Busy Bank Holiday Weekend

Snapped the team getting organised for service…

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Best Newcomer & Sober

By Friday afternoon, we’d just about recovered from Wednesday night’s post-awards-do-celebrations (we won ‘Best Newcomer’ at the Chester Food & Drink Festival) and thought we’d record the event with some photographs outside Porta with Chef Javier, who couldn’t make it to the dinner itself.

It didn’t snow all day and we pretended it was spring.

Ben, Joe, Vicki & Javier.

Ben, Joe, Vicki & Javier.

Joe, Emily, Vicki, Javier

Joe, Emily, Vicki, Javier

Emily, Vicki & Javier

Emily, Vicki & Javier

Emily & Vicki frown at Javier

Emily & Vicki frown at Javier

Vicki & Javier

Vicki & Javier

 

 

 

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WINNER!!! – ‘Best Newcomer’

We won, we won!

‘Best Newcomer’ at the 2013 Chester Food & Drink Festival Awards.

Really brilliant news; we’re all thrilled (and today, a little tired!).

Well-chuffed! Joe, Vicki and Ben.

Well-chuffed! Joe, Vicki and Ben.

 

 

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Operation Porta Tapas is a GO!

So yes, we’re now open. What can I say? Brilliant start. Thanks so much to all of you who have called in already. We’re blown away with all the positive comments and good wishes. We really appreciate the support.

Hopefully, with a bit of nurturing and a bit of wear and tear, Porta will become a reliable, comfortable, simple place to come and hang out. One of the nicest things anyone has said so far was that it looks like it’s been here for ages.

Here’s a few pictures from the first couple of days…

 

 

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Staff tasting and trial run!!

Last Sunday we got Porta open for a staff tasting and an almost full trial run!

With all the dirty building work done, we had a chance to fire up all the cooking equipment and for Javier and Joe to play with their new toys. It was also a good opportunity to see what was completely missing decor-wise and, most crucially, make sure the cava was still up to scratch and that the beer pumps worked correctly!!

Here’s a few pictures I took on the night. Not many of the seating areas… but that’s not where the action was!

 

 

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Yellow? Are you sure?

Took the plunge this week and made a paint-colour decision for the front of the shop.

Our attention-grabbing front door

High impact, attention-grabbing… and… different? We’re sticking with it!

For now.

This pic taken to feature in the new issue of In Out magazine. A tricky proposition, to make a building site look like a presentable, attractive (open) tapas bar!

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Officially Welcome Chef Javier Riquelme.

Chef Javier Alvarez Riquelme

We’re extremely pleased to announce appointment of Javier Riquelme as full time chef. Javier will be Chef in Porta when we open in a few weeks time.

Javier has been with us for 6 weeks after applying for a position in our kitchens at Joseph Benjamin.

With ten years of kitchen experience in his native Madrid – with stints in Ireland and the UK as well – his experience, knowledge and passion for all things food-related, make him a great addition to the team and perfectly placed to help us develop Porta.

Welcome!

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School trip to London

Joe and I took the team on a flying trip to London after work on Sunday night. The objective was to get everybody to experience some of the things that have been our inspiration behind Porta and also to do a few supplier visits and tastings.

Got the train down and got to London for 9pm-ish on Sunday. Taxi straight to Barrafina in Soho for dinner. Monday was a whirlwind of food and drink…. I think we managed 10 meals in 24 hours (plus a tasting or two at different suppliers/importers), and got back to rainy Chester for midnight on Monday.

A brilliant day out – I think everyone is starting to ‘get it’!!

From left: Joe, Vicki, Javier, Ben, Lukasz & Richard at Barrafina.

The bar at Barrafina. We were seriously well looked after!

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Tortilla Espanola. Seriously.

Joe and Javier conduct an extremely important discussion and tasting session this afternoon…

..tortilla, tortilla Espanola.

tortilla-testing

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A peek at progress…

Amazing leaps forward in the last week or so – Porta is coming to life. We’ve now got a bar with an actual floor (one of those practical, flat ones). Beer lines are installed ready to be hooked up later and it’s been joinery-mad with all that reclaimed wood we found, which is looking great and complementing the old original features like that black brick floor.

Kitchen equipment is being ordered and the ‘kitchen’ (tiny corner of the bar) is coming together.

Progress also on staff with some lovely people in for trial shifts recently and our newest recruit (Chef, Javier), progressing well.

How about some pictures…

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