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Food & Drink

Bristol Beer Factory Tap Takeover At The Belle Isle

Following the hugely popular previous Tap Takeover, The Belle Isle Southsea (in conjunction with the Portsmouth Beer Festival) has selected The Bristol Beer Factory as their showcase brewery. On offer will be Milk Stout, Independence, Seven, Nova and Bitter Kiwi on cask, whilst Southville Hop, Double IPA and Belgian Conspiracy will feature on keg.The beers will be on today and are gone when they are gone. With only three weeks to go until The Portsmouth Beer Festival, this is a perfect chance to do a bit of homework and get to grips with your IPAs and stouts.


Bread Addiction, A New Artisan Bakery for Portsmouth

In the last 4 years or so there has been a sharp increase in people rediscovering the joys of baking, with the success of The Great British Bakeoff being the most obvious example and inspiration…but behind the cupcakes and soggy bottoms there have been a small but growing group of passionate individuals dedicated to the ancient art of creating bread. Small bakeries have been cropping up across the UK in recent years, run by passionate amateur and professional bakers working from anything from their own small kitchen oven to pizza restaurant kitchens in the middle of the night and through to the actual return of bakeries to the high street.

Bread Addiction is one such artisan bakery & patisserie that is striving to open a new bakery and shop in Elm Grove in the heart of Southsea. Bread Addiction will sell fresh, organic, handmade food where as much as possible will be produced with local produce, carefully selected for quality. Nikola Ondroušková and her partner are passionate bakers and wish to bring the delights of sourdough bread to Portsmouth and are looking to start their business in a innovative new way, by selling their first future batches of bread by crowdfunding to pay for the major & most expensive pieces of equipment required.

If you are interested in supporting this new, local venture you can donate and receive a variety of different benefits, anything from a coffee through to bread for a year. Check the Bread Addiction page on Indiegogo for the full list of donation benefits and to also make your donation to the project:

Bread Addiction, A New Artisan Bakery for Portsmouth (1)

Bread Addiction, A New Artisan Bakery for Portsmouth (2)

Bread Addiction, A New Artisan Bakery for Portsmouth (3)

Southsea Beach Cafe – First Day On Site

With the increasing decline and surrounding speculation of South Parade Piers future it’s extremely encouraging to see anything positive happening with regard to our extensive seafront. Despite always being under scrutiny for one reason or another the seafront remains a very popular destination throughout the year and with continuous progress on the Southsea Seafront Strategy, the PCC backed Victorious Festival and the Seafront Masterplan, to name but a few, it really feels like things are starting to change for the better…

Southsea Beach Cafe most certainly suits the progressive nature we are all dying to see take place and is a welcome addition to what is currently a very run down area of the seafront. The new proprietors of the old toilet block and cafe opposite Canoe Lake and East of the pier have taken on something that will really bring a new lease of life to the area. Not to be overshadowed by movements of the once iconic South Parade Pier, SBC is set to become a very popular destination for both locals and passing visitors.

Today saw the real beginning as work on site began and progress became a reality in physical form. Once completed, SBC will be a well considered and contemporary cafe destination offering good quality food throughout the day and evening. Set in an very accessible area with the perfect vista the plans for SBC include both inside and outside areas for dining in a very relaxed and family friendly environment.

Offering a unique experience to Southsea is the addition of having a seasonally adaptable awning that can be retracted to reveal the delights of Summer sunshine, whilst also keeping off those chilly British winds, and equally in the Winter months shield you from the elements but still offer the feeling of being outside as you are protected by the awnings structural weatherproof glass. As awesome as it will be to visit in the summertime I’m certainly looking forward to some comfort food in the Winter with the sea crashing outside in the knowledge that I’m safe and sound from the elements!

We will be following SBC very closely over the next few months before their planned opening in early June and have a more in depth article with the owners coming soon to talk about the years of negotiation up to their final plans and down to what will be on the menu. For the time being you can follow Southsea Beach Cafe over at their Facebook page HERE.

