HUIS, or HOME in Flemish, has been a long time coming. This gestating project was born from one man’s desire for a career change and a love of Belgium beers. For a number of years Simon had expressed an almost whimsical desire to open up a Belgium themed bar, and each time I heard him discuss it two thoughts sprang to mind: yes please and good luck getting the council to approve an alcohol license for beers that ran into the 11%. Portsmouth and Southsea has always held a tough stance on alcohol, in fact this is the only city I know where you can still be IDed well into your thirties. If pink burgers are deemed an issue then surely selling bottles of Delirium Nocturnum on Elm Grove has to be a no no? Thankfully this was not the case and HUIS, Southsea’s first Belgium bar, got the green light. And what a fantastic place it is too.
From top to bottom, the décor and branding oozes Retro Flemish Cool™: from the minimal clean lines and muted colours to the vintage adornments peppered around the bar. Everything has clearly been carefully considered and thought out. But let’s get down to the real business; what about the beers? Is HUIS going to settle with passing off entry level Affligem as a top dollar import? You bet not. Simon has drawn from his extensive knowledge of Belgium beers by creating a thorough drinks list that is sure to meet even the most fastidious of palates (Delirium, Rochefort, St Barnadus, Duchesse de Bourgogne and many more). And guess what? No matter the percentage nothing breaks the £5.20 mark; a conscious decision that is sure to keep me, and many others, returning. Not one for strong beers? The in-house HUIS draft beers (wheat and blonde) also provide a great alternative if you are after something a little lighter. Food wise you will be treated to hearty traditional fare such as moules frites, flammenkuche and jarred de porc. Ideal accompaniments for thick treacly beers. Dessert wise look no further than the next level banana, ice cream and chocolate waffle.
HUIS is a welcomed addition to Elm Grove, a tough and long old road which has perhaps always struggled with it’s identity slightly. However compare Osborne Road now to what it was like five years ago and the difference is like chalk and cheese. Or beer and cheese as is the case now. If anything HUIS is another great example of what creatively fertile ground we live on. For a long time it has felt like Southsea nurtures the ideal ecosystem to get your niche business ideas off the ground. After all it really wasn’t that long ago that two unkempt beatniks decided to peddle records and pies on Castle Road, and they seem to be doing alright.
Simon, any chance of some Gouden Carolus in those beer fridges?