Tucked away on the second floor at Portland’s Public Market House is a gem, Kamasouptra. This restaurant is completely dedicated to soup and all of its endless possibilities. Chefs Mike Jerome and Drew Kinney have a passion for delivering creative, nutritious soups that work with classic recipes, but add a twist as well. They offer many vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options each day. Many of Kamasouptra’s soups are made with vegetables grown on their farm, Dirty Knees Farm, in Yarmouth, Maine.
On my recent visit, I was lucky enough to sample several of their very best. I started with their vegan Ribollita, which looks like a rainbow in a bowl. It was a nutritious knock-out! A tomato-based broth loaded with kale, white beans, tomato, carrots, celery, and garlic and finished with a touch of lemon to brighten it up. The soup gets thickened with their scrumptious wheat rolls that they bake on the premises each day. The soup was hearty and satisfying and packed with flavor. I felt like I was getting my daily vegetable requirements all in one bowl.
Next, I sampled their vegetarian Grilled Cheese and Tomato soup. This was my all time favorite soup! Remember those rainy days coming home from school for lunch and your mom would have a grilled cheese and tomato soup waiting? Well, this brought all of that comfort and more, in one bowl. They start by roasting plum tomatoes as the base of the soup and blending with other ingredients like garlic and basil; they puree their wheat rolls and cheddar cheese into the soup turning out a completely creamy (with no lumps), delicious soup.
Some other strong contenders are the vegetarian Beer and Cheddar soup made with a vegetable stock, Sebago’s Runabout Red ale, cheddar cheese and roasted jalapenos. This soup is creamy and robust with a slight kick on the finish. Curried Root Vegetable and Lentil soup (vegan and gluten free) is made with green curry and presents a bold flavor, packed with lentils.
The Public Market House is a consortium of local Maine businesses gathered together to celebrate Maine food and agriculture. Located on Congress Street, it houses a diversity of businesses with the intent of revitalizing Portland’s downtown. It is similar to Quincy Market in Boston but smaller in scale. The Public Market location has a great atmosphere with an eclectic clientele ranging from business people in suits to an artsy crowd and even local high school students on a lunch break. The evening I was there, Maine Beer and Beverage was offering a beer tasting downstairs with lots of eager customers. Kamasouptra offers another location in the Maine Mall in South Portland which opened this past August and is bringing soup enjoyment to even more people beyond the city limits.