Strong Island have the privilege to be working with Southsea Beach Cafe on both the brand identity and creative consultancy and we are extremely proud to be part of the journey with them and the people they are working with. We will be keeping you up to date with all the developments of this exciting new venture right up till the opening night, and beyond…







The Leopold Tavern 3rd Annual Beer Festival

From the 4th to the 14th of April, one pub on Albert Road will be offering a selection of 20 different ales, real ciders and food all at once. Welcome to The Leopold Tavern‘s 3rd Annual Beer Festival. Featuring over 80 casks, this yearly event is fast becoming a fixture for the more discerning drinker. Breweries include Dark Star, Thornbridge, local favourite Irving, the increasingly popular Brewdog, Burning Sky and Magic Rock. So put down your tepid pint of Fosters and discover what beer is really supposed to taste like. This is also a good chance to grab your Portsmouth Beer Festival tickets if you don’t have them already. Catch you down there.



The Thursday Þing – Heima A Film By Sigur Rós

The Thursday Þing (pronounced thing) is the weekly event at one of my favourite Southsea venues, 101 Reykjavík. Every week you can expect stripped down acoustic sets, chats with an author, a poet or some other free-thinking type or the finest in Scandinavian cinema.

This week the team are treating us to the documentary film Heima which follows Sigur Rós during their 2006 tour of Iceland. Combining both the biggest and smallest shows of their career, the entire tour was filmed, and now provides a unique insight into one of the world’s shyest and least understood bands captured live in their natural habitat.

Sigur Rós are a slightly marmite group, you either love them or hate them. Unlike marmite I love Sigur Rós! With the weather starting to take a turn for the worse I would encourage you to head down, get cozy and enjoy the documentary along with one of their famous hot dogs and Icelandic beers.

For more information on the event check out the Facebook Event Page HERE.

You can find 101 Reykjavík at the junction of Castle Road and Kent Road, Southsea. If you would like to find out more and see the menu then check out the website HERE, alternatively you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@101_Reykjavik).

Heima by Sigur Ros

Mothers Day

With Mother’s Day fast approaching don’t hesitate to book your favourite local restaurant for the number one woman in your life. Demand is likely to be very high around the City.

We’ve noticed that The Belle Isle are offering a great promotion which you can see below.

Mothers Day Belle Isle

Tiny Rebel Tap Takeover At The Belle Isle

Some pretty cool news from The Portsmouth Beer Festival camp, on Thursday the 27th of March from 5pm The Belle Isle in Southsea will play host to a Tiny Rebel Tap Takeover. For one night only Newport’s most exciting brewery will be taking control of the taps in order to showcase their wares. Here is what to expect on the evening:

On cask we’ll have BEAT BOX, a 4.5% medium bodied American pale ale with a floral and then sweet citrusy hop aroma, HANK which is a 4% Lite Pale Ale that’s packed with fruity flavour and an ultra low bitterness that tastes amazing, THE FULL NELSON, a 4.8% ‘Maori Pale Ale’, which came together after months of experimentation with a very unique hop called Nelson Sauvin from New Zealand showcasing strong grape flavours that are complimented by the sweet Munich malt and FUBAR, a 4.4% unique schizophrenic beer where you’ll face off against floral hoppy flavours up front, leading into a dry spicy bitterness on the back.

On keg we can look forward to GOLDIE LOOKIN’ ALE, a 4.5% American Pale Ale that was brewed with Newport’s finest rappers, Goldie Lookin Chain, alongside a Black IPA LOKI at 4.5% and another American Pale Ale ZOOL 4.8%.

It doesn’t end there either! We’ve shipped in a few bottles of DIRTY STOP OUT 5% and HADOUKEN 7.4% to complete the line up.

If you haven’t already, this is also a great opportunity to buy your Beer Fest tickets, with the current high interest in craft beers this year is promising to be the best yet. Make sure you don’t miss out.


101 Reykjavík’s The Thursday Thingí – TONIGHT!

101 Reykjavík is the newest addition to our awesome food and drink scene. I tried it out myself last weekend and I’ve got to say I loved it. I made the effort to try all bar one of the beers available, it was hard to pick a favourite but the Einstök White Pale Ale was the winner. Special praise goes to the smoked flavoured Steðji Reyktur!

