the bicycle thief http://bicyclethief.ca
halifax, nova scotia
food. it is one of the great loves of my life. food is, for some, simply fuel for the body, and eating a necessary biological function to facilitate other activities. for me, eating is the reward. i recently ate myself across canada. a slight exaggeration, yes. i gossiped across canada with vitaminwater on the faculty of celebrity studies tour to halifax, ottawa, and calgary. the gossip was intense and inspiring at every stop. happily, so was the food. for the next three weeks, i’ll be profiling those experiences.
with a name as twee as the bicycle thief, it’s surprisingly charming and unpretentious inside. this is a place for everyone — seniors, couples, co-workers, urban foodies, and families. the tumblers and place settings are appealingly kitschy, as if to say, so what, it’s a little hokey but we like them and we’d rather this than the generic style du jour no personality table displays you find in new york or los angeles, especially when our flavours can stand up anywhere. with portions that are… super generous.
to start we had:
the salumi board was excellent. and my italian friend who can be picky about her mortadella was very impressed with it.
the crusted pan seared scallops were perfectly prepared and god there were so many of them, like cynical big city bitches, we thought maybe we were being conned. (this will be a familiar them - our disbelief at the portions in relation to the cost.)
the quebec fois gras torchon came with a stone fruit chutney that was such a lovely complement and again, for those of you like me who love fois gras, you know how it’s often never enough when you have to share? this is not a problem at the bicycle thief. there is enough fois gras for everyone.
i ordered an appetizer as my entree: the slow roasted pork ribs with polenta. it comes with the house barbecue sauce which i wanted to buy it was so good and…there were nine of them. nine ribs! in an appetiser! look, i know classy people don’t go to nice restaurants and count their ribs but how often do you get more than what you’re willing to pay for?
i tried some of daniella’s handmade raviolini stuffed with fresh lobster and mascarpone and it was delightful — not too rich, not too bland, and not too heavily sauced. it passed her italian test too.
and aly’s shellfish zuppa was… enormous. delicious and enormous. and so fresh. and enormous. and i know it’s gross that i keep talking about size but what they’re doing at the bicycle thief would cost three times more in other cities across canada. in some cases it probably isn’t even half as good.
so let me be gross and talk about money. because the menu items at the bicycle thief would easily cost three times more in other cities across canada. halifax, you are very, very lucky. i can’t wait to come back.