Located on King and Portland; Portland Variety is brought to you by Milton Nunes of bakery-cafe, Le Gourmand on Spadina. The 2,400-square-foot space features a standing-room cafe at the front which serves pastries, and coffee drinks during the day, and at night, it transforms to a cocktail bar. Portland Variety recently added brunch to their menu, and released their winter menu back in December. I have stopped by Portland Variety on a few occasions for their coffee and pastries in the early mornings. However, I was not aware that they expanded their café where it currently has the capacity to seat 82 guests in the back until I attended the winter menu launch. It was there where I got a taste of new head chef Matt Cowan's Euro-inspired bistro dishes with a mix of Canadian cuisine. All of the dishes served the night of the media menu launch were shareable, and there was plenty of food.

The menu at Portland Variety features a fusion of Canadian, French, and Spanish cuisine offering shareable plates for both lunch and dinner.  I was thoroughly impressed by the quality of the food, and there were a few highlights that I would recommend trying. One of the main highlights was the grilled octopus, which was juicy, and well-flavored. The octopus was charred, so there was a nice smokey taste to it. Normally, I find that the flavor of octopus tends to be rather mild, but the addition of the chorizo jam definitely added extra flavor to it. Another dish that I enjoyed was the Piri Piri fried hen flavored with hot honey glaze, which had a nice balance of sweet and spicy. 

Ceviche is a popular seafood dish in South America, and is available on the menu at Portland Variety. It's typically made from fresh raw fish, and marinated in citrus juices, which helps to cure the fish. Chef Matt Cowan's rendition is a beautifully presented and colorful dish. The Nikkei ceviche is filled with chunks of striped bass with a layer of aji de maracuya sauce making it a very refreshing and light main course. Additionally, Portland Variety also offers several small bites on the menu, and I enjoyed them all. However, if I had to choose, I would say that the cassava fries were the tastiest. It is definitely a healthier alternative as it was baked yet it still remains crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. The cauliflower "popcorn" was a crowd favorite, and is such a creative way to prepare cauliflower.

Lastly, the bite sized beignets was the perfect end to a great dinner. The deep-fried choux pastry is lightly powdered with sugar, and filled with sweet vanilla custard. As for drinks - Portland Variety serves up plenty of classic and in-house cocktails. If you're not a cocktail drinker, then there are draught beers, bottled beers, and sangria on the drinks menu. Dinner at Portland Variety was a very nice surprise, and I really enjoyed it as I left satisfied and full. The cafe/restaurant is open 7 days a week, and they have upped their game by offering brunch as well.

Iberico Chorizo Croquettas ($11)


Salted Caramel Old Fashioned ($14) - bulleit bourbon, salted caramel liquor, orange essence,
angostura & a&p bitters

Cassava Fries ($8)

Cauliflower "Popcorn" ($8)

Champagne a la Fouqette ($27) - piper heidsieck champagne, st. remy vsop, eau de tea syrup, yellow chartuese, mint, blackberries

Black Kale ($11) - chevre noir, pickled grapes, hazelnuts, burnt honey dressing

Roasted Heirloom Roots ($15) - burrata, tarragon, walnut pesto, herbs

Whipped House-Made Ricotta ($14) - spice roasted plums, pistachios, grilled sourdough

Nikkei Ceviche ($21) - striped bass, aji de maracuya, persimmons, taro chips

Grilled Octopus ($21) - chorizo jam

Piri Piri Fried Hen ($18) - hot honey glaze

Sticky Lamb Ribs ($23) - harissa & maple glaze, spicy peanut brittle

Braised Shortribs ($32) - truffled semolina polenta, glazed roots

Gnocchi alla Romana ($18) - kabocha & burnt butter puree, pinenuts, sage

Beignets ($7) - bite sized vanilla custard doughnuts

Address: 587 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1M5

Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PortlandVariety/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/PortlandVariety/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/portlandvariety
Website: http://www.portlandvariety.com/

Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Portland Variety Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Portland Variety

by on Monday, February 01, 2016
Located on King and Portland; Portland Variety is brought to you by Milton Nunes of bakery-cafe, Le Gourmand on Spadina. The 2,400-square...
Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill is a Mongolian-inspired DIY stir-fry and Northern Chinese buffet on Don Mills Road in North York, ON. The restaurant is separated into two sections - the Mongolian grill and the buffet area that serves Chinese hot foods. It should be noted that they do not serve Mongolian food here at Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill. Rather, it's a borrowed concept from the legend of the great warrior, Genghis Khan, from the 13th century. Back then, Genghis Khan and his soldiers would prepare and cook their meals on their upturned shields over a hot fire, and would use their swords to cook the ingredients. This is pretty much where the concept originated from, and it has been popularized throughout the world.

The concept is pretty simple, as diners would choose various ingredients from the displays to combine together to make their desired bowls. Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill offers an array of meats, ingredients, vegetables, and sauces to mix and match, so there's definitely something for everyone. First up was the meat station where you have the option to choose from lamb, pork, chicken, and beef. I recommend taking more than 4-5 slice of meat, as they do shrink in size on the grill. I was impressed with the variety of sauces that they offer, as there were plenty of pre-made sauces, and oils/seasonings (chili oil, sesame oil, fish sauce, cooking wine, etc ...)  available. After choosing your meat, you would then add whatever vegetables, type of noodle, and sauces you want, and then take it to the grill to be cooked. The griddle operator/chef would then take your raw bowl, and cook it on the large, and round iron grill  (with the addition of oil and water). The grill is rather hot, so it cooks quite fast within 5 minutes time (heats up to 300 °C).

