115 Duckworth St.
Ph. (709) 579-5252
Granite, sister restaurant of Portobello’s, has built up its own league of fans and regular guests. Many seem to particularly enjoy Granite for its weekend brunch and after work cocktails – often followed by an early supper chosen from Granite’s café style menu.
On the first of a few recent visits to Granite we sampled some of the weekend brunch menu. Old Sol was close enough to going over the yardarm for yours truly to sample one of Granite’s Mimosas. Equal parts Tropicana orange juice and Henkell Trocken made a perky starter. If it had been later in the day I might have opted for a Buck’s Fizz – two parts sparkling wine and one part orange juice.
Spouse had a bowl of baked beans with cod cake on the side. Granite’s beans were dark as the night and intense with molasses and ketchup flavour. I like baked beans on the sweet side and these were certainly saccharine. The fish cake (about 30 percent fish and 70 percent potato) was a tad dry and dulled on the surface. Perhaps it had been in a warming pan waiting for a customer. Still, inside its borders the cake was enjoyable.
Breakfast sandwiches have been popular since the late nineteenth century, having taken off in America just after the Civil War. A breakfast sandwich, roll, wrap or muffin usually contains breakfast ingredients like ham, bacon, sausage, eggs, cheese, et cetera.
So did Granite’s morning sandwich. It was a Monte Cristo: cured ham and Swiss cheese between slices of egg battered toast. I was expecting an eggy French toast exterior but found Granite’s effort lacking. Ham and cheese were fine. Cubes of excellent roasted potato and a cup of fresh coffee sufficiently completed the brunch.
Ours is a working harbour and that’s pretty obvious from the panoramic view of the port Granite offers through its wall of large windows. In the foreground tanks, cranes, vehicles and workers are prominent in the service of docked oil industry vessels.
Across the harbour we saw a row of fishing boats tied up on the south side. Meantime, we saw other boats making their way around or out of the harbour. Dee Jay Charters’ Shanadithi was setting out with a modest group of warmly dressed passengers on a sightseeing expedition. Another two-manned craft was gamely towing a small barge somewhere west, out of sight.
Late afternoon Granite seems to host a good number of thirty-somethings, in for a cool drink and conversation. I didn’t see any lychee cocktails besides mine, but seriously, they didn’t know what they were missing. Refreshingly tart, icy cold, citrusy and floral with just a hint of sweetness is how I’d describe it. A single lychee fruit, settled in the bottom of my glass like an exotic stamp, served as a reminder that this was a worldly cocktail.
Granite’s cod tongues (selected and prepared for us by Chef Kyle Puddester) were superb. He’d dredged them lightly and sautéed them until golden but only for the correct length of time. Size helped. Granite’s cod tongues were large, meaty and succulent.
Seafood chowder is one of those dishes that develops its taste from the type of seafood, vegetables, herbs and dairy used in the recipe. Granite made good choices. Scallops, pieces of salmon, white fish and cubed potato were lightly coated and surrounded by cream sauce infused with fresh seafood flavours. It was delicious chowder.
Granite’s burger and fries featured a reasonably thick, juicy, six ounce Angus beef patty, cheddar and tomato on a Kaiser roll. The bite and sweet edge of beer mustard and chili ketchup helped amplify the flavours in the Angus beef. This very good burger was complemented by hand cut French fries.
Chicken carbonara must have chicken but it should also have enough bacon or pancetta, Parmesan, pepper, basil, Italian parsley and salt to make it really register on the palate. Granite’s dish was lacking on several counts. I had to ask for salt because of blandness. Chicken and penne pasta were accounted for but the advertised bacon was short, as was Parmesan in the so-called Parmesan cream.
Granite has a long, shiny, handsome bar. It is, after all, more lounge than restaurant, with a varied and fun cocktail menu. Its atmosphere is bright and welcoming. Granite is, without doubt, a good place to spend time.
Price A meal for two with appetizers, wine, tax and tip costs approximately $130.
Service Smiling, friendly and professional.
Ambiance A casual, bright restaurant made brighter by oversized windows that overlook St. John’s Harbour.
Sound level Moderate to high.
Open Tuesday to Friday from 4 p.m. to closing. Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to closing.
Reservations Accepted and walk-ins are welcome.
Credit cards All major.
Parking Granite’s parking lot or metered street parking.
Wines A mixture of many popular, affordable reds and whites from the Americas, Australia and New Zealand, as well as a smaller number of French and Italian reds.
Wheelchair access Assistance may be needed to enter building. A number of tables are accessible and Granite provides accessible restrooms.