Thursday, 23 September 2010

Fire and Stone Gunwharf Quays

Enough to put a fire in our bellies or simply drop like a stone?
Doing Grubgang has been , and continues to be, a great pleasure. The decision to make our reviews into a blog was something originally not all the members agreed with, but occasionally we get a response from places we have visited thanking us for our reviews. A shock then, when the chief reviewer receives an email from a representative of Fire and Stone in Portsmouth asking us to come along and receive a tour of the kitchens and taste the array of ingredients which makes the pizza restaurant stand out from others. Unfortunately, as the gang have not yet made their millions and still have careers to uphold, we had to turn them down. But, undeterred, they offered us a complementary meal. Being the first time that this had happened to the group, we accepted rather excitedly. What would we find?

Having seen mixed reviews about this restaurant, we were keen to try what they had to offer. Clair had read that the staff have been described as rude in one review, but we did not find this to be the case. Obviously, their knowing our reason for dining could have led them to treat us a little different ( no longer were we incognito...our super powers revealed haha!) but, as true Grub gang members we aim to still give an honest and frank report.

The decor was nice, although the restaurant was a little loud, even though there were not many people dining at the time. There was plenty of room at the table where we sat, but noticed that the tables in the middle of the room were only really suitable for large groups, and a little close together for smaller parties or couples. So to the menu....... what a range! The pizzas are listed in continents with four or five pizzas under each one. We opted for a starter (3 courses are possible for £20) all of which went down a treat! Gemma noted her prawn cocktail was juicy and the salad fresh and tasty. Mike had the calamari with a homemade tartare sauce, which Mike said was the best tartare sauce he'd ever tasted!!

It was difficult to choose between the different pizzas, but once chosen our unusual combinations of toppings we were ready to try something new. The pizza base was delicious, not at all soggy as had been described in other reviews. It was cooked to perfection, crispy and herby! Dean chose the London, a combination of sausage, egg, bacon, black pudding and mozzerella! Verdict? Delicious! Clair tried the Cairo - peppers, goats cheese, onions, aubergines, courgettes and pine nuts. Verdict? Wonderful! Mike opted for the Lombok - Prawns, hoi sin sauce, red peppers, spring onions and mozzarella. Verdict? Great! And lastly Gemma who asked for the Canberra - chicken breast, roast potatoes, mushrooms and sour cream, but with chilli sauce omitted from her order. Verdict? Well, nice eventually!

Why eventually you may ask? Poor Gemmas pizza arrived WITH chilli sauce and had to go back! The staff were apologetic and did bring a glass of champagne (although she had already told a waitress she was driving) chilli nuts (she doesn't like chilli- hence the ask for no chilli on the pizza!) and Olives (which again she doesn't like!) It was a nice gesture, but we need to remind ourselves that they were aware of our being reviewers so we cannot be sure whether this would be offered to everyone this happened to?! Upon discussion, we realised we had been served by several waiters/waitresses this evening which could have led to a break down in communication.
Perhaps if we had been served by one person, as in most restaurants, we may not have had this issue.
So to dessert....(it had to be done!) The mini vanilla and lemon cheesecake was quite sickly but only because there was a lack of biscuit crumb. The chocolate Brownie melted in the mouth (fantastic!) and the waffles went down a treat. Mike was a little disappointed that the dessert he requested was not available (maybe this could have been mentioned upon being given the dessert menu) but was quite pleased with his second choice -vanilla pannacota.

So to facilities.......clinically clean! They were very clean and tidy but maybe lacking a little touch.... a picture or some flowers would make it a little friendlier. They are not the best for larger or pregnant ladies either as there is not much space within the cubicle to move width wise. As there are only 3 toilets it does beg the question as to why the space wasn't used a bit better as there was a whole wall area which could have been utilised into another cubicle perhaps?

All in all, the Grub gang had a good evening. We weren't particularly "wowed" but the experience was a pleasant one with friendly staff, clean decor and tasty pizza. Thank you to Fire and Stone for our invite, but as we said before we need to be honest and there were a few things that let you down on this visit. Therefore we give a respectable...........
Mark out of 10 ........................................................... 6 (by invitation)

Fire and Stone
Blake House
Gunwharf Quays
0844 371 2553

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