There’s been a revolution in Portsmouth’s café and eatery scene over the past few years. Hunter Gatherer on Albert Road is the latest welcome addition to Southsea’s selection of artisan coffeeshops.
A warmly minimalistic venue, Hunter Gatherer is influenced by its well-travelled founders Brian and Dani, who are passionate about fresh top-quality products and an eclectic artistic atmosphere — something which stems from their experiences living and working around the globe.
On a sunny autumn day, we sat down with owners — and partners! — Brian and Dani to discuss their exciting new venture.
What was the inspiration for setting up Hunter Gatherer and where did your shared love for coffee originate from?
Brian and Dani first met whilst working for a Dutch footwear startup in Colombia. Brian lived in Paris and Dani lived in New York, where she’d moved after completing her studies in Kansas City.
After kindling their relationship in Colombia, the pair needed to work out where their lives were headed! Whilst pondering this life-changing matter in their favourite coffeeshop, Pergamino Café in Medellín, they decided to make their own contribution to the coffee revolution.
Brian and Dani were no strangers to the coffee uprising around the world. Brian enjoyed boutique coffee brands whilst living in Melbourne in Australia, and Dani’s Colombian routes had exposed her to some of the best coffee in the world.
With plenty of knowledge under their belts, the coffee aficionados needed to work out where their new venture would be sited. Brian’s family connections with Portsmouth — he’s a Southsea boy! — brought him back to our island city, and Dani soon followed.
The pair honed their barista skills at another much-loved coffee shop: Canvas Coffee, based at Portsmouth and Southsea Railway Station.
Brian recalls saying:
“You know that place where I said grew up and I said wasn’t very nice? Well, it’s actually really nice now!”
Why did you settle in Portsmouth?
Portsmouth — originally meant to be a stopgap for the coffee lovers as they eyed artistically-renowned locations like Margate — became the location of their new business, and the place where the couple decided to start their young family, with the arrival of baby Hunter — inspiration for the new venture’s name.
It’s a great testament to the city of Portsmouth that two well-travelled, enthusiastic entrepreneurs were captivated by what the city has to offer.
Brian explained: “I was out of the country for a good ten years, having lived in Paris, New York, Australia, and Colombia. My family had always had a business in Portsmouth, and we used to love spending time at the family beach hut during long hot summers and visiting local eateries like Tenth Hole.
“It was fantastic to see such a positive change. Seeing the local craft breweries, unique restaurants like 6oz Burger, all of the amazing local pubs, wonderful events like Victorious Festival on Southsea Common, the cafés, and the seafront — they all helped convince me that Portsmouth was vibrant and full of open-minded, forward-thinking people, which is certainly not what the city was like when I left it!”
Dani, who had her heart set on settling in Margate, only had the vision of Portsmouth that she’d been fed, and wasn’t mindful to the opportunities in our island city.
“For me, it was a case of refocusing the lens and actually opening my eyes to what the city had to offer. I quickly realised that Portsmouth is an upcoming area, with easy travel routes to London, and it’s close to the seaside, and has a fantastic creative community.
“We quickly decided that the city would be the ideal base for our new venture, and the home for our family.”
Brian explains that part of the draw of Portsmouth is the eclectic mix of inhabitants, the old and new architecture standing side by side, and also the charm of the older seafront relics like South Parade Pier and Clarence Pier fun fair.
What does Hunter Gatherer have to offer?
The purpose of Hunter Gatherer was creating community space in a unique location, and the pair settled on the east side of Albert Road — a location that Dani loves for its melange of businesses and charity shops, and where she spends many hours looking for items to reuse at home and in the café.
Brian’s love of top-quality products can be seen through the brands he buys, including Sunday Roast, Craft House Coffee, and Pharmacie Coffee Roasters. Dani’s passion for food and art has led to Hunter Gatherer being filled with upcycled craft finds from around the globe, and an ever-evolving menu of delightful fresh food.
For tea lovers, there’s also a great mix of teas from another Portsmouth Business All about Tea, including Southsea Grey, English Meadow Green Tea, Autumn Mist, and Portsmouth Tea.
Current coffee being served consist of a 50% Colombia, 50% Brazilian mix for expresso and to serve as the base for milk drinks from Craft House Coffee, and single origin filter coffees from Ethiopia for the café’s ‘Filter Friday’s’. Central and South American, as well as African coffees will also soon feature on the menu.
Food served from 9:00am to 3:00pm daily includes smashed avocado on sourdough toast, freshly made super seed granola, poached eggs on sourdough, homemade soup, a choice of daily specials like their ever popular ‘Buddha Bowls’, and a whole host of health conscious snacks to enjoy with your freshly brewed coffee.
The road ahead for Hunter Gatherer
On top of developing their food and drink offerings, Hunter Gatherer will be looking to use their premises for art exhibitions, community meetings, small arts markets, and movie showings.
They’ll also be expanding into their basement space to create a quirky meeting point for local businesses. Brian hopes to create an 80s-themed boardroom, complete with a fax machine and a Constable-esque landscape piece adorning the wall.
Brian and Dani already have a second Hunter Gatherer location in their future plans.