I skipped lunch on my first day in Halifax, opting instead to hop on a sud-sloshed tour of Alexander Keith’s brewery. At 5pm I found myself starry eyed, waddling in a zig-zag along the sidewalk in search of my first Nova Scotian feast at Chives Canadian Bistro. I was seated by sun drenched window which offered a perfect perch to people watch in downtown Halifax. I was simply buzzing as I whisked myself through Chef Craig Flinn’s menu, smug mugged.
The restaurant boasts a warm and unpretentious decor that captures key elements of the Canadian landscape; water, wood, rock and sand. Ranked as one of the cities best, Chives features urban cafe decor, elements of the traditional French bistro, richly painted walls and chalkboard menus. Most special is the dining rooms vault, leftover from the 1950’s when the space was originally occupied by The Bank of Nova Scotia. Today the vault doubles as the restaurants wine cellar and a unique dining space for an intimate celebration.
From the sipping side of things the bartender at Chives offers a collection of creative concoctions. For a stiff trick grab a Margarita Bite which features the zing of ginger root tea. For something more dainty perk your pinky and pucker those lips via Lemon Meringue Fiz, a flute filled with gin, galliano, fresh lemon and prosecco. There is of course plenty of local beer and wine on offer. I opt to quench on Garrison Brewing Company’s Irish Red, sweet meets malty froth.
Chef Craig’s menu is best described as thoughtfully elevated comfort food: that hearty, finger-licking-goodness we all crave. Addictive crispy Coldwater Shrimp Spring Roll pairs nicely with honey and sesame glazed melt-in-your-mouth pork shoulder. I suppose the dish would be an ideal starter to share but I manage to polish off the plate in a few seconds (famished you know). Umami forward Mushroom, Leek and Gouda Tartlet satiated my craving for creamy, served in a perfectly flaked cheddar pastry. Those looking to mangle their meat should dig into Chef’s “Porchetta” plate, a massive grilled smoked pork chop which sits propped against a crispy lemon bocconcini arancini. My sweet tooth enjoyed a happy dance for the final bow. Valley Peach Tiramisu was presented at the table in a short glass, layered with brown butter pound cake, vanilla cardamom mascarpone mousse, hazelnut ladyfinger crumble and whisper of sweet cream.
tequila, cointreau, ginger root tea, lemon, candied ginger
Lemon Meringue Fiz
gin, galliano, lemon, simple syrup, prosecco
Garrison Brewing Company Irish Red
halifax, nova scotia
Coldwater Shrimp Spring Roll + General Tao Pork
braised pork shoulder, asian ginger slaw, roast shallot, honey, sesame glaze
Mushroom, Leek, Gouda Tartlet
red onion marmalade, crisp cheddar pastry
grilled ns smoked pork chop, roasted garlic, lemon and bocconcini risotto cake, seasonal veg, caramelized onion + balsamic gravy
Valley Peach Tiramisu
brown butter pound cake, vanilla cardamom mascarpone mousse, hazelnut ladyfinger crumble