Strong Island Co.

Food & Drink

The Teatray

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If you head down to Southsea’s Osbourne Road you will find a treasure trove of independent food and drink establishments. If you look closer you may see pieces of urban art which lead you to The Teatray based at the Southsea common end of the road where fresh sea air flows to great you.

We were invited to have breakfast with owners Fark, Nicky and baby daughter Poppy. Whilst sipping on hot coffee and tea (specially blended for them by a man in a shed based in Brighton, Fark informs us) we talk about everything from art and community to food and family life.

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The Teatray is expanding the amount artists represented in the city, from local creatives to established internationals including My Dog Sighs, B-Toy, Snub23 amongst many others to display work that is ever-changing and embraces all areas of urban art forms. These include paste ups, street art, stickers, stencils, one-off designs and custom toy designers like Kid Robot. The shops’ sign was painted by Gary (Instagram: @Gary_Msk_Ha), a member of the famous MSK crew and the cheeky seagull by artist Morf. The seagull is removable and will be auctioned off for charity in the future.

On Tuesday evenings the cafe is full of knitters and crafters who meet socially; anyone is welcome to join and bring a project with them.

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With art and design being at the centre of The Teatray’s heart it’s easily reflected in the beautiful custom interior of the cafe. A well curated blend of vintage, customised furniture and bright flashes of colour that would cheer you up on the darkest of wet winter afternoons. Not to mention Nicky’s stunning homemade cakes and treats proudly displayed on an elegant cocktail cabinet. Toward the back of Teatray you will find a shop space which sells gifts, homeware and handmade artisan products.

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Like A Teatray In The Sky

Another recent addition is the new menu which is exceptionally well executed. From a full breakfast, homely porridge with fresh berries to mushrooms and caramelised onion on toasted brioche. The lunch menu is equally delicious and of course the list of cakes and treats is hard to resist.

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After enjoying breakfast together we talk about family, Like a Teatray in the Sky is true family business. With Fark and Nicky greeting customers like old friends and daughter Poppy happily playing away it feels comfortable and relaxed.

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Bread Making Courses Now Available from Bread Addiction

Bread Addiction in Elm Grove has since opening become a really popular place to not just buy tasty artisan breads and pastries but also a bakers in the heart of Southsea opening their doors to local people in different ways. From early next year one of these ways will be with new break making courses.

These new bread making courses will be led by Bread Addiction bakers and who will teach the secrets of sourdough bread making and how to keep the wild yeast alive. The courses will also include a few other types of bread and use different techniques together which are easy replicate at home. Each class includes:

– Sourdough mother
– Recipes
– Bread Addiction bag
– Banneton
– Lunch/refreshments

and all your beautiful breads you will make by your hands!

Dates:

Sunday 18.01.2015
Sunday 25.01.2015
Sunday 01.02.2015
Sunday 08.02.2015

Each course is £85 per person (with a maximum of 8 people per one class) and can be booked by calling 07411 449177, emailing info@breadaddiction.co.uk or directly in the shop at 54 Elm Grove, Southsea, PO51JG. Gift vouchers for the courses are also available.

Bread Making Courses Now Available from Bread Addiction

Staggeringly Good

Portsmouth has the most pubs per square metre than any other city in the UK”. I have always wondered how true this frequently quoted adage was. Okay, so we are a pretty densely populated city, and we do enjoy a rather impressive naval history. Combine these factors and the outcome was always going to be drinking holes on every corner, ready to sate the unquenchable thirst of both locals and sailors alike. Of course, pubs are nothing without the breweries that supply them, and between 1784 and 1847 there was a record 90 breweries in Portsmouth alone. Fast forward to 2014 and our city is a slightly different place; the historical breweries are long gone, either despatched by the profitable housing industry or bought out and shut down by some drinks company in Chiswick.

