Pomarosa is a restaurant and cafe serving elevated arepas, salads and Latin American drinks made on site from scratch in addition to usual coffee shop fare.
The place is run by Vivian and Luis Hernandez, who are from Colombia and Venezuela, and takes up residence in the spot where another cafe, D’lusso, used to be. Pomarosa is a wild fruit particular to Latin America.
Vivian herself did all the design in the colourful space, including paintings on the wall of a cockatoo and graphic text.
Gluten-free arepas ($10.75) include the “Flores,” a totally vegetarian option filled with a hibiscus flower picadillo cooked with onion and tomato that manages to taste incredibly meaty.
It stuffs an arepa made with beet that’s more for a distinct colour than flavour, along with cheese, avocado, cilantro and a chipotle lime crema.
Twelve-hour slow-cooked pork loin, also known as carnitas, fills another arepa, complemented interestingly by pickled watermelon that adds a bright snap as well as the usual cheese. The pork has been marinated in orange and espresso, cooked sous vide in-house.
One salad, La Maravilla ($7.99) was on the menu during my visit. Baby spinach and baby arugula are topped with cherry tomato, cucumber, pico de gallo, cheese, watermelon radish, and (here’s where it gets interesting) crunchy Peruvian cancha corn, firm pickled avocado, and a flor de jamaica vinaigrette. Add chicken or tofu for an upcharge.
All arepas are made to order by hand.
Venezuelan horchata ($3.99) uses sesame seeds, giving it a slightly different, perhaps toastier and nuttier flavour than most horchata.
Parchita, or passionfruit, juice ($3.99) tastes extremely fresh, light and healthy. They also do a raw organic cane sugar lemonade ($3.25) and a banana peanut butter smoothie ($5.75).
As for coffee, beans are from Pilot and a cappuccino goes for $3.50. All baked goods are from Circles and Squares, but they’re hoping to experiment with hiring a baker to make traditional Colombian treats like alfajores.
If you’re looking for a modernized version of traditional recipes, to try some arepas beyond the usual meat and cheese, or are looking to eat your first, this would be a cute place to find that.
Hands-on operation and a laptop-friendly environment make this a great little east end hangout.