Portland Variety


In the area where I work, this was a hard spot to miss. The previous place closed down some time ago and this longly anticipated substitute kept us in suspense. Definitely no ordinary "variety" store.


From the outside the whole place is colored black - walls, window frames, fence, all but the bright yellow awnings. Their contrite side patio has a few fancy tall tables and a ledge, but hardly anyone is ever there. I cant wait for the sit-down patio area near the back to open.


Mornings draw quite the line ups to their pastries and coffee, however Cheri and I wanted to have a full sit down breakfast. I should note, the place recently opened for sit down lunch and dinner - a la carte.

One can enter from both King Street and Portland, but watch your step as that entrance still has a window frame enough to make sure you are awake as you stumble on it. The front room is a warm grey with marble high tables and plenty of hand-written chalk items on the walls. For the time being, we ordered at the main line while ogling at the walls. We then asked that they bring us our plates at the restaurant sit down area. That area welcomed us with a teaching sign: "Waiting is an art, so is patience."


This is one trendy place! We first noticed the unique incandescent light fixture - metal mesh cages with naked bulbs which came in various shapes with rustic adjustment knobs. Plenty of light marble table tops and caramel tan leather upholstery to freshen up the grey and blacks all around. A great addition are the extravagant flower arrangements at random places, and of course the large skylight. Overall - a very elegant interior, it felt to us like a modern take on 50s. All this was accented by ambient jazz music, and to be honest we through the way the room is set up would perfect for a small live jazz band once in a while.


We ordered a tea and a coffee which came in regular paper cups with a neat hand-touch - stamped their their logo on the side. Our food did take some time to arrive. We got their "Quite Farm Eggs, Bacon, Aged Cheddar on Croissant "quite a mouthful to order. I sure hope they get more creative with their dish names. This dish was the size of a croissant, cut in half and stuffed with many thin layers of plain omelet, some cheddar and a tad of bacon for a taste. Regardless of it's size this dish was filling and heavy.

Our other choice was their Brown Rice Organic Oats Quinoa Porridge. That was great - not sweet but very flavorful. It came topped with hazelnuts, dried cranberries, and a few slices of strawberry. It was also quite tiny but delicious none-the-less.


As we indulged in our dishes and enjoyed relaxing in the sunbathing interior, the place really felt like a dinner restaurant. We were reminded of a Chicago jazz bar we had gone to a while back. We would definitely be back to see how this ambiance transforms at night, must be quite the contrast.

Portland Variety Cafe on Urbanspoon

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