However all is not lost, and thanks in part to the craft beer revolution, the sounds of production have started again. We are already familiar with local stalwarts such as Irving & Co, Oakleaf across the water in Gosport and the new kid on the block Brewhouse. Yet quietly creeping into the fridges of choice pubs are the dinosaur labelled bottles of Staggeringly Good. Conceived as refreshments for stag do’s, born from the loins of the Brewhouse equipment and premiered at last year’s Portsmouth Beer Festival, Staggeringly Good is here to bring you a whole new spin on the classic Indian Pale Ale. From the kaffir lime leaves of the ThaiRannoCitrus, through to the smoked heat of Extinction Black and the deep flavour of it’s newest creation the VelociRapture. Going for a night out? You can find Staggeringly Good in The Leopold, The Belle Isle, The Hole In The Wall and other forward thinking establishments. Going to a party? Cases of 12 bottles are available to buy online from their webshop, with free delivery in the Portsmouth area. I sat down with local IPA connoisseur Gareth Colwell to selflessly deconstruct these beers on your behalf.

StaggerSaurus IPA (4%):
The first and the original, this one is a pretty straight forward affair: the perfect session IPA, it’s gentle bitterness ideal for a summer BBQ or the first drinks of your night out.

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ThaiRannoCitrus (4%):
Thai themed beers are a bit marmitey; you either go for them or you don’t. In this case SG have shifted the focus on subtle kaffir lime leaves rather than punches of coriander and lemongrass. The notes of peach and lime would be the perfect accompaniment for any coconut based spicy curry dish. Would be great to see these in the Albert Road curry houses.

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Extinction Black Chilli IPA (5.7%):
One for the chilli heads, the Extinction Black comes in two forms: the black caps which packs a huge scotch bonnet punch and the red cap which is a milder more smokey version. In fact this one isn’t a million miles away from a decent smoked porter, the fruity chilliness lingers pleasantly at the back of the throat. Good with a hunk of mature cheese I reckon.

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VelociRapture American IPA (6.5%):
Repent all sinners! SG’s newest and boldest creation includes strong bursts of grapefruit and citrus. This West Coast influenced homage to Sierra Nevada is, in our opinion, the pick of the crop. It’s clean after-taste definitively makes it a choice beer for end-times.

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For further information or updates you can follow Staggeringly Good on their Twitter or give them a like on their FB page.

Meat and Barrel

Plenty of you will have noticed the old Bamboo Bar on Palmerston Road has finally been taken over and being given a complete face lift. We are excited to update you that this will soon become the Meat and Barrel.

Meat and Barrel is brought to you by the team behind Little Johnny Russells, The Belle Isle, Portsmouth Beer Festival and not to forget Victorious Festival. So, expect to be treated to a fantastic looking venue, a great bar with plenty of craft beers, real ales, ciders and wines and a menu to satisfy even the most enthusiastic of carnivores not to mention plenty of tasty options for vegetarian friends too. There will even the British classic roasts available on Sundays.

I can’t wait until it opens in December! If you would like to follow the progress then you can find them on Facebook HERE or on Twitter @meatandbarrel.

Meat and Barrel Logo

5th Annual Strong Island Home Brew Competition

Can you believe it, we’re heading into our fifth year of competition.  It’s that time of year when you get the Autumn feeling setting in and you know it’s time to dust off the hydrometer and make a trip down to Wilko’s (or browse any other reputable home brew suppliers) to stock up on brewing kit.

Last year saw the greatest turn out by far in the history of the competition and with this being a landmark 5th year, we’re hoping to see even more top brews entered.  Last year’s winner, Malaccan Pirate, was a storming success selling well in many Portsmouth pubs and it was also one of the first beers to sell out at the Portsmouth Beer Festival back in May.

My hops are harvested and i’m ready to get cracking.  We have yet to confirm a date for the judging evening but we will aim to announce a set date for February 2015 very soon so be sure to keep an eye out.

In the mean time happy brewing!

