It's finally really happening. Elvis Abrahanowicz and Joe Valore of Porteño and Bodega are opening a deli and bistro on Australia Street. Continental will bear no similarity in offerings to its sister venues, and will open as a deli on 28 September, with the upstairs bistro launching a month later. Abrahanowicz tells us, it'll be "your classic deli", serving smallgoods, cheese, and specialty items, with a focus on "canned goods and tinned fish".
"It'll be a deli seven days a week," he says, "and it'll be a bar and bistro at night. We've got a canning machine, so we'll be doing all the canning on site and serving other canned seafood as well."
The evening menu is still in the works, but Abrahanowicz promises share-friendly European-accented eats made with local produce.
Jesse Warkentin, who cut his teeth in the kitchen at Porteño, will man the pans, while bartender Mikey Nicolian, who also has a long history with the group, will take care of the drinks and the floor.
The team are designing the space themselves, channelling a "classic deli look" heavy on marble and timber. "It's only a really small space," says Abrahanowicz. "It's got two small rooms upstairs where there'll be a big communal table - that seats about 12 or14 - and the front room probably only seats about 20 people."
It's a project he and Valore have wanted to work on for a long time. "It was a dream," says Abrahanowicz. "Growing up, on the weekends, that was breakfast. You'd wake up on Sunday morning and the table would be full of brown paper bags open with mozzarella and salami, and breakfast would turn to lunch."
That said, expect the tunes and the vibe to be a little louder than your average Sunday morning. This is team Porteño, after all.
"It's like all our other venues," says Abrahanowicz. "It's going to be pretty fun."
Continental, 210 Australia St, Newtown, NSW. Deli open daily from 10am. Bistro open for dinner 6pm-10pm Wed-Sat, lunch noon-3pm Sun.