They had a wide selection of  vegetables and noodles options to choose from.

 Several sauces are available to customize as you pleases.


I ate two bowls of noodles from the Mongolian Grill. I opted for udon the first time around, and then switched it up to egg noodles for my second bowl. I picked the right combination of sauces, and they tasted great.


To the left of the restaurant was the traditional Chinese buffet offering things such as fried rice, stir-fry vegetables, noodles, ribs, chicken wings, dim sum etc ... The selection wasn't too bad, but was limited compared to other Chinese buffets. However, the Mongolian grill is the main attraction of Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill anyway. Price wise, I would say it's on par with buffets in the area as dinner for an adult is $23.95 (Mon to Thu) and $26.95 (Weekends/Holidays).


The dessert buffet table consisted of a chocolate fountain with fondue, cakes, brownies, cream puffs, and slices of fresh fruits.

Overall, it was a fun yet unique dining experience, and I really enjoyed creating my own noodle bowls. The restaurant was a little far for us (as we drove from downtown), but it's a nice place to have dinner with family or friends. 

Address: 900 Don Mills Rd, North York, ON M3C 1V6

Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GenghisKhanMongolianGrill/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mongolianbbqto/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mongolianbbqto
Website: http://www.ggkbbq.com/

Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill

by on Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill is a Mongolian-inspired DIY stir-fry and Northern Chinese buffet on Don Mills Road in North York, ON. The re...
Cacao 70 is a popular chocolate cafe franchise from Montreal. They recently opened in the space that temporarily housed Balzac's Coffee Roasters earlier this November. The timing couldn't have been more perfect as the cafe's launch coincided with the popular annual Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District during the holiday season. I was invited to Cacao 70 Distillery to try a few items on their menu, and I didn't hesitate, as I have a major sweet tooth. This was actually my dinner that Thursday night (chocolate dinner FTW). Cacao 70 Distillery's space was bright with an open kitchen concept, so you could see the kitchen staff make the chocolate dishes. Open for brunch (weekend), lunch, and dinner; I would say that it's the perfect spot if you love sweets, and chocolates.

While perusing the menu, I realized just how extensive their premium chocolate offering was. They have a great chocolate collection consisting of chocolates from worldwide ($9.75 each) consisting of various cacao content. I opted for the 66% Mexico - complex aromas of subtle taste and with a long lasting taste which reveals warm, woody, spicy and tobacco flavors. Each hot chocolate arrives in a metal mug of regular hot chocolate, and a cognac glass containing the respective premium chocolate, and rimmed with the chocolate as well. You have to mix the liquid content with the melted chocolate to make your preferred hot chocolate mixture.

I started off with the Nutella and Fruit Crêpe ($11) - a thin French crepe with Nutella and fruits (choice of strawberries, bananas or raspberries) drizzled with chocolate sauce. Strawberries, and chocolate hazelnut spread are the perfect combination when it comes to sweet crêpes.

My favorite dessert of the night was the Strawberry and Cheesecake Crêpe ($15.75) - a thin French crepe stuffed with cheesecake and served with fresh strawberries, homemade berry sauce, melted chocolate and chocolate-covered ice cream. This was a perfectly decadent dessert stuffed with pieces of rich and creamy cheesecakes, and it definitely satisfied my chocolate craving.

Besides sweets, Cacao 70 Distillery also offered some savory options such as various crêpes. J ordered the Feel Good About Yourself Pressed Crêpe Sandwich ($14.25) - smoked turkey, mushrooms, tomatoes and Swiss cheese served with a green salad, which was a surprisingly light dish.

He also got a small cup of American Style Hot Chocolate (small is $5.25) - Cacao 70's classic hot chocolate served with marshmallows and drizzled with melted chocolate (choice of milk, semi-sweet, or dark).

We visited during their opening week, and noticed that there was an issue of the cafe being understaffed. Due to the media exposure, and The Toronto Christmas Market, they had a consistent amount of customers coming into the cafe to dine. This issue was relayed, and I was told at the time that they were working on getting more staff. I am assuming that by now that the issue has been resolved, and the service is more steady. It didn't completely ruin my dining experience, as I found the desserts to be quite delicious. Although, Cacao 70 Distillery specializes in chocolate-based desserts, they do have their fair share of savory options, and a full brunch menu until 4 pm. Be sure to pop by this chocolate cafe located in the Distillery District if you're craving for some sweets. It's a great place to catch up with some girlfriends, and even date nights.

Address: 28 Gristmill Lane, Toronto, ON M5A 3C4

Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cacao70
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cacao70official/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cacao70_mtl
Website: http://cacao70.ca/

Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Cacao 70 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cacao 70 Distillery

by on Tuesday, January 05, 2016
Cacao 70 is a popular chocolate cafe franchise from Montreal. They recently opened in the space that temporarily housed Balzac's Coffe...