Hot spot: Portland

Jo Seymour-Taylor, client services director at Stir PR, pays a visit to Portland

The story

Portland has been on my restaurant ‘bucket list’ all year. It’s highly rated among critics and, most importantly, owned by Will Lander, son of wine guru Jancis Robinson and food writer Nicholas Lander. As I’m sure you can imagine, expectations were high.

The reality

Laid-back setting, open kitchen and friendly staff. Although the menu wasn’t huge, each dish was created to tantalise the taste buds, whether it was the stunning barbecue eel with a kick of wasabi, or one of the equally delicious veggie options consisting of hay-baked carrots, goat’s curd and roasted hazelnuts. Daily specials are handwritten on their chalk board, adding variety to the boutique menu. As for the wine list, it was as fantastic as I’d hoped, divided into ‘textbook’, ‘left field’ and ‘special’. Most wines are available by the glass, which certainly caters for those on a ‘working’ lunch. 

The damage

Reasonable, but I’d have expected it to be lighter due to the relaxed atmosphere. The bill came to £220 for three.

Dining experience **** 

Portland isn’t a cosy, get-stuck-in, stay-all-day restaurant, but that’s no bad thing. The decor is fresh, the service comes with a smile and everyone knows what they’re talking about when it comes to the wine. No doubt, Jancis is pleased. 

Chances of a last-minute booking ***

As this restaurant is new and highly rated, book in advance so you don’t miss out.

Client wow factor *****

The food certainly takes centre stage. It’s not only delicious, it looks beautiful. Needless to say, there were quite a few Instagram posts afterwards. 

Overall ****

I would certainly go back. The unusual dishes are a delight to the eyes, mouth and stomach and the service is faultless.

Reviewed by Jo Seymour-Taylor, client services director, Stir PR

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