Championship Chow: Hartgill's Seafood
Portsmouth PO1 3PU
Portsmouth seems to have been a city in transition for a few years now. Its stern, concete centre has always been offset by the natural setting of the port and peninsula tip location but, a few years back, developers got tired of the pervading scruffiness and hoisted aloft a huge viewing platform in the shape of a sail – this Spinnaker now bestrides all, sitting atop a modern mall replete with all those usual footballer favourites: Nando’s, Franky and Benny’s, Jamie’s Italian and the like.
But along The Hard – a the stretch of pavement that links said bland modernity with the Royal Dockyards, one comes across Hartgill’s Seafood – a brisk purveyor of those punnets of goodies indissoluble from thoughts of the English coast. It’s a traditional affair and of course suitable for a snack rather than a full meal – but wth a couple of proud pubs lying derelict across the way, provides an attractive option, particularly in view of Fratton Park’s encirclement by the retail sheds of modern Britain.
The choice is exemplary – cockles, whelks, mussels etc. – all accompanied by helpful descriptions of the items’ origins – even the derivation of that unfathomable phenomenon crab sticks is explained. Run by the friendly Michael Hartgill, the hut was apparently under threat at the time Pompey were considering a new stadium along this stretch of waterfront. Thankfully, the doom mongering displayed in this 2007 article from The News proved to be unfounded.