Porto Vino – The sweet, the salty, the fleshy.
Every once and a while I like to change up things and try something new that people keep asking about. Now I get many questions for where I can find an all-you-can-eat brunch and to be honest I have only been to a handful of them and they tend to be in hotels. Now, to get a background on all-you-can-eat brunches they tend to put out giant buffet spreads. The menus often consist of copious amounts of classic egg dishes, both salty & sweet as well as lunch like options such as meats and pastas. Now I’m kind of old school when it comes to brunch – I don’t mind some stuff that isn’t 100% classic sweet or salty dishes but the full lunch thing turns me off. So what I did in this review is try to compare Porto Vino to all the other all-you-can-eat brunches out there.
At 1st glance
Situated in the West Island on the the service road, Port Vino is one of the few west end places that serves brunch, and to my knowledge the only one that offers an all-you-can-eat option. Brunch is available only on Sundays from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. but the selection is enough to keep you full all weekend long. Generally, Porto Vino is known as a “bring your own wine” Italian resto (hence the name) and it is quite popular for dinner and I’ve always enjoyed it when I have gone. Now, they began offering brunch a couple months ago and I know some people who have gone and enjoyed it so I figure it wouldn’t hurt to try it and have all I can eat. In order to get there you really need to be on the east bound service road of the 40 and it can be tricky to get there so if your coming from the east make sure to exit Blvd Sources and loop onto the east bound service road. Although this sounds simple enough people have missed it and had to repeat this.
Now onto the food, my favourite part. Since this is an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet (as well a Bring your own wine) there will be no break down of the menu items in fact what I did was 4 trips: one for a salty plate, a sweet plate and a meat/fish plate, there was a 4th plate but that was a round up of my favourites and I will spare you my gluttony. Now there are pros and cons to an all-you-can-eat buffet, the pros are simple; it’s all you can eat… I mean you can go back for your favourite dish over and over again and they will always refill it and never run out. The cons are: the cost at $30 is a touch pricey (although in their defense it is all you can eat and that is the average rate for a brunch buffet), lineups can form for food, the food is not as amazing as if it were prepared individually mainly on account that if you get a slow moving item that has been sitting there a while it does not compare to something right out of the kitchen. That being said the food is still good and there’s nothing wrong with it, I just have my preferences.
So for 30 dollars you get access to a veritable ocean of food, the buffet has almost everything you can imagine from smoked salmon, eggs benedict, a chocolate fountain with fruit, mini croissants, an omelette chef as well as a crepe and waffle chef. Its a veritable feast for the eyes and the mouth. So in this section we will break down the food items into 3 sections the sweet, the salty and the fleshy…
The sweet section begins with many large baskets of mini croissants, chocolatines, various toast bread and a toaster so you can make your own. Then you move onto other breads and a variety of cheeses such a blue and camembert to name a few. Later on you move towards a fruit plate and chocolate fountain where you can dunk strawberries and other fruits so you get a chocolatey and healthy start to your day. Now comes the fun stuff: the crepe and waffle station; they have a station chef on deck who who will make flambeed crepes and waffles with an option to add various berries on it. I took a varied selection of the above. The cheeses were tasty and a nice change, the chocolatine were normal and nothing to write home about. This was the same for the mini croisants and the chocolate fountain was a nice touch and added some always appreciated chocolate to my morning. Now the crepe and waffle station with its own chef was really nice so had both the crepe and waffle and they make it in front of you and flambée it to top it off. The waffle was better than the crepe and although it’s not much to look at since all the berries tend to get messy but it sure tastes good.
Now comes round 2 “the salty”. Whereas the sweet table was a short one, the salty or more classic breakfast ones is twice the size and three times the wait. They have eggs benedict, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, hash browns, an omelette station with its own chef (who will also make other classic egg dishes i.e. over easy if you ask). The selection is quite good and they even have other stuff closer to lunch like pastas and meat but I will save that for the next section. They have large amounts of everything and they make an effort to fill it up frequently. Now on my first run I went for a classic breakfast “eggcentric” approach. I loaded up on beans, eggs benedict, sausage bacon and scrambled eggs. The eggs benedict were a touch salty and the sauce was average, the scrambled eggs were good, sausage as well, the bacon was ok but the beans were amazing and I kept going back for those.
I wish I could have come up with a better name for this section but to be honest, it is about fish and meat and I really like my ‘the good, the bad and the ugly idea’. The fish and meat leg of the all-you-can-eat race is the final and most interesting. We begin with the various fish pâté, a generous smoked salmon spread, an interesting crab meat stuffed in an avocado shell with guacamole, nice tasty mussels, fried fish, pasta and a roast beef station with a guy cutting it for you – how amazing is that? Overall I focused heavily on the fish and meat, I did not feel like having pasta and frankly think that it’s place on a brunch offering is unnecessary but I do concede the fact that people do like it and it is an option for those that are not egg and breakfast fans (it’s ok, they are allowed to be wrong). I was quite please with the offering, the smoked salmon was fresh and tasty, the stuffed avocado was novel and delicious, the mussels fresh as well and the roast beef was moist and a great way to end off my plate.
Service was comprised of the coffee refill guy who came frequently, the person who cleared the plates (who by the way was fast as lightning) and the 2 station chefs who were not that talkative but did a good job.
There are vegetarian options and but few vegan ones and only if you stick to the fruit and to be honest 30$ for all-you-can-eat fruit isn’t a great deal. The vegetarian options are varied and you can fill up rather quickly and feel like you got your money’s worth.
Keeping in mind that most all-you-can-eat brunch places are in the similar price range, Porto Vino does give you good value. Do make sure to time your trips to the stations correctly since the lineups can take a while and don’t show up late since the options are fresher earlier on. Overall if you want to go to an all you can eat brunch place then Porto Vino is a must and you will not be disappointed.
| 1290 Rte Transcanadienne
Montreal, QC H9P 1H7
Sunday 10:00 a.m-2:00 p.m.
|Bottomless Cup Of Coffee||YES|