Fish wrapped in banana leaves, noodles and tantalizing curry soups. Can Portland handle another Asian-inspired eatery? If hospitality honchos Raymond Brunyanszki and Oscar Verest are behind it, the answer is a resounding: Hell yes!
Enter Tempo Dulu, an anticipated spring opening in Portland’s swinging West End by the team that created Natalie’s at The Camden Harbour Inn. “We are looking to open an upscale restaurant featuring Southeast Asian cuisine. The trend is starting,” said Brunyanszki, who purchased the Danforth Inn in May with an exciting new restaurant concept in mind for the space, formerly Carmen at the Danforth.
Since then, the globetrotting Dutch duo have researched international locales for fare that has not been overplayed on Port City plates.
What to expect when Tempo Dulu (translation: the time that has past; or the way life should be) opens on Danforth Street this March?
Bankokian branzino, Asian-infused lobster derived from “French cooking techniques,” served in a tasteful, intimate setting. As a lover of pungent and flavorful dishes from multi-culti stalwarts like The Elephant Walk in Boston, I am ready for this Asian invasion. Who is going to deliver the goods at Tempo Dulu?
The former Natalie’s chef has French training and worked at The Capital Hotel in London, amid other deluxe addresses. Brunyanszki looked long and hard for a talent that could pick up what he is laying down. One of his former (and best) chefs turned out to be the choice candidate.
This month Klang and Natalie’s chefs Shelby Stevens and Chris Long join the owners on a cooking and tasting expedition through Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Klang will do a stage in some of the finest spots and the Camden crew will decode the Southeast Asian palate so both restaurants are aligned.
“We want to bring something upscale; a place you can celebrate beautiful things in life and connect again,” said Brunyanszki of the plush, romantic, 36-seater in the making. “The pace is slower. It’s all about the experience and the food.”
Look for an early spring opening, Tempo Dulu, 163 Danforth St., Portland. While the team refines their cooking skills, Natalie’s will be closed during the week starting Nov. 9 for 10 days. Weekend bar menu applies.