You can find 101 Reykjavík at the junction of Castle Road and Kent Road, Southsea. If you would like to find out more and see the menu then check out the website HERE, alternatively you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@101_Reykjavik).

Thursday 6th March the venue will be launching The Thursday Thingí, described as a weekly(isn) gathering/þingí. You can expect stripped down acoustic sets, chat with an author, a poet or some other free-thinking type or the finest in Scandinavian cinema.

Opening will local artists B Of The Bang and The Boy I Used To Be. You can find out more information on the Facebook event page HERE. See ya there!

101 Reykjavík

101 Reykjavík a New Icelandic Bar in Castle Road

Sweetie Pie Bakery Celebrates British Pie Week

Here is some good news, or at least a good excuse for a bit of a treat, this week is British Pie Week! To celebrate all things pie, Southsea based Sweetie Pie Bakery have a 10% discount on all their Sweet Pies for the whole week, including gift wrapping and free delivery in Southsea too. All you need to do to get your pie this week with 10% off is enter the code PIEWEEK14.

You can find out more at:

Sweetie Pie Bakery Celebrates British Pie Week

The Marmion Tavern Gets a Dramatic New Look and New Menu

The Marmion, on Marmion Road, has recently been re-opened with quite a dramatic new look and style. Matt the new manager got in touch with us before the grand opening on the 17th and the pub is both looking good with some nice design touches plus has a brand new menu and line up of drinks. Check the photos below and be sure to pop in soon yourself to have a look and try out the new dishes.

The Marmion Tavern Gets a Dramatic New Look and New Menu (1)

The Marmion Tavern Gets a Dramatic New Look and New Menu (2)

The Marmion Tavern Gets a Dramatic New Look and New Menu (3)

The Marmion Tavern Gets a Dramatic New Look and New Menu (4)

The Marmion Tavern Gets a Dramatic New Look and New Menu (5)

The Marmion Tavern Gets a Dramatic New Look and New Menu (6)

The Marmion Tavern Gets a Dramatic New Look and New Menu (7)

The Marmion Tavern Gets a Dramatic New Look and New Menu (8)

The Marmion Tavern Gets a Dramatic New Look and New Menu (9)


Competition – Win Two Tickets To See Kassassin Street + Curxes + Juice

Friday 3rd May the Wedgewood Rooms will be hosting a great night of music featuring Kassassin Street, Curxes and Juice. The guys at Kassassin Street have been generous enough to donate a pair of tickets for you, the Strong Island readers.

All you have to do to win these tickets are to email your answer to the question below to by midnight on Sunday 27th. The winner will be announced here on Monday 28th.

Q – The band are named after the road in Eastney, name one of the three roads which junction with it?

Find out more about the event on the Facebook HERE.

Kassassin Street + Curxes + Juice + Longlive DJs

Juice ‘Numbskull’ from Butchy Davy on Vimeo.

Strong Island Calendar Exhibition

Last November saw the launch of our 2014 Calendar at an Exhibition at the Wine Vaults. You can read an article from Becki Partridge about the event HERE.

We cannot take all of the credit for the exhibition, the content was all provided by you, the Strong Island readers. Not to forget the exhibition was made possible by the team at Southsea Gallery who printed and framed the photographs. If you see a photo that you like you can purchase it in Southsea Gallery located at 51 Albert Road.

The exhibition can be found in ‘snug’ on the far right hand side of the Wine Vaults.

If you would like to know how to get involved in next years calendar then click HERE to find out more information.

Phil Tickner Calendar Exhibition 1

Phil Tickner Calendar Exhibition

Photos are by the awesome Phil Tickner, be sure to give him a follow on Flickr and on Twitter @HoldYourColour.

Strong Island Calendar Exhibition

A Kind of Conjuration at the Cellars

You would think witch trails a thing of the distant past. However, during the second world war a woman was tried and convicted under the ancient Witchcraft Act.

A play about the trial was performed at The Cellars at Eastney last week. Local theatre companies New Apollo and Cop The Needle brought audiences A Kind of Conjuration. This hour-long theatre piece, directed by Steve Pitt, featured a group of five actors, and was based on the real-life trial of Scottish medium Helen Duncan in 1944, for events that took place in Portsmouth.

