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Samantha Schnare

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Posted: May 30, 2017

Baharat’s cocktails have a Middle Eastern twist

Written by: Samantha Schnare
Baharat Photos by Samantha Schnare

Baharat
Photos by Samantha Schnare

As the number of food trucks in Portland seems to be reaching critical mass, many of them have started opening up brick-and-mortar locations. The owners of the former CN Shawarma food truck have traded in their truck keys to join the stationary restaurant brigade with Baharat, nestled into the corner of Anderson and Fox streets in East Bayside.

With all the ongoing development in the Bayside area, it’s about time that a cool new restaurant join the party. As a huge fan of the Middle Eastern offerings from CN Shawarma, I was excited to try the expanded menu and jumping at the prospect of sampling the new drinks menu, as, obviously, the truck did not have a bar component.

Even from the outside, Baharat has an inviting visage on Anderson Street, where it resides on the bottom floor of a newly constructed apartment complex. The small blue sign above the door lets you know you’re in the right place, as do the large garage-door-like windows that line the restaurant and allow a full view of the space inside.

Inside, the vibe is industrial-meets-Lebanon, with a metal half-circle bar right as you enter, a red accent wall and funky orb-shaped lighting fixtures. The white Middle Eastern fencing that backs the bar area is a simple but effective design choice, as it gives visitors an idea of what the experience will be once they sit down.

After finding a seat (which was a challenge, but a worthy one), I set myself to the task of choosing among the small collection of creative cocktails. Everything sounded amazing, from the Charred Lemon Collins ($10, gin, vermouth and charred lemon preserves) to the Tom Kha-tail ($10 with rum, coconut milk, lime, ginger and citrus), but my sights were set on one very specific cocktail.

The Rad Mirage is hard not to have two.

The Rad Mirage is hard not to have two.

The Rad Mirage ($10) has already gained some renown in the short time Baharat has been open. It seems that, once you taste it, it becomes difficult not to recommend it to every person you see. Having had it myself now, I get it. Vodka, Lebanese yogurt, honey and mint, blended to perfection, it’s a unique cocktail that complements the food and the location perfectly. It’s nearly absolutely impossible not to have two, so I did.

A full bar and a number of beers on draft and in cans round out the drink selection at Baharat, with enough variety to appease even the pickiest customers. The food deserves its own writeup, but suffice it to say that the quality of the shawarma, kebabs and hummus I came to expect from CN Shawarma has been matched and maybe even exceeded by Baharat. And now it comes with cocktails.

Baharat

WHERE: 91 Anderson St., Portland
PHONE: 613-9849
WEBSITE: facebook.com/baharatmaine
HOURS: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, closed Monday through Wednesday
AMENITIES: Unique location, cool decor, garage windows that will open all the way up in warmer weather, rotating cocktail list, friendly and helpful staff
BOTTOM LINE: Baharat is the natural next step for CN Shawarma. A small restaurant with a ton of character, this Middle Eastern-inspired spot will be sure to get people down to the East Bayside neighborhood and keep them coming back all summer.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Yes

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