Friday, August 14, 2015

Portland Restaurant: Hamlet

9.12.15 Update: 
Co-owner Ryan Magarian invited us back to Hamlet for another try after reading our initial review. We sampled the Melon vs. Meat and Endless Midnight cocktails for a second time and were happy to find that when made with a more experienced hand, the flavors, though still nuanced, were much more enjoyable.

Ryan also let us play a round of his bartender's choice game. He asks your favorite drink plus a random, spur-of-the-moment question (Katie's was "Who's your favorite male actor?"). Her answers: a southside and Chris Pine. Ryan delivered The Monarch which is basically all our favorite cocktail ingredients combined: gin, St. Germain, mint, and lemon. Well, done Ryan! Thanks for inviting us back- we're glad we gave Hamlet another shot!

What: Hamlet
Where: 232 NW 12th Ave
Honey's Heart: Giving second chances  

Katie and I try our best to keep up with the Portland food scene and often know of places and have them on our list for a few weeks before we're actually able to coordinate our schedules and get there. That was the case with Hamlet, the new project for Cathy Whims, Ryan Magarian, and Kurt Huffman.

After a Children's Cancer Association event, we stopped by Hamlet for a drink and snack to share. Hamlet has a great location in the Pearl next to an old favorite from our college days, Vault. Tuesday after Memorial Day weekend (whoa this post is old), the restaurant was fairly quiet and we took a seat at the bar.

We started with two cocktails- Melon vs. Meat made with gin, lemon juice, honeydew juice, orange bitters, and prosciutto, and Endless Midnight made with pisco, green chartreuse, blackberries, lime juice, simple syrup, and an egg white.

It seemed interesting at first that the exact cocktail recipes were printed on the menu (we could steal these and make them at home!), but after being generally underwhelmed by our drinks, we decided maybe it wasn't such a risky move. The Melon vs. Meat was reminiscent of diluted honeydew water while the other shockingly had very little flavor at all despite its bevy of ingredients.

For food, we turned to the selection of pig. I love some ham, prosciutto, speck, I'm all for it, but after our spendy weekend in Vancouver, BC, we weren't looking to spend $16+ on some ham to share, so we went for the $8 ham and salted butter sandwich.

Not that it wasn't good, and sometimes the most basic combo is also the most satisfying, but we felt like we could have made this and picnicked in the park with some rosé for a fraction of the cost.

The warm (hot) olives ($5) were good, but not special enough to compensate for our otherwise disappointing stop by Hamlet. Sorry Cathy, we won't be back.