For the third year in a row I was invited to participate in the Downtown Halifax Business Commission’s Big Day Downtown. The idea behind the campaign is to give local bloggers $100 in spending money to do with as they please in Halifax then write about the experience.
A new twist this year paired bloggers together. Due to our time constraints, Danna and I opted to do a blog swap. You can find out about her Big Day Downtown at You Look Fiiine.
In previous years I spread the love around by visiting several locations. This year, I decided to spend it all in one spot. And what better place than The Press Gang? It’s a place that Cokebaby and I had never been despite it being a much loved local establishment. Since it’s a fine dining experience we just never really thought of an occasion to go. We chose a night when we were going to catch a show at Neptune Theatre (review of Bingo! coming shortly).
The interior is lovely. It’s an older building with many of the historic characteristics preserved. Bare stone walls and candlelight in recessed nooks, the place has an ambience meant for an intimate dinner. Fittingly, the only way I can describe the service is ghostly. The waitstaff just kind of appeared and spoke in hushed (almost whispered) voices. It made me very self-aware of my own volume even though I’m not a very loud talker.
To start we shared the Henry Platter: Beef Carpaccio on crisp baguette, green peppercorn aioli, and fresh Parmigiano Reggiano. Pork pate with red pepper caviar and rillettes topped with spiced pear chutney ($16). The carpaccio just melted in our mouths. If I was going to order it again I’d work my way from duck to beef because of the progression of flavours. For some reason we wound up doing the opposite.
My entree was the Brome Lake Duck Breast: Red currant and brandy basted duck breast, blue cheese bread pudding, parsnip puree ($36). Every little morsel was perfect. The duck was cooked perfectly and meshed well with the sides. I have to say I’m not ordinarily a fan of parsnip but that puree was heavenly. And the blue cheese bread pudding? Divine. On its own it may have been overpowering but the portion size and blend of other flavours on the plate made for a fabulous meal.
For dessert I had the Creme Brulee: White chocolate and raspberry ($10) and an espresso. A perfect end to a fantastic dinner. Since I’m technically only blogging about the $100 spent on my meal we’ll skip Cokebaby’s special though it probably bears mentioning that he was disappointed by the blandness of his fish and dessert given how amazing my meal was.
Overall, The Press Gang deserves all the high praise I’ve heard about the place. It may be a while before we return again but our next special occasion may very well find us there again.