Thursday, July 17, 2014

LAUNCH | Portland Variety - a café, bakery & tapas bar, all-in-one on King West

The newest business to grace the bustling King West neighbourhood is no other than Portland Variety. When I first heard the name, I couldn't quite figure out whether it would be a convenience store, a snack shop, a cafe, or a bakery.  Little did I know, it's actually a café and bakery from 7AM to 3PM and transforms at 5PM, into a tapas restaurant and cocktail bar serving delicious and sharable pintxos.  Portland Variety caters to pretty much everyone at any time of the day or night. I mean, the name says it all, doesn't it?

Grilled Octopus with Iberico Chorizo, smoked tomato, olive oil & lemon ($18.00)
All photos by: Katie P. 

Location on King St., just off Portland St., it's a great spot to drop by in the morning for a cup of latte and a pastry or in the evening for drinks and sharable plates with friends or coworkers. On the weekend, indulge in some of their delicious cocktails with a date. I told you, they have everything, for everyone in the neighbourhood! That's what owners Ralf Madi and Milton Nunes are striving for - to become part of the neighbourhood as a local.

 Portland Variety Café offers organic drip coffee and espresso from local micro roasters as well as delectable pastries and goodies baked in-house daily.  In the morning, take advantage of their grab-and-go breakfast treats - gone are the days of coffee replacing an actual breakfast (I'm guilty of that sometimes).

As I mentioned, from 5PM onwards, Portland Variety becomes a tapas bar opening the back area with 150-seat dining room with a casual, welcoming but modern and handsome atmosphere. Their dinner offerings are unique and indulgent plates with a nod to Spanish, North African, French and Greek cuisines.  My favourite part of the night was the rotating selection of pintxos (little Spanish "snacks") to complement my cocktail. 

Some of their offerings from the media tasting last week:

Right: The Royal Garden over an ice sphere

 "Pintxos" - little Spanish snacks to accompany the cocktails range from $2 to $10:

Left: Tequila Bong ($15.00); Right:

House Made Ricotta with honey hazelnuts & pear ($9.00)

 Baby Eggplant with byaldi confit ($7.00)

Left: Local 587 ($12.00) ; Right: Smoking Gun ($14.00)

 Shrimp Pil Pil with chili garlic oil ($17.00)

 22oz. Canadian AAA Porcini Rubbed Ribeye with caramelized onions & Casava Frites ($45.00)

Chilled Seafood Platter - shrimp, smoked trout, lobster, clams and brown butter ($45.00)

Chickpeas with harissa, waffron sweet potato & zucchini ($9.00)

 Lemon Grass Granit ewith local cherries & strawberry consome

Dark Chocolate Praline Mousse

Vanilla Bean Beignets with chocolate sauce

What an outstanding venue, perfect for a variety of occasions. One may think that Portland Variety is taking on too much, catering to the morning, lunch and dinner crowd with different offerings but after this visit, they seem to have quite the handle on that! We're not worried and can not wait to go back.

-Our meal at this event was complimentary but opinions are our own-

Portland Variety Cafe on Urbanspoon

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