Over the holidays I was lucky enough to be able to catch up with a dear friend. Danielle is a lovely girl whom I met on my first adventure to Greece in 2008. We were united by our love for the ancients and on our travel study trip became fast friends as we adventured through the archaeological digs of Greece. Over the years we stayed in touch, bonded by that amazing tris. As luck would have it, we were both accepted into masters programs at the University of Toronto last fall, me in the Art History Department and Danielle in Museum Studies, where we were able to rekindle our friendship and enjoy a new adventure together. I was sad to leave her and all my Toronto friends last spring, but because Danielle is an east coast girl like me, we were able to reunite for a lovely dinner a few weeks ago while she was home in Halifax for the holiday season.
Since my very first week in Halifax Morris East was on my radar: I read the reviews and scoured the menu, eager to try the delicious sounding pizzas. However, once I discovered that Danielle’s cousin Lauren Marshall was the Head Chef at the charming Morris Street eatery, I knew that I had to wait for Danielle’s homecoming in order to indulge in the goods, and it was definitely worth the wait for the company, the conversation, and especially the FOOD!
Upon entering the restaurant on that chilly Thursday evening we were greeted warmly by the staff, and I knew immediately that this place was a local regular for Danielle. We were seated at a lovely table near the back on the banquette and I ordered a sparkling holiday cocktail immediately. Though it had a different tang with some spice in it, it was enjoyable, going down very easily and making me anxious to try another of the bartenders intriguing concoctions.
The atmosphere was festive and boisterous, and despite the minimal Christmas decorations, the people and decor of the restaurant made it ring with lighthearted enjoyment. The trendy seating with exposed brick and ductwork made the restaurant feel ultra modern and lofty, and the orignal artwork on the walls jumped out to me immediately, making them clear conversation starters.
Because I had perused the menu prior to our arrival at the restaurant, it did not take me very long to choose what I wanted. I started out with the Korean Tacos: I was instantly attracted to the words ‘Pork Belly’ on the menu, and was intrigued to try the interesting fusion appetizer. The pork belly was crispy and juicy, and with the freshness of the kimchi and tang of the aioli, made the perfect mouth watering teaser for the evening.
After ordering my second cocktail of the evening (last year’s holiday cocktail, upon Danielle’s suggestion) I was eager to try the long awaited entree: pizza! Morris East has a huge wood-fired pizza oven which makes the crust extra amazing and after Danielle talking up the pizza for months I waited with great anticipation. Finally our mains arrived. Danielle had chosen her classic favourite the Margherita with fresh mozzarella and basil which she devoured hungrily. I chose the Mushroom pizza and Danielle’s constant complimenting was delightfully justified. It was delectable! The combination of portobello, shiitake, and button mushrooms with parmesan was great, and the finish of truffle oil made for multiple layers of flavour that was good to the very last bite.
Despite my fullness after multiple courses and cocktails, Danielle insisted that we split dessert. There was no question in her mind that we would have the Salted Caramel Tart, which has gained much fame in the Halifax area. It did not disappoint. It was amazing, in fact, probably rivalling creme brulee for one of my favourite desserts ever. The creamy caramel was perfect and with the rock salt atop was the perfect juxtaposition of flavour. Unreal.
Things Worth Mentioning:
Cost: About 100$ for everything: appetizer, 2 pizzas, dessert and numerous libations.
Things I liked: The Korean Tacos, the exposed wood-fired pizza oven, and the friendly staff.
Things I didn’t: My overly spiced first cocktail, but the second was great, and the third…
The Best Place to Sit: In the window.
What to Order Next Time: The Capricciosa Pizza.