Restaurant review

1865 Restaurant at the Queens Hotel, Southsea | Restaurant review

The Queens Hotel, Southsea.

With so much attention paid to his visit to his eponymous aircraft carrier on Saturday, there was no mention of how our 95-year-old monarch avoided his hunger throughout the day.

A place in the city would have had fortune and branding on its side. The Queens Hotel in Southsea would satisfy anyone who appreciates the obvious deadlock, and it recently reopened its restaurant as part of a £ 4million redevelopment.

Named after the year the hotel was founded, 1865 reopened with Dish Detective among returning customers.

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Lotte Tandoori of the 1865 restaurant of the Queens Hotel, Southsea

The decor of the hotel and restaurant is inspired by the heyday of a former monarch, with vintage elements meant to nod to the Edwardian England style which largely succeeds in apparently mixing the old and the modern. It’s like a chic Agatha Christie ensemble reimagined by someone who loves hanging out at Soho House in London.

Of course, tasteful furniture doesn’t mean you’re ready for tasteful cooking.

Fortunately for 1865, the restaurant manages to marry the two.

Eating from a tasting menu, the first course consisted of a brioche and tunworth cheese, with figs, candied walnuts and balsamic shallot jam. Perfectly portioned, interesting and extremely delicious – although slightly sweet from the brioche, which made the whole dish dangerously close to the appearance of a dessert.

Next, the tandoori monkfish with monkfish pakora (spicy donut), curried cauliflower, coconut sauce and coriander. The fish was cooked perfectly and its chewy consistency was complemented by the slightly crunchy cauliflower pakora. The sauce worked well and would be safe for anyone to go to an Indian restaurant and ask if the korma is spicy.

Then came the pork belly and scallops with black pudding, potato terrine, peas, honey and mustard sauce.

I have never tasted such a good pork belly. Garnish – even as a tasting portion – and cooked so that it can be eaten effortlessly. The pork flavor was not lost under the sauce and the black pudding added an interesting contrasting texture. The scallop was well done, but looked like an afterthought.

For dessert there was a Black Forest “cake” with cherries and hazelnuts and curd ice. The scary quotes made my table mates and I was worried we were going to be served something ironic, or worse – “deconstructed”. Was I about to be served a handful of cocoa beans and be told bon appétit?

Fortunately, the Black Forest cake was very well constructed, arriving as a solid block of chocolate cake firmly coated in chocolate. I would gladly participate in its assembly to enjoy another sample.

Overall the food was cooked and prepared to an excellent standard and – other than a very close failure with the starter – none of the dishes seemed loaded with sugar, salt or fat. The ingredients and their combinations were fresh, filling and interesting – without being pretentious. It seems the cuisine is still finding its marks, with brioche, scallops and spooky quotes all yearning for a “daring” idea of ​​fine dining. Does it work? Overall yes, but I would say it’s less daring and more curious.

So, is this a meal fit for a queen? Dish Detective wouldn’t dream of guessing the Queen’s taste – and after 70 years in reign, she’s earned the right to eat wherever she sees fit. What I can say for sure is that 1865 is suitable for a beloved matriarch – or patriarch – of any family. Whether it’s a family visit, a birthday present, an anniversary or simply for the indulgent love of good food eaten away from home – 1865 is a royal choice.


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