The intimacy of the venue worked well for the subject matter, and enabled the performers and audience to connect in a way that isn’t possible in larger venues. When the judge, played by Christopher Marlowe, addressed the jury during the court scene, he spoke to the audience as if they were the jury, making them feel involved in the action.

Angie Lily was fantastic in the court scene, nipping backstage to change elements of costume in-between each character, resulting in a highly entertaining whirlwind of at least five different characters (and accents) testifying in quick succession. Henry Oastler was on comedic top form for his appearance in the court scene, displaying subtle character traits such as a tuck of the chin, transforming him completely from his other role in the play as a newspaper journalist. James Kirby and Tim Lowe also gave entertaining performances.

Writers Stuart Olesker and John Stanton incorporated excerpts from the original court transcript, adding authenticity to this brilliant piece. A highly refreshing and thought provoking performance.

A Kind of Conjuration will next be performed at the Square Tower on 25th June as part of Portsmouth Festivities. (Doors open at 7pm, performance starts at 8pm). On this occasion the play will be preceded by a monologue from the late Harry Price, ghostbuster extraordinary. Tickets from 023 9282 6249 or 023 9273 6288 or online:


Ashley Harley in Portsmouth News:
“a little gem”
“hauntingly good”
“not to be missed”
“solid direction”

Heather James in Portsmouth News:
“I was riveted”
“very witty and entertaining”

David Richards of Remote Goat:
“a sellout”
“a joy to watch”
“superb performances”
“a very high degree of professionalism”
“a very effective mix of the serious and the comedic”
“another triumph and a thoroughly enjoyable evening”

The original flyer for the show at The Cellars

Strong Island Calendar 2015 #SIC2015

Our 2014 Calendar was a huge success, the quality of images and huge amount interest it received really took us by surprise. We managed to double the sales of the 2013 Calendar, meaning we raised just over £600 for the Feel Yourself Campaign and the Alzheimer’s Society. We received over a thousand submissions by email and by use of the Instagram hashtag #sic2014.

We are excited to announce that we are taking submissions for our 2015 calendar. If you’ve taken a photo that you’d like to submit then you can email your submission via If you’ve taken a photo on Instagram that you’d like to submit for consideration you just need add the hashtag #SIC2015. There are no limits to how many you submit, the only rule is that the image must be relevant to Portsmouth.

Along with Instagram this year we also recommend you check out the Faded App. I’ve had a play with this App and you can create images that surpass anything that Instagram can produce. I especially love the overlay function.

If you have been taking any photos during this extreme weather we would love for you to submit them!

You may be aware that unfortunately due to an error our end the original batch of calendars contained a couple of errors. To rectify this the problem with the calendar we re-printed all of the calendars and offered everyone who bought one a free replacement (with free P&P where required). We are confident that we have managed to replace the vast major because of the online ordering records, however if you bought one from Lou Lou’s, Southsea Gallery or the Victorian Market then we don’t have your details so we need you to contact us ASAP to arrange a replacement! Those unclaimed calendars by the end of the week are likely to be donated to the staff of the charities we are supporting

Strong Island Calendar 2015

Here are just a few of the submissions that we have already received that might give you some inspiration.

Charlie Thompson Fratton Park

Charlie Thompson 2
Both Charlie Thompson
Todd Lawton
Todd Lawton
Roberta Curxes
Roberta Fidora
Danny Miles
Danny Miles

Road To Blissfields 2014 by Sophie Perryer

It’s that time of year again, when Southsea’s finest traipse out on a Friday night to listen to some of our home-grown, burgeoning talent. This year was no exception, with the likes of Becky Jerams, Poppobowa, Sabre and the B of the Bang taking to the stage to fill our ears with a range of musical goodness.

The evening was held this year at the Cellars at Eastney, and certainly had a more relaxed atmosphere – Strong Island’s Stuart Barker was even spotted wandering around with a cup of tea at one point!

