Let’s face it, when thinking about a food and drink destination, Portslade hardly springs to mind unless Greggs, KFC and Wimpy are your thing. But times they are a-changing and over the past couple of years, as the creeping gentrification of the outer districts of Brighton and Hove become more apparent, there have been some very notable additions to the food and drink scene of the once rather down-at-heel Boundary Road.
There’s no shortage of affordable global cuisines to choose from including pan-Asian, Turkish, Persian, Portuguese, Italian, Thai and Brazilian – and even a family owned Japanese café specialising in snack and desserts. Although you still have a pick of greasy spoon cafés – there’s still clearly demand for a cheap cuppa and slab of cake – a slightly more aspirational barista brew is available from Blend Coffee Co and 17 Grams on the opposite side of the road, the latter of which also has an outlet in The Lanes in the city centre.
Last year, Argus readers voted the local chippy – Athena B – the top fish and chip shop in the city and it’s very clear to see why. The fresh fillets of cod and haddock are fried in an astoundingly light, crispy batter; proper chips are served – not soggy, not dried out; service is always with a smile; and you don’t leave smelling of – well – a proverbial chip shop. My first tip for Athena B is to sample their delicious scampi; my second is to pre-order your collection via their website in advance as it’s seriously popular, especially towards the end of the week and at weekends.
Colosseo also isn’t short of acclaim. This family-owned and run Italian trattoria scores an astounding 4.9 out of 5 on Google reviews based on over 250 submissions; and with 138 of 146 Tripadvisor reviewers leaving top marks, it’s clear to see this restaurant is special. Owner and front-of-house manager Billy twirls the floor energetically chatting with regulars and gregariously greeting new guests whilst running plate after plate of home cooked food from the kitchen that is jointly run by his wife and their head chef.
I popped in for a midweek lunch; you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the city where you could get food of this quality off their lunchtime set menu priced at £8.50 for one course or £12.95 for two courses. The kitchen make all their own sauces, bread and ravioli from scratch and make a very active decision to use authentic premium ingredients rather than cutting corners. I thoroughly enjoyed my carbonara with proper chunks of deliciously smoked pancetta. This is authentic Italian dining and hospitality at its best and is definitely on my go-to list moving forward.
Medi Terra Kitchen is another game-changer on the road. Again they offer a lunch deal of two courses for £12.95, with an impressive choice of ten starters and ten mains. The restaurant is a lot larger than it looks from the street and every table was packed on the Friday evening I visited. The extensive menu features everything you’d expect from a Turkish restaurant plus a lot more in terms of choices of fish and vegetarian dishes.
As we were dining as a group, we ordered the mixed platter which comfortably fed five people for £79. I particularly enjoyed the juicy lamb chops and a shish kebab of lean chicken breast accompanied by various dips and sauces. It’s certainly not the cheapest place to dine on Boundary Road but the food was top notch and the buzzy atmosphere made for a great night out.
Boundary Road isn’t short of decent boozers either. The Railway Inn alongside Portslade Station thankfully doesn’t feel like a typical ‘station’ pub that attracts the dregs of society but rather a light, airy and welcoming space that is just as suited for a daytime coffee as an evening pint. The Foghorn on the junction of New Church Road is surely one of the best – and most proactive in terms of weekly events – micropubs in the city with its ever changing line-up of craft beers and friendly regulars. A skip down the road leads you to The Blue Anchor that has possibly the longest running Thai kitchen in Brighton and Hove.
Add to this that Brighton Gin call the neighbourhood home – stay tuned for details of their forthcoming new Gin School which launches at the start of November and gives you the opportunity to distill your very own bottle to take home – and Brighton food royalty including Brighton and Newhaven Fish Sales, The Cheeseman, Curing Rebels and master patisserie chef Julien Plumart are all at located in Portslade Basin and it’s clear that this part of the city is on the up. Hop on the number 1 bus and push your food boundaries in Portslade this Autumn.