The Southsea Food Tour: Cinnamon Café

S&C’s roving gastronome Emily Priest finds a gem on Winter Road this week for meat eaters and vegetarians alike. 

Cinnamon Café rests on Winter Road and despite despising cinnamon, I cannot hate this lovely little eatery.  A girl in my class at university called Giada recommended it to me. I’m grateful she did.

Wedged between an Indian takeaway and an abandoned shop, Cinnamon Café has a grey frontage with a large window. It was Christmas time when I visited, so through the window I could see fake frost and stockings hanging from the ceiling. Inside it was light and warm, so I decided to escape the winter chill.

The clean, open interior is furnished with several tables and chairs. The grey and yellow colour scheme really brightens the place. Around the edges of the café are sofas to sink into, while you can people-watch from the counter seats by the window. A large mirror clock is on the wall. When I was visiting, at the back stood a Christmas tree adorned with lights and blue and silver baubles.

I took my seat next to the tree and read the menu. It had a lot of choice and some of the dishes were new to me. Breakfast and lunch options included smoked salmon bagel, pancakes, mixed bean salad, tortilla pizza and fillet of salmon with boiled egg and potatoes. There were also sandwiches, paninis and jackets plus fine-looking vegetarian fare: pear and cinnamon protein pancakes, banana and honey bagel and cumin-infused roasted vegetables with scrambled egg.

I liked both how delicious they sounded and their prices. Most options are around £5.50, with the chicken burger the most expensive item at £7.95. The veggie dishes are nearer the £5.50 mark, which is good when you consider the breadth of ingredients. The drinks menu was just as extensive as the food served.

I approached the till and ordered a tea, toasted breakfast panini and caramel shortcake. Other sweets were on display: protein balls and Victoria sponge.

Not only did they have teas, coffees and hot chocolates but also hazelnut, caramel and vanilla lattes, herbal teas, smoothies, protein shakes and a thing called a torpedo coffee with butter and coconut oil. The smoothies looked lovely, especially so for only £3 – £4, and I was glad to finally find a place that sells white hot chocolates in Portsmouth. Trust me, they are the beverage equivalent of a unicorn in these parts.

As I paid, I asked what time breakfast went on until. ‘All day,’ the waitress said, making my day. Next time I’m hungover and have woken up at 2 pm, I know where to come for a bacon sandwich.

I sat down. Just before I could tuck into my cake, my panini was handed to me. I thanked the waitress and began my feast.

The panini was balanced well between soft and crunchy textures. The generous filling burst with several strips of bacon, thick sausages and a big serving of egg. The sausages were tasty and fragrant, the bacon tender and not too crispy. On the side was a handful of sweet potato chips that were salty and sweet. A nice touch. It was lovely, but halfway through I was full. There needed to be room for my shortcake.

The thick slab of caramel shortcake had reindeer sprinkles on top. Very cute. It wasn’t the best I have had in Portsmouth as that honour still belongs to Parade Tea Rooms, but it was rich and delectable. The base was crumbly and the chocolate had a deep flavour and satisfying crackle. Unable to finish it, I wrapped it in a napkin and smuggled it away.

Before I left, I ordered one last thing. I’d been seduced by the smoothies.

‘Can I take one away?’ I asked the waitress. She said yes. I then asked for a recommendation and she said the ‘Fibre Bomb’ comprising banana, kale, apple, mango and apple yogurt, mixed seeds, cinnamon and ice.

I told her to hold the cinnamon. Like I said, I despise the stuff.

It was ready in minutes and she handed me this huge green cup with a straw. She gave me a large smile and wished me well.

I slurped this cool, refreshing and slightly sweet concoction on the way home. The perfect ending, I thought.

Anyone who is vegetarian, wants breakfast all day or is just keen on tasty, healthy cuisine you can’t quite get anywhere else in Portsmouth, head down to Cinnamon Café. I’ll always be grateful to my friend Giada for recommending it to me.


Photography by Emily Priest.