When it’s sunny, there’s only one thing for it.
Now, some people might say “sunbathing,” or “going for a run,” or “doing the gardening.” But they’d be wrong. When the sun comes out, the only thing to do is… eat and drink outside! Preferably somewhere delicious, ideally somewhere dog friendly, and essentially somewhere that serves breakfast/brunch.
In Southsea, we’re lucky to have a good number of delicious “bruncheries” (that’s not a word, but it really should be). Think The Tenth Hole (dog friendly, great cake, fabulous breakfasts, great mac’n’ cheese), Capers (not dog friendly, big breakfast selection, serves wine), and Aurora (dog friendly, a small but tasty breakfast menu, great for people watching)… and too many others to mention.
Out of all these fine establishments, the Pavilion Cafe comes high on the list. I’m not sure whether it’s called the Pavilion Cafe, the Cafe at Southsea Tennis Club, or Watkins & Faux… but either way, it’s a winner.
Southsea Tennis Club, Clarence Esplanade (near the D-Day Museum).
It’s the cafe at Southsea Tennis Club, so there are lots of rackets and balls everywhere. But there are also non-sporty types, lots of dogs, and generally high numbers of kids. It can be quite noisy and hectic, but the great service and delicious food means it’s not a problem at all.
There’s a dedicated dog-friendly corner, known as Wimbledon Corner. It comes complete with water bowl and dog biscuits. If it’s full (and your dog can appear reasonably well-behaved for a few minutes), you might be invited to sit in the main section. There are also plenty of seats around the outside of the cafe.
The Pavilion Cafe serves a huge selection of non-boring dishes, with a varied and inventive specials menu. Check out the menu for a taste of what you can expect. The breakfasts are all delicious (I know from experience)… and I’m personally waiting for the Reuben sandwich to reappear on the specials board.
What This Girl Ate
I feel like I’ve said this a lot, but I love cheese. And when there’s a breakfast that comes with cheese… I’m powerless to resist.
So, I ordered the Alternative Veggie breakfast. It features two fried eggs, two hash browns, an oven-roasted field mushroom and tomato, toast (white or brown – white is amazing) and, brace yourself, loads of griddled halloumi! Partnered with a pot of Earl Grey, this was the perfect way to spend a sunny morning.
Pip had his eye on a dog biscuit, but had to settle for his “healthy” lamb snacks (stomach problem, long story!) He sat contentedly under the table and enjoyed basking in a sunbeam, though.
The Pavilion Cafe is perfect for breakfast or brunch. It’s also fantastic for lunch and dinner… or even a pint (they serve Moretti, so I’m happy!) The food is fresh and delicious, and you rarely have to wait long for it to arrive at your table.
It’s best to arrive early… or late. Getting there mid-morning or lunchtime is a recipe for having to wait for a table.
Dogs aren’t just allowed, they’re welcomed, and the waiters/waitresses often go out of their way to say hi to them. Big plus points!
The cafe itself looks a little bit worn in places, but it’s got character. It’s always clean and always packed – which is a great sign. In fact, you’ll see us there most weekends!
Price: The Alternative Veggie, 7.50. Earl Grey, 1.85.