Porchetta & Co.
Porchetta & Co. is a carnivore's dream. On a cold wintery day, venturing here is akin to walking into a bacon-scented sauna. The tiny restaurant welcomes its patrons with steamy windows, a rustic decor and piping hot meat.
The menu is as diminutive as the venue's five-person capacity: pork on a bun or pork in a plate, plus a handful of side dishes. But the simplicity is misleading - meticulously prepared, Porchetta's fares are far from typical.
For good measure, we choose to sample each main dish - the Porchetta Plate with baked romano beans as the selected side ($8.95) and the Porchetta Sandwich ($5,.95) topped with an order of braised rapini ($0.75).
As our meat is dished out, we inquire about its preparation. We are told the process begins with pork selected from Beretta Organic Farms, which is then marinated for 24 hours. The butterflied pork shoulders are then wrapped in salty prosciutto and covered in pork belly; the fleshy creation is then roasted, slow cooked, and served.
We manage to claim two vintage metal stools and set our plates down on a reclaimed wood table. In front of us is an array of mustards and hot sauce, which we excitedly dig into. As we begin to eat, I overhear the server telling a customer that one's first Porchetta experience is better if the meat is eaten "straight up," no toppings. Too late for us.
The Porchetta Plate consists of a stack of meat and a considerable portion of baked beans. The meat is incredibly rich, each sliver lined with salty, buttery fat. The beans are hearty, slightly sweet and generously meaty.
The Porchetta sandwich is simply described as "perfect," with hunks of glistening meat between fresh sourdough bread from the nearby Caldense bakery. The braised rapini gives it a bitter but tasty kick.
As we eat, throngs of people flow in and out, grabbing lunch to go. Despite the cold and the constantly open door, the heat emanating from the kitchen keeps the restaurant warm and cozy.
For "dessert," we try a small portion of the split pea and ham hock soup ($3.95). It is thick and flavourful and undoubtedly a perfect (and perfectly Canadian) option for the cold weather. However, our meat-induced coma has kicked in and we are unable to finish.
Porchetta and Co. is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Photos by Courtney Lee Yip