Portland's gray season is just about here. But don't get depressed yet. There is a new, permanent bright spot punching through the clouds, and it's the brunch at HunnyMilk. Serving warm comfort food with a picture-perfect backdrop—imagine Grandma's biscuits and gravy, but more aesthetically pleasing—all HunnyMilk does is brunch, but it does it damn well.
Originally a weekend-only pop-up inside La Buca, the restaurant's new brick-and-mortar location has an almost barlike layout, with a lounge as expansive as the dining area and bar counters backing both ends. But with a pure white-and-teal color palate resembling that of a bright hillside on a Greek island, it's hard to imagine customers getting drunk on anything other than tangerine mimosas.
From solo brunchgoers hiding behind a book or a laptop to an excited group toasting their mimosas to their birthday tiara-wearing friend, HunnyMilk seats anyone comfortably. A large waiting room greets you, lined with couches and benches decorated with teal and yellow pillows surrounding a three-countered bar. The white walls, big windows and open kitchen behind another bar counter in the dining area only reaffirm the openness of the space.
As for food, HunnyMilk has a fairly strict way of ordering things—one drink, one sweet dish and one savory dish for a fixed price of $22. Any sides and alcohol can be tacked on for an extra charge. The menu is also child-friendly, with a simple but hearty $8 kids' breakfast plate.
For your savory pick, you can choose from a slew of cozy options, including fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, a Dutch baby with smoked bacon or the baked eggs surprise. The surprise is the only vegetarian dish on the menu, but I couldn't imagine why you'd want to order anything else. It's two eggs baked at a perfect over-medium, topped with a mix of green and yellow zucchini, potatoes, mushrooms, basil and onions, with warm truffled hollandaise poured over the top to light up your insides.
And for your dessert-for-breakfast, there's a poppy seed crêpe, a whiskey cinnamon funnel cake or a fortune cookie waffle. The latter is ideal for someone without a strong sweet tooth—the light and crispy waffle is topped with a cold vanilla bean mascarpone mousse that has such a thick creaminess I almost mistook it for ice cream, plus peaches that tasted like they were soaked in Champagne and fortune cookie crumbles.
Sides include biscuits and jam, jalapeño hush puppies, and home fries, all with a more sophisticated flair than your average diner plates. As for the booze, HunnyMilk serves the brunch classics: mimosas, a tangerine tequila sunrise, a bloody mary, an elderflower-yuzu fizzy gin and juice, or an Irish coffee. And while you wait to stuff your face, you're given tiny churro rings with a cold chocolate cream in a miniature skillet for dipping—is there a cuter way to spoil your meal?
Unless you have a dime to spare and time to kill, HunnyMilk isn't likely to be your go-to weekly breakfast spot. But it's a place to treat yourself and dream of the days you can't. You pay for the sunny atmosphere, the friendly service, the sparkly crayons and coloring sheets at your table and, of course, the delicious brunch. Whether you're seeking the perfect Instagram or the ultimate comfort food, HunnyMilk provides both.
EAT: HunnyMilk, 1981 W Burnside St., 503-719-7349, hunnymilk.com. 8 am-2 pm Wednesday-Sunday.