I recently had the pleasure of dining with a group of colleagues at The Port, a gastropub in Port Williams, Nova Scotia. Since opening in 2007, the Port has served over 10,000 customers. With chef Michael Howell in the kitchen, it’s no wonder. Howell has cooked in restaurants all over the globe before starting his own restaurant, Tempest in Wolfville. This chef makes a conscious effort to not only to purchase local produce himself, but to encourage this practice across the province.
The Port is undeniably one of Nova Scotia’s culinary gems. However, I can’t justifiably begin describing the food without bestowing some attention on their most deserving beer. The location is also home to Sea Level Craft Beers, an independent microbrewery with Brewmaster Randy Lawrence at the helm. The sampler plater allowed my dining companions and I to check out the Planter’s Pale Ale, a sweet blonde beer and the company’s flagship brew; the Rojo Red Ale, medium bodied, brewed with five different malts; and my personal favorite, the Port in the Storm Porter, a thick, creamy ale with a hint of roasted coffee. The Port also boasts their own freshly squeezed lemonade, not too tart, not too sweet, and a thirst-quencher of which I noticed many refills.
As we were a larger group, we shared a few appetizers to get started: Nachos with thick, lemony guacamole and creamy black beans; crispy Potato Skins topped with apple wood smoked cheddar, crunchy bacon and cool sour cream; and Planter’s Pale Ale Braised Mushrooms, earthy and sweet with a touch of spice from roasted red pepper and fresh herbs.
For my main, I chose the Lamb Burger: grilled local lamb with Jack cheese and tahini, a sauce made from ground sesame seeds. The burger was accompanied by Tabbouleh, a Middle Eastern salad consisting of Bulgher wheat, parsley, onion, lemon, mint and tomatoes. The lamb patty, nestled within a soft whole grain bun, was juicy with a hint of mint and lemony thyme. The Tabbouleh could certainly stand on it’s own, yet I spooned it onto the burger as it made another perfect condiment.
The restaurant itself is as fresh as the food with warm creamy walls, dark wood, and plenty of blue, sea-inspired accents. The Port exemplifies the art of casual fine-dining, and truly is a port in the storm.
980 Terry’s Creek Road
Port Williams, NS
Friday & Saturday, 11am-12am