The relaxed atmosphere lent itself perfectly to Becky Jerams soulful, syrupy vocals, gliding effortlessly over lyrics and melodies alike. Becky has enjoyed considerable success over the last few years with her song writing: her track ‘La La Love’ was featured in a Mandy Moore movie, and she has written for the likes of Chesney Hawkes and Loz Bridge. These accomplishments certainly showed through in her music; her sound was very much grown up pop and polished, while still retaining a youthful, wishful quality in her lyrics. A great start to the evening.

Becky was followed by Popobawa, a Gosport based trio relatively new to the music scene – so much so that Road To Blissfields was their debut live show! To say the boys coped well would be an understatement; they delivered a strong set with some interesting melodic choices which made for a distinctive sound, and the combination of this with hazy vocals akin to Friendly Fires was very striking. The best part? You can download their EP for a ‘name your price’ on their SoundCloud page.

Also hailing from Gosport were SABRE – the fivesome delivered catchy synth beats and impressive vocals not dissimilar to the Maccabees or Bombay Bicycle Club, with a little Two Door Cinema Club thrown in for good measure. Their raucous sarcastic comedy appealed to the crowd, and the banter between the band members was enjoyable.

Last but certainly not least were the B Of The Bang. The contrast of the almost gravelly voice of the lead singer and the Roxanne on keyboard’s ethereal vocals lent an almost eerie sense. The band delivered well thought-out tracks which were both directional and abstract, and conveyed a sense of their musical versatility and talent. Without a doubt a well deserved victory.

Congratulations to the B Of The Bang“>B of the Bang on their slot at Blissfields, and thank you also to the other artists for once again showcasing to us the quality of our local talent! Thank you too to Bellyeyesmile, Joel Ransom, the Cellars at Eastney, Strong Island, and all those others who had a hand in organising a top evening.

By Sophie Perryer

*We will be giving away a pair of tickets to Blissfields over the next six weeks so be sure to keep an eye out.*

Becky Jerams
Becky Jerams

Becky Jerams




B Of The Bang


B Of The Bang

All photo’s by Daniel O’Neill

Victorious Festival 2014

In January the Victorious Festival team announced that the festival will be moving to Southsea Seafront. The team appear to have planned a bigger and better event building upon the success of previous years.

Last week saw the second wave of artists confirmed to perform live. The line up already consisted of awesome headliners Dizzie Rascal, Seasick Steve but they have now been joined by Razorlight, British Sea Power, Slow Club, Foy Vance, Mark Morriss of The Bluetones and The Bog Rolling Stones. There will be DJ sets from Alt J, Terry Hall of the Specials, 2manyDJs and COR. Not to forget some of the best local talent such as Matt Jarvis, Eloise Keating and our favourites the Southsea Alternative Choir are also performing.

Personally I’m really excited about the Sunday line up, I’ve been a huge fan of Seasick Steve for years and I even went to Bestival dressed as him for the Under the Sea fancy dress theme. Sunday also see’s British Sea Power performing, they have been regular visitors to the Wedgewood Rooms during their tours in the past, most recently in April 2013. They are easily one of the best live acts you could ever have the pleasure of seeing. The Saturday headliner Dizzie Rascal isn’t too shabby. I caught him at Bestival in 2010 and I can promise you, he knows how to put on a show and get you dancing!

There will be more artists announced closer to the time. You can find out first by following Victorious on Facebook and Twitter @VictoriousFest, or by signing up to the mailing list HERE.

The event is more than just a music festival, there will be lots going on in the Kids Arena as well a Real Ale Festival featuring many local breweries. For the weekend local seafront attractions will be FREE, these include Southsea Castle, Blue Reef Aquarium, D-Day Museum and Southsea Skate Park. If you would like to be involved in the boutique market then drop the team an email on

The festival will be held on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th August. There are limited early bird tickets available but hurry as they are only available at the reduced price for the next ten days! Adult Day tickets are currently available for £15 per day and will be £20 after. You can pick one up via the website HERE, or directly at Little Johnny Russells or either of the Belle Isle restaurants. Kids tickets will cost £6 but those under the age of five can enter the festival for free.

Over the next five months we will try and keep you up to date on announcements and preview the performers and attractions that you can look forward to.

Victorious Festival 2014