top job getting the crowd warmed up for The Chemical Brothers. Fresh from headlining the Pyramid stage at this years Glastonbury Tom and Ed didn’t disappoint. Their set included classics such as ‘Hey Boy, Hey Girl’, ‘Galvanise’ and ‘Go’. Their performance was accompanied by first class visuals, it brought back memories of their 2007 set which I was at the front for!

After the Chems came another of my all time Bestival highlights (I’ve picked up a few of them over the weekend so far). As you saw from my Bestival preview I am a huge Future Islands fan and I was fortunate enough to see them the photography pit. Not to long into the set disaster struck when my camera battery ran out! Not to be beaten I took a couple of quick snaps with my iPhone, I know it’s bad etiquette for gig photography but I was able to capture some cracking silhouettes of lead singer Samuel Herring. Next time I will pack my spare battery!

Future Islands

Afterwards we stuck around in the Big Top and checked out Duke Dumont although the crowd were packed in so tightly that I don’t think I could have got out even if I’d wanted to. The rest of the evening/morning is a little bit of a blur but I do know that I took myself to bed about 3:30am.

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Rob da Bank by Victor Frankowski
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By Tom Martin
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Annie Mac by Carolina Faruolo
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Chemical Brothers by Carolina Faruolo
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Future Islands by Victor Frankowski
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Duke Dumont by Victor Frankowski

The Portsmouth Beer Festival Christmas Sessions

Summer is over. Deal with it yeah? But as one door closes another one opens; cue chunky knitwear, log fires and the Portsmouth Beer Festival Christmas Sessions.

Returning for it’s second year at Portsmouth Guildhall on Friday 18th & Saturday 19th December 2015, festival Organiser Ben Miles says, “We’re proud that The Portsmouth Beer Festival is back after another sell-out weekend back in May 2015 and we are looking forward to presenting our “Christmas Sessions” again after a great success last December. A celebration of craft beers and cask ales, alongside a selection of ciders, mulled wine, mulled cider and festive street food all set to the backdrop of more fantastic live entertainment – line-up to be released soon, so watch this space!”

Beers will be featured from local breweries as well as from around the UK. A large variety of darker beers will feature to suit the season, but fear not there will still be a fine selection of pale ales and hoppy craft beers on offer. Expect to see beers from the likes of Ilkley, Dark Star and Tiny Rebel as well as local brewers The Brewhouse, Staggeringly Good, Oakleaf, Havant and Irving & Co amongst many, many more.

Again the event will be raising money for two fantastic charities in the extremely popular Pub Games Room hosted by Austen ‘Danger” McLean, for the Thunder Foundation African Schools Charity and the SamuelsFund.

Ben adds “We’re looking forward to getting many people’s Christmas festivities off to an enjoyable start at the Christmas Sessions 2015. It will be a great for social gatherings, work parties and generally catching up over a Christmassy pint!”

Tickets are available online at: Portsmouth Guildhall Box Office, Meat & Barrel, Little Johnny Russells, The Belle Isle – Southsea, The Brewhouse & Kitchen and Leopold Tavern.

Tickets are priced at £10 per person per session and include a complimentary souvenir glass, programme and beer token.



Craig Finn Acoustic Set at Pie & Vinyl TOMORROW

Tomorrow Pie & Vinyl welcome The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn in store for a special acoustic set. Craig will be releasing his second solo album, ‘Faith In Future’ on September 18th – but you can exclusively pick your copy up two days earlier at this show and have it signed by the man himself!

Get yourself down there for 12:45pm with the doors opening at 1pm. The event is free but limited to the first sixty people. For more information follow Pie & Vinyl on Facebook and Twitter @PieAndVinyl.


FoodCycle Portsmouth Fundraising Pop Up Dinner Now Sold Out!

