Lunenburg is one of those places that seems to draw people to it in one way or another. It’s the perfect distance from Halifax for a day trip and there is enough to see and do to easily fill your day. If you’d prefer to extend your visit, it is stocked with quaint bed & breakfasts and hotels with panoramic views of the harbour. The Bluenose golf course is stunningly set into the landscape and the view of the town from the course was once pictured on the $50 bill.
Some friends and I headed down to spend an overnight in lovely Lunenburg. We dropped the boys off at the golf course and we headed back downtown for a day of shopping and wandering. First on the agenda: lunch! Located right down by the waterfront is Salt Shaker Deli, little sister to one of Canada’s best fine-dining restaurants, Fleur de Sel, also located in Lunenburg.
While Fleur de Sel is acclaimed for its high-end dinner experiences, Salt Shaker Deli is much more casual and laid-back. Walking in feels like strolling into a bistro in old Montreal, with its high ceilings, red-checked tablecloths and open kitchen.
There is a beautiful deck overlooking the harbour but it was raining while we were there so we took a table inside where we could watch the kitchen. There was a real sense of community in the room with lots of locals, including one man picking up take-out. He was obviously known to the staff who anticipated his request for a glass of white wine while he waited (why have I never thought of that??).
We decided he had the right idea and ordered a glass of Jost Vineyards‘ L’Acadie Blanc Pinot Grigio to start. The blend of the signature Nova Scotian grape with the distinctive Pinot Grigio was cold and refreshing as we made our choice from the extensive menu.
We decided to split the panzanella (an Italian bread salad), the mushroom and brie pizza, and the lobster mac & cheese. The base of the panzanella was a mix of peppery arugula and other greens drizzled with a tangy balsamic vinaigrette. Nestled on top were crispy slices of baguette, a nice alternative to the traditional soaked chunks of bread.
Next out of the kitchen was the pizza. We each helped ourselves to a slice and bit in, almost simultaneously groaning in bliss.
The thin crust was perfect and the tomato sauce was packed with the flavour of oregano. But the stars were the toppings. Aromatic sautéed mushrooms, gooey oozy slices of Brie, and the richness of it all punctuated by random hits of balsamic vinegar. We were both utterly blown away by this little pizza that didn’t photograph well but almost brought tears to our eyes.
The lobster mac and cheese was next and not to be outdone, it was delicious. Creamy and rich with giant pieces of lobster claw and tail, it paired beautifully with our wine. As they say, what grows together goes together, and L’Acadie Blanc and lobster prove that well.
When we finished the pasta, our server suggested a peek at the dessert menu. While I don’t usually have much of a sweet tooth, one dessert always manages to hook me: crème caramel. I’ll blame my mother for that as it was always her go-to dessert for dinner parties when I was growing up. Not too sweet, there’s something about the smooth silky custard and the slightly bitter-burnt caramel sauce that I can’t resist. We split this final dish and it was the perfect end to our Lunenburg lunch.
Salt Shaker Deli is definitely a place I want to go back to again and again. There are so many menu items I want to try (Stinky Charlie’s garlic pizza, for one!), it may just end up being my new favourite reason to visit Lunenburg.