Gunwharf Quays has been having a bit of a revival of late, with new bars, restaurants and shops popping up almost every month. One of these new places is Hubbox, which according to their website is ‘an essential stop-off for amazing American inspired street food and great drinks.’ With eight locations across the south and south-west of the UK, they are still a growing company and so manage to retain a more intimate and independent vibe than your regular chain.
David and I recently went down on a rather cold and blustery Wednesday evening to see what was on offer. Tucked away upstairs on the Waterfront, at the foot of the Spinnaker we were greeted by Sean, who gave us a choice of table (we had booked ahead, but there were still spaces). We were immediately impressed with the interior, it definitely ticks all the ‘on-trend’ boxes – industrial, rustic and a welcoming bar boasting an array of craft beer. However, what really stood out were the Portsmouth themed murals on the walls, created by St Ives artist Joe Greenaway, which were not only a nod to their flagship store, but created a link between all locations, (Joe creates a mural in each of their restaurants.)
It was reasonably busy for a midweek evening, with couples, families and friends soaking up the atmosphere (a welcome change from being soaked by the rain.)
Sean left us to peruse the menu, after providing us with some of his recommendations. The menu is just about right – enough choice, but not overwhelming. There is a good mix of dishes, from fresh seafood to burgers, hot dogs and barbeque. The slogan atop the menu reads ‘loyal to south-west produce’, which is reflected in the fact that all of their meet and seafood is sourced from along the south-west coast. They also have a really good selection of vegetarian and vegan meals, so something for everyone.
David and I decided to opt for the baked sharing Camembert to start (I am genuinely unable to choose anything else if this is on offer) and a couple of glasses of their house red wine (easy-drinking, berry flavours and perfect with cheese). The Camembert came with toasted ‘Baker Tom’s bread’ and was cooked to perfection. We very quickly polished it off! This was followed by flat iron steak for David (he asked for medium rare and it was bang on) and a monkfish kebab for me. I was originally going to opt for the katsu burger but we were sadly told they were fresh out! At £13.95 apiece, our meals were really reasonably priced and the portions generous. Both came with fries and mine were some of the best I’ve ever had. Crispy, fluffy and moreish – even better when dipped into David’s peppercorn sauce. Occasionally the wait to order was a little long, but given this was only their second week, it was to be expected. Our waiter was polite and helpful when suggesting alternatives on the menu and the food was brilliant; expertly cooked and presented. In fact portions were so good there was sadly no room for dessert.
If I’m honest, I rarely choose to eat in Gunwharf as I am not a huge fan of chain places and think Southsea has some of the best burgers going, so I wouldn’t usually choose to go elsewhere. Having said that, Hubbox was a very pleasant surprise and we will definitely be returning, both to try the katsu burger and to give the breakfast menu a try. A welcome addition to Portsmouth.