Here is some great news from the FoodCycle Portsmouth team, their pop up community fundraiser (as you first saw here) officially sold out in just over a week. What a great response to what will be a really unique dining experience at the Watkins & Faux Pavilion Cafe. However the fight doesn’t end here, FoodCycle Portsmouth still need help to continue this work and are aiming to raise £2,500 by the 1st Dec 2015 (in time for Christmas). For every £7 donated, they can buy the extra ingredients needed for a three-course meal for 40 people who are struggling to get by – making sure their meals are as tasty and nutritious as possible.

The three-course ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’-style vegetarian dinner held this evening, will be created from surplus food by a team of committed volunteers and served to the paying public to raise much needed funds to ensure FoodCycle Portsmouth can continue its work for the foreseeable future. In addition to putting food in tums, patrons will also be treated to live music from Tom and Caitlin; Southsea’s finest bluegrass duo, and artwork by local artist, Joe Munro. No wonder the 60 capacity venue was sold out shortly after tickets were released.

This event will be hosted in partnership with FoodCycle Bristol volunteers, as Portsmouth is the last stop on their Tour de FoodCycle.



Victorious Festival 2015 Review – A Festival For The Whole Family (Part Two)

This year’s Victorious Festival was pretty epic. Though it was my first, I am already looking forward to going back next year. Saturday may have been a washout for some, but with our brollies and wells in tow, we were not going to have our spirits dampened.

The variety of activities spread across the Kids Arena was immense. There was everything you could think of to entertain the children and some of parents who are children at heart. Every bit of detail had been covered, from children’s safety with wrist bands with emergency contact details on to baby changing areas.

In the Kids Arena, there was face painting, tennis, a disco tent (playing some absolute classics), Disney princesses everywhere, providing much excitement for the kids with plenty of photo opportunities. Magic shows and all round fun activities. What was fantastic about the Kids Arena was that all the kids actives and entertainment was all free, so there was no telling the children they can’t go on a ride because you don’t have any change!

The Kids Arena was situated next door to the main areas which was great. It meant we could escape the ‘adult zone’ and enjoy some great live music. We saw a couple of bands at the Acoustic Stage, Captain Flatcap at the Beats and Swing Tent – who were amazing! I have never seen so many people dancing so hard to live music before. The band were brilliant, clearly having fun and everyone around them was too. My five year old dragged me to the front barrier so she could get a better view and dance with everyone else. I also saw Laura Mvula, who was one of the acts that I desperately wanted to see and she didn’t disappoint. Her live vocals were incredible.

We’d built up quite an appetite just wandering around the site seeing what was on offer. There was a huge array of cuisines that all looked and smelt so delicious that it was so difficult to decide. In the end we went for a chilli from the Chilipot. If they are there next year, make sure you head over for some delicious food.

The festival was a fantastic day out for all ages, and I would highly recommend the day to anyone even those with young families, there really is something for everyone.

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Victorious Festival Princesses

FoodCycle Portsmouth Fundraising Pop Up Dinner

On Friday 11th September, FoodCycle Portsmouth and FoodCycle Bristol are joining forces to bring you a one-off pop up dinner event in Southsea, giving you the opportunity to enjoy a stunning three course meal in a beautiful coastal café. This is a meal with a twist – it will be cooked entirely from surplus food! Two great teams of volunteers will work together to collect and cook up a delicious three course meal made from surplus food (that would otherwise be thrown away) especially for you!


The evening will be jam packed with entertainment. We’ve got live music from Tom and Caitlin, Southsea’s finest bluegrass duo. Award winning artist Joe Munro will be showcasing some of his documentary driven artwork that interrogates our conceptions of existing food systems in the UK, and highlights the importance of the positive steps projects are making locally. And if that’s not enough, there’ll be street art and more to ensure this is an unforgettable evening.


This unique event offers an opportunity to support one of the UK’s leading organisations tackling food waste, food poverty and social isolation. All funds raised will go towards supporting FoodCycle’s projects in Portsmouth, Bristol and across the UK.
Join us for this tasty meal and help unite our local community through good food.

