You will find this global street food restaurant and bar on Osbourne Road, and as the name suggests, Two Doors down from its counterpart 6oz Burgers. It’s a small place but has made a huge impression on Portsmouth as, whenever I pass, it is normally always busy.
I have tried booking online countless times on Friday and Saturday nights but to no avail. There was always a lack of spaces on the weekend so I ventured down on a foggy Tuesday evening, hoping it would be less busy.
It was. At last.
The first thing I noticed was the decor of the place. It was funky inside with lots of colour, warm lighting and vibrant bulbs hanging from the ceiling. There were different coloured chairs and tables, a modern sofa and an eye-catching neon sign on the right-hand side, immediately as you entered.
A man welcomed me and asked me where I wanted to sit and, after noticing the booths, I chose them. Now, these were something special. There were three of them and they were private little spaces with plenty of cushions and artwork of Portsmouth on the walls. You couldn’t fit many in there but they were lovely, intimate spaces especially for the individual dining alone or couples wanting a good smooch and cuddle.
I was glad to have made it and the vibes in Two Doors Down, chilled and funky, made it that much better. The music was the perfect fit to the colourful venue with artists playing, such as the Talking Heads and even local disco band Barbudo.
I had not only struggled to book a place on the weekends but I also found their opening hours were not the most freeing. On Saturdays and Sundays they were open all day but, during the week, they were not open during the day at all. Excluding Thursdays and Fridays where they were open from 12 to 3. It’s not too bad but if you’re like me, who has a flexible schedule, I couldn’t enjoy street food when I fancied it.
I digress. Either way, I made myself comfortable in a nest of cushions with a menu in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. I was very happy and my qualms about opening hours were soon out of my head.
Looking over the menu, I noticed it was not the largest in the world but had a nice selection of unique flavours, inspired by places all over the world from Mexico to Japan. There was a nice range of vegetarian and vegan options too so, even if there wasn’t much choice, there was still plenty to tempt you.
There were tapas or small plate options, such as Boa buns, and then larger plates, such as Naan Pizza and Sashimi. There were also noodle and quinoa salads and savoury waffles which had duck or chicken and ice cream. I had never seen a range of food quite like it in Portsmouth and the unique combinations of spices and cultures made me proud of Two Doors Down.
In the end, after lots of umming and aahing and sucking back my drool, I managed to make a decision. The choices were as followed; beef boa buns, pulled pork tacos, halloumi chips and tonkatsu chicken. The waiter, smiling and friendly, quickly took my order and hurried off.
Within no time, he came back with my food in hand. The first up were the halloumi chips. The presentation was impeccable with each thick slice neatly placed on top of one other with a colourful drizzle of sauce. There was a thin stripe of pomegranate and chilli and another of sour cream. There was a gentle sprinkling of spring onions too and the taste was just as good as the aesthetics. The cheese was gooey and the batter was crispy and flavoursome. The sauce, although a unique mix of flavours, worked really well. The cool sour cream complemented the sweetness of the pomegranate and the chilli gave a slight kick at the end.
The tacos were next. They were far bigger than I expected and, as I took one in both my hands, I knew I had eyes far bigger than my belly. The tacos were packed with lots of ingredients from peppers to chilli and were scrummy. The pulled pork had excellent flavour but in no time I found the chillis overpowered the taste. This was the case for most of my food.
The bao buns were impressive too. Each was the size of my fist, once again bigger than expected, and burst with Korean beef, sesame seeds and cucumber. The dough, white and glistening, was soft and bouncy and was the best-steamed dough I have ever seen. I could tell the chefs knew their stuff.
I took a bite and my mouth erupted with flavours. I could taste sesame oil, ginger, tender beef and of course, the chilli. Once again I found that the chillis overpowered the rest of the flavours. I didn’t expect my food to be so spicy but it’s not their fault I can’t handle hot food.
The final item to be brought out was the chicken which was once again large. It was a huge slab of meat with a crispy coating cut into generous slices and would have been perfect to share amongst a small group of friends. It was juicy and, although had some flavour, it was not as uniquely tasting as the other items. There was a nice hint of lemon in there but at the end of the day, it was just chicken.
After all of this I was full and ready to give up but then I spied the dessert menu. What I saw next, I had to order – the raspberry churros.
They were served in a tin pot with a pot of dark chocolate dipping sauce. There were six long battered sticks that were crispy and beautifully golden. They were coated in bright pink sugar which was the raspberry flavouring. I took one, dunked it into the chocolate and shoved it in my mouth. They. Were. Amazing. The churros were cooked to perfection and the chocolate sauce was rich and moreish. The sweetness of the raspberry was a welcomed touch which complemented the rest of it.
Soon after, with a swollen belly, I paid up and bid adieu to the friendly waiter.
I really enjoyed my visit to Two Doors Down but I don’t think I will go there again. Although I liked the unique flavours on offer and the atmosphere, I found there was too much spice for my palate. Personally, it overpowered the flavours but, if chillis don’t bother you, then I definitely recommend this restaurant. It’s a perfect place for singletons, couples and parties alike and those who are after something different.
If you want some global colour in your life, you don’t need to travel far. Only to Osbourne Road in Southsea…