Everyone has been there. A friend is coming in from out of town to visit and is looking for the perfect spot to enjoy great food, a great view and maybe even a delicious pint. With the many options available to us in HRM, this can often pose quite a dilemma – the culinary expectations of guests from across the region, nation and globe hanging on one’s hospitable Maritime shoulders!
Luckily, the Hart & Thistle Gastropub & Brewery is here to make this an easy decision from now on.
Located in Halifax’s Historic Properties at 1869 Upper Water Street, the Hart & Thistle is owned by Bruce Keith – who saw a niche for an establishment that combined a menu highlighted by made-from-scratch dishes and hoppy micro-brews. He brought together a wonderful team under the culinary leadership of Chef and Nova Scotia Ambassador Extraordinaire Collin Stone and Brewmaster Greg Nash.
One of my former University of Saskatchewan classmates recently came to town with his wife and was on the hunt for some delicious. We made our to the Hart & Thistle on an overcast Wednesday for lunch. The rest is delicioushistory.
We posed the inevitable question “what should we try today?” to Chef Stone. He has been pleasing taste-buds for over 25 years and is about as proud a Nova Scotian as they come (he’s literally a posterchild for NS tourism!). He went on to tell us about his desire to offer guests at Hart & Thistle an upscale menu that sets a new bar for pubs within the city – elements of upscale dining at a reasonable price, fashioned from primarily locally-sourced ingredients.
A quick walk through the menu made our decision very, very, very difficult. They should rename the menu 50 Shades of Delicious, as it is shocking in a delicious type of way that will leave you having a tough time putting it down.
Getting Started…Lobster Poutine, are you kidding me?
Chef recommended we dive into some lobster poutine to get started, a dish that as it gets some exposure, will surely give donairs a run for their money as a staple stereotypical maritime snack of choice. This dish, which was served up with a smile, features hand cut potatoes topped with Nova Scotia lobster morsels, cheese curds & lobster bisque, all topped up with a light Béarnaise sauce. #wow.
I tend to be a bit hyperbolic in my statements, but I would not be surprised to see Chef Stone awarded a Nobel Prize for bringing together such a flavourful dish.
Delicious Starts Here.
Round II: This time it’s personal.
OK, it’s not really personal, but it sure was tasty. Chef Stone delivered his famous panko crusted calamari, served with sweet chili mayo & tomato jam. A great blend of crunchy and tender, this appy was a real crowd-pleaser and didn’t last long.
A innovative dish all Thai’d up in tastiness!
For the main course, I opted for the Thai Tuna Sliders. This, much like the Toronto Blue Jays December 5th, 1990 decision to trade Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter, was an excellent choice. A culinary home run!
Not unlike the combo of Rockin’ Robbie and Joltin’ Joe, the Thai Tuna Sliders packed a punch. A pair of nicely seared tuna sliders topped with a tomato cucumber relish, served up on a sesame wasabi bun served with a green salad.
The Beer…. oh the Beer!
Over the past several years, I’ve developed a great appreciation for hoppy beer. I’ve been spoiled by great micro-breweries in the region, such as Taste members Garrison and Propeller who both produce delicious brews that are hoppier than the Easter Bunny.
Well ladies and gentlemen, there is a new kid in town “hopping” down the delicious beer trail. Brewmaster Greg Nash (who it should be noted writes an hilarious and informative blog), produces brews that will satisfy all your hoppiest desires. These are pints with an attitude… and clever names to match… enjoy a sip of Double Citra SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop), Raging Smack, or the Messie V3.0.
Here’s a quick snap of my friend Mike (a University of Saskatchewan classmate of mine) who was visiting from Saskatoon enjoying a pint of Raging Smack with his fish and chips.
The Hart & Thistle is a great spot to enjoy upscale pub food, a fantastic view of the harbour (and, on sunny days, a great patio!) and fantastic locally brewed beer that has more hops than Michael Jordan. To keep up-to-date on the latest brews and to regularly feel a big time urge to pop down to the patio add Hart & Thistle on Facebook.