All you need to know:
Time: 7pm for 7.30pm service.
Location: Watkins & Faux, Pavilion Café, Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, PO5 3PB
Tickets: Tickets cost just £7 and must be brought in advance here. There are limited seats available so don’t delay in booking your tickets! 
Drinks and raffle tickets available for purchase on the evening – so please remember to bring a few extra pennies along!

FoodCycle runs volunteer-powered community projects across the UK – all working to reduce food poverty and social isolation by serving tasty, nutritious meals to vulnerable people. Since we started cooking in May 2009, our incredible volunteers have served over 125,000 meals made using over 146,000kg of surplus food – the equivalent saving of 657,000kg CO2 emissions.

FoodCycle Portsmouth collects food from retailers that would otherwise be thrown away, and with the help of lovely volunteers cook it up into a tasty, healthy 3 course meal for those most in need in our city. Meals are put on every Tuesday at the John Pounds Centre on Queens Street, Portsea and every Thursday at Kings Church, Somerstown.


Au Revoir Kitsch N D’or

After the news that we are welcoming back local favourite 101 Reykjavík came the sad news that we are saying goodbye another favourite the Kitsch N D’or.

Yesterday the team behind the restaurant wrote the following on their Facebook page.

“It is with great sadness that Paul and Jenny have to announce the closure of Kitsch N D’or after 15 years of business. Due to continued impasse with the landlords, they have had to make this decision for the future happiness of their family. From everyone here at the Kitsch we would like to say thank you to all our customers and friends for your continued support over the last 15 years. We would not have been able to do it without you all. Thank you and goodbye.”

Kitsch N D’or has been a favourite of my family for birthdays and special occasions but it isn’t just the Barker clan who are sad to say goodbye, their reputation spread far and wide with many travelling from outside of Portsmouth to sample their fantastic French inspired cuisine.

Strong Island would like to wish all of the staff involved the best of luck in the future. Vous allez nous manquer.


Welcome Back 101 Reykjavík

On this dreary depressing day we have some great news to put a smile on your face. Strong Island are glad to welcome the return of 101 Reykjavík. They return in form of an online shop offering some of the countries finest exports which can be found at

Back in 2014 Chris and Lisa Whitear opened Southsea’s very own Icelandic kaffibar. They were able to provide honest food and drinks in a friendly setting that perfectly encapsulated the unique spirit of Iceland’s capital. Sadly earlier this year the premises was no longer available and they were forced to close the doors.

Chris and Lisa are now offering a range of Icelandic delights delivered to your door. Beverages available include Brennivín (known locally as The Black Death), Crowberry Liqueur and Björk Liqueur. There are also some fantastic craft beers available such as their own 101 Reykjavík dark beer with Cocoa and Icelandic seaweed, the liquorice-esque Northern Lights as well as a few lines from Borg Brewery and the award winning Gull lager.

Products available are not limited to food and beverages, you can pick yourself up a copy of Iceland’s finest musical exports such as LP’s from the likes of Sigur Rós, Björk and Ólafur Arnalds.

We hope that we will be able to see them returning to a local venue in the near future.

Stay up to date on all things Icelandic on Facebook, Twitter @101_Reykjavik and Instagram.

101 Reykjavík

101 Reykjavík a New Icelandic Bar in Castle Road

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RETROSPECTIVE – Vintage Portsmouth & Southsea

“Since Strong Island began back in 2008 we have amassed an incredible amount of historical information about Portsmouth & Southsea’s past. These articles are not only from our own interest and passion about the city, but also from readers that have sent us some amazing facts. So much has changed in such a relatively short amount of time and the fast pace of life around us can make it easy to forget the importance of this cities history.

Retrospective‘ takes a look back at some of our previous posts incase you missed them in the past or you’re one of our new readers. One day myself and Paul hope to create a stand alone archive here utilising all the books and photos we have collected that haven’t made it on to Strong Island as of yet. With permission of course! So much to do and so little time. Enjoy.”

