Street food is fast becoming one of the most popular food trends, with new vendors popping up all over the place – especially in London – but until now, the street food scene in Portsmouth has been a little quiet. At the end of April an exciting new concept opened up in the heart of Portsmouth, which is home to several street food vendors from Hampshire and beyond – Outside-In Food Court.
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Whenever I’ve had street food before, it’s normally been outside in a field or – as you might have guessed – on a street! What makes Outside-In so unique is that it’s an indoor street food court, allowing you to enjoy your favourite food regardless of the weather. A brilliant idea, given our classic British weather!
Tucked away in Middle Street in an old tea warehouse, behind the university accommodation, is where you’ll find Outside-In. If you’re visiting by car, there is a pay and display car park opposite, or lots of free (for 3 hours) on-street parking on the surrounding roads. Outside-In are also proud to be plastic free, and if you do visit it’s also cashless – some come armed with your contactless card! Let’s head inside, shall we?
Inside you’ll find long communal tables, very instagram worthy decor and a bubbly atmosphere. Outside-In offers a brilliant way to bring the local community together and use a neglected space.
The vendors currently at Outside-In are La Boca Rica (fusion dishes with a twist), Dumpling Dumpling (local favourites from the Isle of Wight serving up dumplings with unique flavours), Hunter Gatherer (vegan street food from Southsea), One Tonne Burger Co (proper sexy dirty burgers, oozing with cheese and other glorious ingredients), Tacos by Guerrero (soft tacos piled high with fish, meat and more) and Arepa2Go (Venezuelan corn pockets filled with cheese, meats and veggie flavours). Alongside the street food vendors are Portsmouth favourites The Southsea Deli (coffee, baked goods, salads & deli items) and Southsea Drinks Co (alcoholic drinks, smoothies, frozen yogurts & more), who are there Monday to Sunday.
The menus from each street food vendor change weekly, serving up fresh flavours every Thursday to Sunday. If you fancy lunch at Outside-In, several of the vendors offer special £5 lunch menus on Thursdays and Fridays too!
We headed to Tacos by Guerrero first, drawn in by the seafood offerings! Tom and I shared the tempura fish taco and a achiotte marinated king prawn taco – coming in at £5 and £7 respectively (for one taco).
Here we have it – the most beautiful tacos I’ve ever seen. Just look at them! Piled high with fresh slaw, herbs, king prawns and tempura fish, they were a feast for the eyes and tastebuds.
Out of the two, I think my favourite was the tempura fish taco – but both were delicious! As the menu changes weekly, these might not be back on offer for a little while – but all of their taco offerings look just as sublime as these. It’s a winner for me!
Next up on our list to try was Arepa2Go – my first time trying Venezuelan food, and it won’t be my last! Arepas are gluten free corn pockets, freshly made to order and filled with ingredients such as cheese, chicken, avocado, beef, black beans… you get the idea!
We opted for the Sifrina arepa – filled with chicken, avocado, cheese and a sweet corn sauce (coming in at £7.95) and a portion of the Papitas Fritas, fried topped with feta and a coriander & avocado sauce (for £4.50).
They arrived promptly, and we were pleasantly surprised by the very generous portions! Let’s start with the fries – simply put, they were delicious. The feta was a tangy and refreshing change compared to normal cheese topped fries, and the coriander sauce was delicious. I’d really recommend trying these if they’re on the menu!
The arepa itself was the star of the show – simple, good quality ingredients which paired together really nicely. The corn pocket was something I haven’t tried before, but I loved it! Light and fluffy, but crispy on the outside and still warm from cooking, and with the cold chicken & avocado filling – this was my favourite street food from our visit and would make a fantastic lunch for one. For £7.95 it was a bargain!
Our companions for our trip (our friends Bex and Henry) opted for the Caracas arepa filled with beef, feta, black beans and plantain – and I am assured this was just as tasty as ours!
Just look at the excitement on my face!
Plus an extra portion of Yuca Fritas (cassava fries) to share. These were like thickly cut chips, and were tasty – but cassava root isn’t really my thing.
We washed everything down with cappuccinos from The Southsea Deli, and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere.
On my second visit (I simply had to go back for more!) I headed to Dumpling Dumpling to sample some of their aptly named flavour bombs. I headed over with one of my vegan friends (hi Carley!) and we tried some of their vegan dumplings (with a meaty one for me).
We went for the 6 dumpling offer (6 for £8) and chose the hoisin not duck dumplings (vegan friendly), the pesto mac n cheese dumplings (vegan friendly) and the Chinese pork dumpling. Out of the three, the mac n cheese one was actually my favourite! Vegan mac and cheese, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes housed in a crispy dumpling- fusion flavour at its finest, and something I’d recommend trying if it’s on the menu.
If you’re local to Portsmouth or heading over for a day trip, you have to make sure you visit Outside-In! There are so many fantastic street food vendors all housed in one space, with something for everyone – whether you’re a meat lover, a veggie or a vegan, there’s plenty to choose from – and it’s a great way to support a local business and some independent food outlets.
The street food vendors are open Thursday to Sunday every week, 12pm to 10pm, and the Southsea Deli is open daily from 8am (10am on weekends). Make sure to follow Outside-In on Instagram and Facebook to see the weekly menu offerings from the vendors, and visit their website here.
If you do visit, I’d love to know what you tried! Leave me a comment and let me know.
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