There are four small cafe-restaurants on Marmion Road, Southsea, just off Palmerston Road shopping precinct. I had only ever been to one of them, the Vegetarian Greenhouse Kitchen, and thought it was about time to try out one of the others. Late one Saturday morning we looked at the menus in the window of Churchills @ 25; my son had been before and said I should be the one to decide. It looked very busy inside, but a table for two all on its own by the entrance was just being vacated so I suggested we take it.
Main dishes on the menu included quiche, lasagne, chicken and ham pie, eggs benedict, mushroom fricasee and fish cake with a poached egg (which seemed a bit of a strange combination). Soup of the day could be ordered along with a sandwich chosen from a varied list of fillings. Jackets potatoes were mostly around the GBP3 mark. A board with the day’s specials had been placed outside, and I had to go and take another look as I couldn’t see them listed inside. There was cauliflower cheese with either chips or salad, vegetarian lasagne, and a tempting Thai chicken salad amongst a few other choices. However, we noticed that it was possible to order a full English breakfast for GBP5.25 including tea, coffee or fruit juice (orange, apple or cranberry). We both decided to order the vegetarian version which offered two sausages, an egg (poached, fried or scrambled) on half a muffin, cherry tomatoes, and slices of button mushrooms. Both of us chose scrambled egg, my son ordered tea and I asked for orange juice.
The drinks were brought after a couple of minutes. There was a pot of tea (enough for two cups) with a jug of milk, and the orange juice was served with ice. We had to wait about fifteen to twenty minutes before our food arrived, but we were not in a hurry so we didn’t mind. Each of us had just the one sausage whereas the menu had promised two, but we didn’t complain as neither of us thought we could have managed a second one. The scrambled egg was a little overdone, but other than that we enjoyed our breakfasts. Everything was freshly cooked and arranged on the plate with care, the tomatoes and mushrooms surrounding the scrambled egg on the muffin.
Just above our table was a board listing desserts at reasonable prices, mostly around GBP2.45. These included treacle tart, lemon cheesecake, rum and raisin cheesecake, and a three-flavoured jelly; bread and butter pudding was a little more expensive. We weren’t interested in any of them on that occasion, but it’s obvious that you could have a two or three course meal without breaking the bank.
A notice in the window states that if you order lunch, you can have a glass of wine for GBP1.75. That’s worth remembering. Another notice advertises coffee and cake for GBP2.75 in the afternoon.
Churchill’s @ 25 has not long been open and is very clean and tastefully decorated. Tables and upright chairs are of wood, without tablecloths. Most of the tables do seem to be rather close together, and I felt that we had been lucky to come at the right time to sit at the table for two that is on its own by the entrance. On the far wall are four prints of Winston Churchill, each one based on a different colour in the mode of Andy Warhol. Other abstract artworks were very uninspiring to me; as well as these there is a series of maxims printed on the walls, words of wisdom to digest along with your lasagne or cheesecake.
We were satisfied with the service from both the waiter and waitress on that Saturday, as they were polite and efficient, making a point of asking us on two occasions if everything was all right. My son, however, had not been so impressed with another waiter on a previous visit and probably wouldn’t have chosen Churchill’s if I hadn’t been interested in trying it out.
There appears to be just one toilet with disabled access and baby changing facilities, but I cannot comment on its cleanliness as I did not use it.
I would recommend Churchill’s @ 25 as a venue for a drink, breakfast or lunch to anyone shopping in Palmerston Road and wanting a break. It makes a change from Costa Coffee and offers much more in the way of food. I would personally prefer the Greenhouse Kitchen, but that is a vegetarian restaurant and obviously won’t suit everyone. For anyone walking up from the sea front or Southsea common, there are so many restaurants to choose from before reaching Marmion Road that Churchill’s is unlikely to be a candidate. I would, however, be happy to go back there if that Thai chicken salad is on offer again one day.
Churchill’s @ 25
25 Marmion Road
PO5 2 AT
Tel 023 9273 8525