Dining alongside the sights and sounds of a tropical jungle would typically require an expensive amount of travel—or an ill-advised trip to the Rainforest Café—but at Northeast Portland’s Hale Pele, tiki kitsch comes with unique brunch options and innovative cocktails that are affordable and far from gimmicky.
Hale Pele owner Blair Reynolds (who also offers a custom line of handcrafted cocktail syrups) purchased the space in 2012 and converted the bar from its former incarnation, Thatch, into the epicenter of all things exotic. Complete with an erupting volcano, indoor moat, and illuminated pufferfish, the cozy space launched a Sunday-only brunch service in February 2013.
The diverse menu features an array of Polynesian, Korean and Portuguese dishes, and chef Beth Harding works wonders with the multicultural mix with sweet and savory dishes that do not disappoint:
- The Kimchi Pancake deviates slightly from its classic form, more closely resembling an omelet than pajeon, but the spicy and slightly sour flavors are spot on.
- The Portuguese Breakfast Plate is a huge crowd pleaser with its generous link of hard-to-find linguiça, a mild pork sausage seasoned with garlic and paprika.
- Count on the Monte Cristo for a great tropical translation of the classic dish (think guava jam and Hawaiian bread French toast).
- Coconut Waffles come drizzled with maple syrup and topped with whipped cream, candied pecans, and berries.
On the beverage front, diners should skip the coffee and go straight for the cocktails, which are as unique as the island ambience that surrounds them.
The Fernet Flippity—made with Fernet Branca, stout, egg, and Jamaican rum—is impeccably balanced, with an addictive, frothy sweetness. Another original cocktail, the B.G. Reynolds’ Fizz made with lime, vanilla, milk, and English gin, is a fun and floral twist on the classic Gin Fizz.
To dive into the brunch fare for yourself, drop into the haven of Hale Pele between 10 am and 2 pm every Sunday, and plan ahead by checking out the full menu of brunch specialties online.
2733 NE Broadway