Two nights in Portland, and so many places to eat. As we were meeting a friend Friday night, the venue, saucebox, was a last minute choice.
We called about 6pm, and they said just turn up at 8.15pm, and we’ll find you a table. Very casual, but they were spot on. As we arrived, a table in the bar vacated, and we were seated in the dim, sexy, groovy room. It’s slightly noisy, and the light so low you need a candle to read the menu, but the atmosphere is vibrant, and the clientele makes for excellent people-watching, especially at Halloween!
The food comprises somewhat eclectic interpretations of Asian dishes. Sushi rolls with kimchi, Javanese salmon that tasted like it was Japanese, and Korean ribs that tasted like Chinese pork ribs.
Ignore the geographically challenged names though, and the food that arrives is creatively constructed, beautifully served and skillfully cooked. My salmon was perfectly medium-rare, and Jan’s ribs were fall-off-the-bone, sweet and succulent. A seafood red curry was loaded with prawns, squid and black cod, and the lightly fried crab cakes were delicately spiced with curry paste and kaffir lime leaves.
I like saucebox a lot. It’s not for people who don’t like eating in dark, noisy spaces (the dining room next door is for you), but the atmosphere is excellent, the staff accommodating and friendly, and the food creative and interesting. 13/20 on the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food guide scale.