January, for many of us, is the bleakest month of the year. Living by the seaside, not only do we have to face the expected dark evenings and bitter chills, but also gale force winds that successfully propel even the slightest of rain into our cold unwelcoming faces. What can help in this situation, however, is Southsea’s Pie & Vinyl.
The steamed windows lucratively beckoned us in from Castle Road, into the warmth and cosines and guarantee of a good, simple, hearty meal. The first thing that strikes you upon entering the restaurant is the décor; checkered flooring with faded Persian rugs, walls littered with memorabilia from prints advertising gigs to cabinets with vintage games, gramophones and teapots. The ceiling is dotted with antique lampshades, creating dim, somewhat romantic, lighting.
We took our seats and began studying the menu which offers ranges from Pie Minster and Buckwells, along with an array of cordials and hot drinks. Danielle, my date for the night, went for the Matador Pie, loaded with beef steak, chorizo, olives, tomato, sherry and butter beans. I, less adventurously, went for the traditional mince, deciding against my usual ‘big cheese’ (which, as you’d expect, is laden with tons of melted cheese and tastes like heaven). The prices in Pie and Vinyl are more than reasonable; a pie by itself costs £3.95; a meal deal which includes a pie, mash, mushy peas and either gravy or liquor (parsley sauce), is £6.95, and a teapot worth of cordial is £1.75. If you’re in a rush, goods are also available to take away.
Our food arrived on intricately patterned china plates, alongside a teapot of cordial each; for me (still) cranberry and pomegranate, and Danielle (sparkling) strawberry and kiwi. She was also handed a generous jug of gravy to douse her meal in (there’s nothing worse than not being given enough after all!). The food was, as usual, divine. The mash was creamy, the pies tasty, the liquor/gravy aplenty. The cordial too, was in abundance, filling glass after glass. The relaxed atmosphere in the restaurant added to the night, alongside music ranging from Bob Dylan to the XX playing in the background.
Aside from the amazing food, there is a big focus at Pie and Vinyl on Southsea itself, and what it has to offer. This is shown from their support for local bands and artists, with the restaurant sometimes becoming a venue for small intimate gigs, to the range of leaflets on upcoming events in the area. There is a room towards the back of the eating area (which, it should be noted, was extended considerably last year), which sells a collection of vinyl. Here you can buy the latest releases, with a focus on L.P’s produced in the last two years, along with music posters of your favourite artists and gigs, with the restaurant offering a framing service for these too.
I cannot recommend Pie and Vinyl enough – whether you’re a food lover, a music fanatic, or just looking for somewhere relaxed and out of the cold, this is the place for you.
For the full menu and info on upcoming events etc check out their website: http://www.pieandvinyl.co.uk