The food: spaghettini carbonara at Il Mercato in Halifax
I’m travelling more often to Halifax this year to see my son Simon Farine play basketball (he’s the captain of the Dalhousie University Men’s Basketball team) in this, his last year of CIS eligibility.
When in Halifax, my husband E and I often take Simon to eat at Jane’s on the Common, about which I’ve written before. Our last time out, though, we also tried the Italian cuisine at Il Mercato, a happening, no reservations hot-spot on Spring Garden Road.
Most of the diners around us on a busy Saturday night were indulging in multiple course dinners with wine and lavish desserts, but with a game to go to, E and I opted to split a pizza and pasta between us. The pizza, billed on the menu as “Thin crust pizza topped with pancetta, fresh herbs, marinated artichokes, broccolini, mozzarella and balsamic drizzle” seemed more like an appetizer-ish flatbread than a pizza to me, with its very thin crust and somewhat skimpy light layer of toppings:
But it was tasty and pretty.
I can rarely resist ordering a pasta carbonara when I see it on the menu, and Il Mercato’s cream-less, eggy version, made with spaghettini and pancetta and garnished with a flourish of baby greens, was hot, satisfying, and perfectly cooked. My only complaint with it was that I had to ask for Parmesan to top it with (none was offered), and the Parmesan that finally came was of the finely grated (= powder) non-Reggiano variety.
Cheese or no cheese, it was delicious enough that E and I both ate our half portions with gusto, and will be sure to return there the next time we’re in Halifax, to order a full portion each.