Portal is in the business of feel-good fare. The daytime eatery at Sydney's No 1 Martin Place, offers its diners a chance to give back, donating 100 per cent of its profits to charity.
Open for breakfast and lunch, Portal is the latest project from The Pure Collective, the organisation behind Sydney's first "profit for purpose" restaurant, Folonomo in Surry Hills. When diners at Portal are presented with their bill, they can choose from one of three charities to donate their payment. The selection of charities rotate on a six-month or annual basis; previous organisations the café has supported include Eat Up, a not-for-profit that provides Australian school children with lunches who would otherwise go without; Blue Dragon, which rescues children from human trafficking and slavery in Vietnam; and Rural Aid, an organisation offering support to rural Australian communities.
"The whole concept is about for love not money," says The Pure Collective co-founder Nicolas Degryse. "We also choose charities whose work and impact helps to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We've tried to find the best ethical, local ingredients that people will want to eat, while giving them the opportunity to help others and the environment at the same time."
Leading the kitchen is chef Michal Siudeja (formerly of Mecca and The Farmed Table), and he's serving very Sydney mod-café fare. Come morning, you'll find a breakfast roll (a homemade milk bun stuffed with maple bacon, fried egg, Manchego and smoked tomato chutney); and avocado and coriander smash with feta and preserved lemon. There's nourishing salad bowls and sandwiches for lunch, too.
"I want to keep the menu as fresh as possible," Siudeja says. "There are lots of healthy grains, proteins and raw vegetables from Sydney markets. If we don't make it from scratch, we'll buy from local producers who share the same values."
Portal's commitment to "doing good" runs deeper than its ingredient list. The cafe is plastic-free; cups and mugs are made from coffee husks, paper straws replace plastic straws, and all takeaway package is comprised of recycled materials. Additionally, The floor staff team are refugees to Australia, recruited through The Pure Collective's Symbols of Hope program. Staff members have been granted permission to stay in Australia, but are yet to receive a visa to work. As part of The Pure Collective's program, they are offered hospitality training while they wait for approval to earn an income.
"We offer hospitality training as an option so they can learn skills and hopefully find jobs as soon as they're able to do so," explains Degryse. "As we're not allowed to pay wages, we supply clothing, meals and things like Opal Cards, and donate to The Salvation Army which does amazing work to keep people afloat with access to housing, counselling and healthcare."
Now that's food for thought.
Portal, Mezzanine Level, No. 1 Martin Place, Sydney, Mon-Fri 8am-4pm, www.portal.org.au.