You probably won’t be surprised to hear that I love Southsea. In my seventh year on this fair island, I’m still discovering new places to visit, I’m always excited to spot new pieces of street art, and I’m loving the thriving food and drink scene (obviously).
In seven years, countless new bars and restaurants have opened their doors, although some old favourites have sadly closed them. Happily, the options for a quick post-work dinner, a leisurely and indulgent weekend feast, or a swift half are plentiful (much to my greedy delight).
When it comes to the most important meal of the day, Southsea excels. Whether you’re after a boutique cafe, a greasy spoon, a traditional pub, somewhere to occupy the kids, or a welcoming dog-friendly spot, it’s a breakfast and brunch winner.
One of Southsea’s newest and funkiest breakfast establishments is Jam & Bowler. A few weeks ago, we saddled up the ferocious hound and paid them visit.
Tip: If breakfast or brunch is your thing (it’s definitely mine), you might want to check out my review of Watkins and Faux (where we’re pretty much part of the furniture). I’ve also posted recipes for Quick and Easy Smashed Avocado on Toast and Smoked Salmon and Scrambled Eggs.
Jam & Bowler, 4 Victoria Road South, Southsea, PO5 2DF. You’ll find it at the top of Victoria Road South, opposite the Garage Lounge and the junction with Albert Road.
In their own words:
“We’re bringing something a little special to Southsea: breakfast, as you’ve never experienced it before. We think you’re going to like it.”
Like it? Definitely. Breakfast as I’ve never experienced it before? Not quite, but I’d happily go back again.
Jam & Bowler is a cosy, light and friendly little breakfast/brunch cafe. It has huge windows at the front, which are perfect for people watching. As soon as you walk in, you’ll notice the exposed plumbing and taps on the walls… I wonder whether they actually work?
There’s a fantastic selection of quirky art on the walls, including a piece from local artist My Dog Sighs. The”shabby chic” assortment of chairs and tables sit nicely alongside a section of brightly painted floor… and a piano that doubles as a till/spot for the coffee machine.
There was only one waitress serving, but she took the time out to have a chat, stroke Pip, and bring him some water. Bonus points.
The menu isn’t enormous, but it focuses solely on breakfast/brunch. If I’m honest, I’m quite content with a slightly smaller menu. I’d much rather visit a cafe that does a few things well, rather than loads of things averagely. Anyway, it’s got all the breakfast staples you’d want… and then some.
What This Girl Ate
As instructed by the sign on the table, we ordered at the piano. To drink, we went for an Americano and an Earl Grey tea. Both arrived quickly and were steaming – a decent-sized Americano and a perfect pot of tea for one.
To eat, we ordered Eggs Benedict (with smoked salmon instead of ham – a request that was granted happily) and Huevos Rancheros. I love spicy food, so I was very excited to get stuck into the latter.
The Eggs Benedict was served on two halves of a buttered, toasted English muffin. The smoked salmon was fresh, the poached eggs runny and not vinegary (pet hate), and the hollandaise sauce topped with chopped chives was spot on. I’ve eaten a LOT of Eggs Benedict in my time… and I would happily eat this one again.
According to Wikipedia, Huevos Rancheros literally translates as “rancher’s eggs” and the dish originates from rural Mexican farms. Now, I love Mexican food (hello, Wahaca!), so ordering this was a bit of a no brainer.
It was served on a toasted flour tortilla, with chopped avocado, two fried eggs, black beans, cherry tomatoes, and melted cheese. Tasty, colourful and with a great combination of flavours… but I would’ve loved a few slices of fiery fresh chillies to set it all off.
In short, I like Jam & Bowler. It’s a funky breakfast-only cafe, with a shabby chic feel that isn’t too pretentious or trendy.
The staff is friendly, the food is tasty, and dogs are welcome. It’s open and light, without making you feel that you’re on show to people walking past.
A great addition to the Southsea breakfast scene. Long live Jam & Bowler.
Note: Jam & Bowler is celebrating its first anniversary this month. To reward its loyal customers and supporters, all dishes are only £5 during January. And, continuing this generous streak, you can also grab a free coffee if you tag Jam & Bowler in your photos.
What are you waiting for?
Price: Huevos Rancheros, 7. Eggs Benedict, 5.50. Pot of tea, 2. Americano, 2.