lobster risotto on a table sitting by the fire

Event Recap: The Canteen Collaboration Dinner

lobster risotto on a table sitting by the fire

On Thursday, April 4, we joined forces with The Canteen, a beloved dining destination across the harbour, to create a memorable culinary experience as part of our Tidal Surge dining series. This collaboration between Chef de Cuisine Lawrence Deneau and Chef Renée Lavallée, brought forth a spectacular five-course menu with specially curated wine pairings from Benjamin Bridge.

To begin this splendid night, guests were greeted with a glass of Benjamin Bridge rosé inside the luxurious walls of BKS, Muir’s speakeasy. The culinary venture began as passed canapés made their way around the room. Chef Deneau’s Lobster Hushpuppies with piccalilli aïoli, sour cream and chive dust, and Wild Mushroom Tartare made with waffle cone, balsamic pearls, whipped chèvre and dill, gave guests an exciting glimpse into what the evening had in store.

Once setting anchor in our cozy interior, guests enjoyed a glass of Benjamin Bridge Wild Rock rosé. Chefs Deneau and Lavallée made their first appearance of the night as they introduced the tasting menu, and expressed their gratitude for this sold out event. After initial remarks, the first plate was served: a smoked Digby scallop with citrus rémoulade, and a touch of dulse powder, crafted by Chef Lavallée and her team. 

Soon after, Chef Deneau’s first dish was presented. The Pictou Island Sandbar featured asparagus foam, buttered fregola, edible oyster shells, and horseradish pearls, with marinated mussels and fried oysters – paying homage to the incredible bounty of our province.

As the kitchen coasted through the third course’s plating, Erin Keast, winemaker from Benjamin Bridge, introduced the next wine pairing. Guests were poured the Basket White Blend, 2021 to complement the essence of the incoming Snow Crab Risotto. Crafted by Chef Lavallée and her team, this dish highlighted the rich flavours of preserved lemon, valley apple and pancetta salad, next to the bold kick of pink peppercorn.

For the main course, guests were given the option of halibut or duck. Those who opted for the halibut were served Benjamin Bridge’s Tidal Bay White Blend, notorious for pairing with Nova Scotia seafood. Chef Lavallée created a spectacular Butter-Poached Halibut, with fixings of sunchoke purée and chips, pickled cinnamon cap mushrooms, and a drizzle of sea truffle oil.

Chef Deneau prepared A Brace of Ducks, and it did not disappoint. This intricate assembly of duck thigh confit, French Duck Farm smoked egg, maple-glazed foie sponge toffee, maple blossoms, swede mash, and béarnaise, gave guests an abundance of flavours to savour with every bite. To pair, glasses were filled with Caveman Jones Grenache – a limited edition 2007 vintage with succulent notes of plum and cherry, brought out from Benjamin Bridge’s cellar specially for this evening.

Upon closing remarks from Chefs Lavallée and Deneau, the final dish was served. A Yoghurt Semifreddo, crafted by Chef Deneau’s pastry team, consisted of lavender shortbread, crispy caribou moss, sea buckthorn gel, and brown sugar nougatine. Guests indulged in this creation next to Benjamin Bridge’s Estate ice wine, ending the evening’s festivities on a perfectly sweet note.

We had an incredible time collaborating with The Canteen to foster a memorable dining experience for each and every guest. Thank you to everyone who dined with us, Chef Renée Lavallée and her team, and all of the Freehand Hospitality staff who helped to make this night the success that it was. Stay tuned for more dinners to come in our Tidal Surge dining series!

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