The CBD's newest cafe combines three worthy elements: all-day eating, an ex-Mecca chef and serious support for charity. Now open at No. 1 Martin Place, Portal is an expansive, light-filled space from The Pure Collective, which is also behind Folonomo in Surry Hills. Whether you're there for a mid-morning coffee or a long lunch, you can count on every dollar of profit going to charity.
Portal has taken over No. 1's mezzanine level, with architect Adriano Pupilli's new design featuing an undulating timber ceiling, modern art and sleek splashes of brass and black.
In the kitchen you'll find Michal Siudeja (ex-Mecca, The Farmed Table). He's been busy sourcing seasonal, local ingredients for Portal's menu, including honey from a rooftop beehive in Surry Hills. Kick off your day with a brekkie roll: maple bacon, fried egg, manchego and smoked tomato chutney on a house-made milk bun ($11), or coconut sago pudding with caramelised pineapple and kaffir lime ($9).
Come lunch, Siudeja puts together hearty sandwiches ($10) with whizzbang fillings, like free-range chicken with miso mayo and fried eggplant, bocconcini and romesco. There are bowls ($11), too, based on hero proteins such as braised lamb, confit salmon and soy-sesame tofu.
"I want to keep the menu as fresh as possible. There are lots of healthy grains, poached proteins and raw vegetables from Sydney markets. If we don't make it from scratch, we'll buy from local producers who share the same values," says Siudeja.
On top of donating all profits to charity — with diners able to pick between three different non-profits — Portal provides hospitality training to people of refugee backgrounds, who've settled in Australia but are waiting for work visas.
"These are people in need who have arrived legally and yet have to survive on goodwill until they're able to work. It's a distressing time to say the least," says Nicolas Degryse, co-founder, The Pure Collective."We offer hospitality training as an option, so they can learn skills and hopefully find jobs as soon as they're able to do so."