This is one seriously awesome vintage photography collection from Pop Olive33 that I found on Flickr a while back (sadly no longer active). Check out Osborne Road and Guildhall. Just incredible. It’s hard to imagine a time when traffic flowed through Guildhall, and that was only in 1968 and the shot looking west down Osborne Road is amazing. Trams, horses, grand buildings, a traffic cop, ladies & gents. It’s all going on…

Originally published Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

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.






Aerial Photographs of Portsmouth

Webb Aviation have hundreds of aerial photographs to purchase from all over the country. Click the link to see the Portsmouth Aerial Gallery and view photos from over Gosport looking across Gunwharf, all the way down to the Hayling Ferry.

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aerial photograph by

Transport No. 1: Portsmouth Trolleybuses

With Portsmouth’s long history and particular geography it’s public transportation systems have been varied and have changed dramatically over the years. Over the next few weeks we are going to focus briefly on some of the more interesting ones, starting with the Portsmouth Trolleybuses.

The Portsmouth Trolleybus service provided by the Portsmouth Corporation was first introduced on the 4th August 1934 and covered most of the island and up to Cosham. The trolleybuses themselves were like normal double decker buses but were powered by overhead power cables like trams. The power lines for the trolleybuses criss-crossed overhead above the roads with routes and these wires became a constant in the city’s skyline, much like modern San Francisco and Vancouver.

The Guildhall (buildings in the distance are where the council buildings are now)

The trolleybus service continued until the 27th July 1963 and then sadly the wires torn down and almost all of the trolleybuses scrapped, today only two of the trolleybuses survive. No. 201, which was in Portsmouth’s transport museum before being moved, now lives on display in Milestones Museum in Basingstoke. No. 313 was the very last trolleybus to run but now is in fully restored working order and running at East Anglia Transport Museum (see it running here).

Ready for scrap (with the old airport in the background)

You can find out about all of the trolleybuses and see more photos here and watch below to see them in action with super8 footage from the 1950s and 1960s. Still looks strange seeing traffic through Guildhall Square.

P.S. Will the Portsmouth transport museum ever find a new home?

Hitler’s reaction to The Registry closing down.

This is just classic. I’ve seen a few others before. I think I saw one about accidentally using Arial instead of Helvetica, funny stuff. This one however is just hilarious, if you know the Portsmouth pub scene. More so if you’ve ever ben a student.

Old Southsea Skate Photos

Check the Skate Library for the first of a growing list of old Southsea photos including this one of Lance Mountain grinding the Law Courts back in 1988 (photo by Tim Leighton-Boyce).

Portsmouth on Film – Episode 4

The new episode of Jonathan & Matthew Ring’s vintage family footage ‘Portsmouth on Film’ went up yesterday. This episode is of a bus trip from Old Portsmouth to Southsea to Eastney.

I still lament the loss of the Portsmouth Transport Museum.

After skating…

…the boys enjoy a sit down at the seafront on a Sunday. Photo courtesy of the ever busy Quiet Corners lensman Paul Gonella. Perfect days, albeit still cold.

The Fog

Anyone who was out in Southsea and some surrounding areas would have witnessed the rolling fog that made it’s way inland this Sunday. Creeping past the Isle of Wight and finally making it’s way to the beach and taking people by total surprise. Hundreds of people were out having BBQs and generally enjoying the sun when all of a sudden things got weird when you could see your breath in the air and pockets of mist were passing right in front of your eyes. It’s rare to see this during day and normally only occurs first thing in the morning, so this was pretty cool to see.



Check out some more photos of “The Fog’ over on my Flickr Photostream.

Local Photographer: Paul Thurlow

I’ve been following local photographer Paul Thurlow’s blog for a little while, always some wonderful photos from our little piece of coastline plus some incredible portrait and wedding photography too. Put what you’re doing to one side for a little while and have a look through Paul’s website and Flickr too, so many beautiful photos including HDR images too.

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