Porchetta for Brunch at Porco

Porco Brunch

September 26, 2018

in Food, NDG / Westmount

When you go to a place called “Porco”, it goes without saying that you know what you’re in for. It’s obvious enough no? Pork! At Porco in N.D.G, it’s not just any pork. It’s gloriously succulent Italian porchetta – a savoury Italian pork roast heavy in garlic, rosemary, fennel and other aromatic herbs. I’ve had Porco’s porchetta a couple of years back during the Monkland Street Festival, but it’s been a minute and was fiending for their luscious cubes of pork topped with ear shattering crispy pork skin. I hit up Porco for not only their great porchetta, but porchetta for brunch!

I went to Porco for brunch. A spot that serves two of my most favourite things in the world, pork and brunch (on weekends). The menu runs the gamut of brunch and breakfasty items, from avocado toast served on sourdough with a green salad, to a classic breakfast with choice of eggs, homemade sausage patty and potatoes to a classic Italian pasta cacio e pepe.

Porco brunch
With such a varied menu, one of the only natural choices was the fried chicken and pancakes. The chicken was tender and juicy. The batter was crunchy and when doused with maple syrup, that classic contrast of sweet and savoury hits the spot. The pancakes can use some work. They were thick and dense and the texture was off as well. There were “ridges” within the pancake, similar to how you would stir an omelette to make curds. It was almost as though a ladle of batter was put on the griddle, then more was added afterward as the pancake cooked to make the pancake bigger, forming ridges. In any case, the edges were paper thin, the pancake didn’t rise and it was like eating a mousepad.

The Porchetta platter piqued my interest. “Sliced rosemary garlic porchetta served with
crotonese cheese, bread, and picante” – Italian chili oil. I asked the waitress how this dish was served and if this is the best way to experience the porchetta in all its glory. She confirmed that it’s pretty much a deconstructed sandwich. I was down. It had been a while since I had Porco’s porchetta and my body was ready.

The bread was stale, the cheese was sharp and the picante was great (I asked for a refill) but let’s focus on the pork. I wanted, no, I needed, no no… I yearned for that sweet, sweet, roasted pork topped with crunchy pork skin. Before getting there, all I could think of was how many napkins I’d end up using to use wipe the juicy porchetta fat running down my chin as I bit into slices of expertly cooked meat.

I legit got a pile of chopping board trimmings.

What I thought would be unctuous slabs of juicy pork was in fact brittle shards of what seemed to be whatever was on the chopping board, scraped into a pile on served up as “porchetta”. Mix that with large nuggets of lukewarm fat and top that with a sprinkling of pebbly pork skin (which was more of a nuisance to eat than the typical delight,) you have a $26 porchetta plate. This “deconstructed porchetta sandwich” was $5 more than the actual porchetta sandwich on the menu, even with the extra add-ons – porchetta sandwich ($13) served with breakfast potatoes, add crotonese cheese +$2, add fried egg +$2, upgrade breakfast potatoes to a hash +$4.

Sure, the pork tasted ok. The off-putting textured pork-matter tasted nice even though each mouthful had the consistency of pre-chewed food. It was aromatic in rosemary and garlic.

Disappointed is an understatement, considering the many times I’ve had their porchetta before and how much I enjoyed it. Service was mediocre at best, friendly, but inattentive. What was the blitz in this porchetta crux? The fact that it was brunch? Did they run out of pork and really cleared the chopping block onto my plate, am I not in the know and this is how people are serving porchetta now? Someone please tell me.

5674 Monkland

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