My visit to Charlotte Lane Cafe was one of the culinary tourism features in my Destination Guide The Ultimate Nova Scotia Road Trip.
I spent the morning relaxing on a fishing boat as rain pitter pattered across the coast. We sailed out of Shelburne Harbour, my travel companions keen to catch local favourite, the mighty mackerel, while I sat on the solo adoring the moody marine landscape. Three hours later we hopped off our boat and walked past the town’s quaint waterfront which is dotted with astonishingly well maintained historical homes. This petite town was actually the setting for Demi Moore’s racy film The Scarlet Letter and will soon inspire audiences as the backdrop for bestselling book turned TV series, The Book of Negros.
Our short stroll of Shelburne ended at the cutesy Charlotte Lane Cafe. This wee Swiss inspired eatery has received many an accolade which perhaps explains why the place is bustling to the brim during midweek lunch. Charlotte Lane’s awards include Best Small Restaurant by Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia and Restaurant of the Year by Taste of Nova Scotia.
Guests who pop open the front door are immediately greeted by an adorable gift shop which specializes in curating locally produced crafts, art, cookbooks, music and pantry treats. I whisk myself through a wee tunnel lined with wine bottles and soon arrive in a sun drenched petite dining room where white curtains sway courtesy of the gentle breeze which whispers from the patio.
I must be honest, I never really expect the creme de la creme when eating out on a rural romp but was pleasantly surprised by the deliciousness that dropped by our table that afternoon. What’s funny is that our intention was to enjoy a light lunch that day… but when plate after plate arrived at the table our ordering behaviour escalated to what can only described as an unintentional bacchanal.
Highlights from my savoury stroll down Charlotte Lane include: Zurich Style Pork Tenderloin (slathered in mushroom cream and served on crispy rosti), Eggplant Picatta (so addictive we ordered two for the table), Bluenose Spinach Salad (crisp apple, sun dried blueberries, candied pecans, crumbled blue, maple vinaigrette) and Lobster and Scallop Gratin simmered in brandy cream and baked with monterey and cheddar.
As we all dabbed our lips with cloth napkin we began to moan about our bloated bellies. We apparently grunted too soon as the chef presented our table with his three favourite desserts. It’s funny how one can feel obnoxiously full and once presented with sweet treats the pain simply slips away (for a moment). We each grabbed a fork and dug into decadent peanut butter cream pie, sticky toffee pudding and summer fresh lemon panna cotta before waddling with ecstasy out the front door.
Special thanks to Tourism Nova Scotia for hosting me as their guest.
jost, selkie frizzante
petite riviere vineyards, Risser’s Breeze, ns
boxing rock. hunky dory pale ale
cornmeal parmesan batter, goat cheese, arugula basil pesto, balsamic drizzle
pork tenderloin zurich style
mushrooms and creamy demi-glace, rosti potato
lobster and scallops brandy gratin
simmered in brandy cream, baked with monterey and cheddar
south shore fish sampler
smoked and marinated dish, chipotle lime mayo
bluenose spinach salad
apples, sun dried blueberries, candied pecans, crumbled blue, maple vinaigrette
sea harvest chowder
scallops, shrimp, haddock, rich creamy broth
peanut butter cream pie
sticky toffee pudding
lemon panna cotta