Discover the Fresh New Flavours of Nova Scotia

Chef de Cuisine Lawrence Deneau shares the inspiration behind new dishes and pays homage to beloved classics

Serving comforting flavours that warm the soul and spotlight the best of Atlantic cuisine, we’re excited to unveil our refreshed menu and culinary ode to Nova Scotia. Breathing new life into beloved regional classics and celebrating East Coast bounty, Chef de Cuisine Lawrence Deneau’s carefully curated menu features new creations and cherished Drift favourites alike.

At the core of any regional menu lies the fruits of the season’s harvest, but when it comes to Halifax, winter’s bite can present some unique challenges. Chef Lawrence and his team spend months preserving, canning, vacuum-packing, and pickling produce at peak season. With the help of local farmers, foragers, and friends, most of the summer and fall was spent gathering treasures to stock a pantry of picked-in-its-prime produce, which will infuse freshness during the colder months. Think: perfectly ripe green tomatoes, local jalapeños, collard greens (to be braised for six hours), and chanterelle mushrooms that taste as fresh as they would on their discovery date. 

What the region lacks in winter produce, however, it makes up for in exceptional seafood that’s in full supply all year round. From some of Halifax’s best halibut cheeks to delicately sweet snow crab, buttery haddock, and P.E.I mussels, superior seafood is a menu mainstay. 

A must-try: the Lawry’s Jiggs Dinner, inspired by Chef Lawrence’s grandmother’s take on the classic dish enjoyed across Ontario, New Brunswick, and Québec. Swapping corned beef for smoked brisket and adding local seaweed to the broth for umami, the result is a far cry from the run-of-the-mill plate of Chef’s childhood (sorry, Gram). Brisket is brined for seven days before a 12-hour smoke, building layers of flavour. Fingerling potatoes, heirloom carrots, and local turnips are simmered in an almost dashi-like stock to reach ideal tenderness. Finally, napa cabbage sauerkraut and caramelized cipollini onions add more depth alongside nostalgic brown bread soldiers.

Drawing inspiration from his Nova Scotian roots while paying homage to his culinary travels, Chef Lawrence plays with parallels shared by the East Coast and the Southern United States. Hushpuppies are taken to new heights with savoury crab, while his Fried Chicken Sandwich (a mainstay on his menus for 20 years strong) uses a pickle juice brine to impart maximum flavour. Soaked in a buttermilk bath and dredged in a melange of secret spices and flour, it delivers the ultimate crunchy crust — an example of comfort cuisine executed at the highest level.

On the appetizer side, Chef Lawrence marries a much-loved Italian dessert with Canada’s version of meat pie (stay with us…). He lovingly refers to it as tourtière cannoli, or your new favourite starter: Crispy Tourtière Rolls. He pipes spiced pork and beef rillettes into a crispy pastry tube paired with local tomato, carrots, and cabbage chow chow. Toasted pistachios and smoked carrot butter also make an appearance, offering a fresh take on finger food that satisfies the craving for warm winter spices.

Of course, many Drift favourites remain. A dish Chef Lawrence has been on a journey to perfect throughout his culinary career, the Beef Marrow Rarebit is an ode to Chefs Anthony Walsh and Fergus Henderson. Essentially an elevated grilled cheese, his version incorporates black winter truffle, Knoydart Farm cheddar, and leek piccalilli (crunchy vegetables in a sweet, tangy, turmeric-spiced mustard sauce). Chef Lawrence’s gifted hand is also apparent when it comes to the Rappie Pie and Hodge Podge, East Coast must-haves that ooze coziness.

Homey and herbaceous and clean and refined, Chef Lawrence’s Halibut Pie is a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs main that puts the average pie to shame. Local halibut cheeks (we’re talking just 30 minutes away) offer a uniquely tender and almost scallop-like texture, paired with seasonal root vegetables, bacon-braised winter greens, Knoydart Farm cheddar, and dill crème. For the topping, a brown bread crumble adds crunch and herbed duchess potatoes nod to his grandmother’s pomme purée.

In addition to our exceptional food, drinks, and setting, Chef Lawrence agrees that what makes the Drift experience truly memorable is pure and simple: East Coast hospitality. Digging deep to spotlight the best ingredients from across the region and taking the time to give the classics their due, we embrace our roots wholeheartedly. 

Join us to honour East Coast traditions, embrace culinary innovation and savour memories of our coastal home. Reserve your table today.


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