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The Portsea Island Beer Festival 2014

Heads up all to beer drinkers! This weekend sees the start of the annual Portsea Island Beer Festival at the Groundlings Theatre: the fourth beer festival organised by Portsmouth’s very own Irving and Co Brewers Ltd. Fifty cask ales will be showcased from all round the UK, including locally produced ciders and perries. Alongside this a wide selection of exciting new British beers will be available on the night, including many local favourites. A great time has been had over the last three years so come along and enjoy live music, good food and a fantastic atmosphere. Times and dates are as follows, with tickets available from The Leopold Tavern and The Hole In The Wall:

Friday 10th October 12 til 4pm
Friday 10th October 6 til 11pm

Saturday 11th October 12 til 4pm
Saturday 11th October 6 til 11pm

Ticket prices:
Fri 12 til 4pm (preview session) £4
Fri 6 til 11pm £8
Sat 12 til 4pm £5
Sat 6 til 11pm £8

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Portsmouth Beer Festival – New Christmas Sessions

What better way to get stuck into the Christmas merriment than at Portsmouth Beer Festival’s all new “Christmas Sessions” at Portsmouth Guildhall on Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st December 2014.

Festival Organiser Ben Miles says, “We’re proud that The Portsmouth Beer Festival is back after the sell-out weekend back in May and we are looking forward to presenting our “Christmas Sessions”. 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, 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 for the Tom Prince Cancer Trust and the RNLI.

Ben adds “We’re looking forward to getting many people’s Christmas festivities off to an enjoyable start at these “Christmas Sessions”. A lot of people won’t have to go to work on the Monday and it will be a great for social gatherings, work parties and generally catching up over an interesting Christmasy pint!”

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Al Burrito’s Mexican Wrestling @ The Wedgewood Rooms

Al Burrito have been doing a fine job in bringing a little bit of Mexico to Albert Road over the last six months. I’ve been loving their pulled pork burrito’s but you can’t go wrong with the signature Al’s Burrito which includes pork, chicken and beef! It’s great to see that they’ve rapidly grown to become one of Southsea’s most loved food establishments. They have even gone from the one single moped for deliveries to now possessing a fleet.

Next week the Wedgewood Rooms will play host to Al Burrito’s very first Mexican Wrestling Event. Yes, proper Mexican Wrestling! As well as the lucha libre’s there will be music courtesy of Heir of the Dog, Blackfoot Circle and Remedy Sounds.

Tickets are available for £5 on the door or half price if you are dressed as a Mexican. You can get your hands on some tickets on the Wedgewood Rooms website HERE.

Stay up to date on all things Al’s on Facebook and Twitter @Al_Burrito.

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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.

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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.

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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









South Parade Pier

We’ve mentioned Diana Goss on Strong Island before. A touch of class behind the lens and a really nice lady.

Here’s another great example of Diana’s work in this Cross Processed, 120 shot of South Parade Pier.

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Amazing Vintage Naval Posters

I found these truly amazing posters on one of my many Flickr travels. All circa 1930s and all fantastic. Click the images for the direct links to Flickr.












Ben Schroeder Skating Southsea

Back in the 80s and early 90s Southsea would regularly be on the list of skateparks visited by American skaters as they toured the UK and Europe. Sometime around 1990ish the pool was built to replace the old reservoir at the end of the slalom and not long after American pro skater Ben Schroeder came through and (figuratively) destroyed the new bowl and the halfpipe, so much so that his frontside ollie transfer out of the bowl, over the platform and landing in the steep bank is legendary.

To cut a long story short Ben got in contact recently with some footage from the day. I’m going to go through the old skate magazine archives and hunt around for photos but for now, here is that footage. To find out more about Ben check out his Juice Magazine interview.

Local Designer/Photographer – Weaver

I just found these great illustrations from local web designer and photographer Weaver on one of my random web travels. I’m loving the Hilsea Lido and Carlton Cinema depictions. Check out Weavers Flickr for more Portsmouth illustrations and a whole bunch of local photography and more besides. They would make amazing prints i think you’ll agree.




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