With Valentine’s Day (or Galentine’s Day or whatever you choose to celebrate or not) coming up I thought I’d take the chance to take a look at what must be the best new spot for an intimate dinner in Charlottetown. Slaymaker & Nichols has finally opened on the corner of Fitzroy and Queen in Charlottetown. It has, without a question, been worth the wait. Slaymaker, as it will inevitably be called, is owned by the same folks as the Blue Mussel Café in North Rustico, Steve Murphy and Christine McQuaid. They have created the nicest dining room in Charlottetown with food to match its intimate and tastefully decorated atmosphere.
Chef Jamie Power, also the Head Chef at Blue Mussel, has knocked it out of the park again, he’s done with meat and vegetables what he did with seafood at the Blue Mussel: elevated comfort dishes that are both accessible and delicious.
With the closing of Terre Rouge, Charlottetown does not have many cocktail destinations. Slaymaker provides a welcome change from the status quo. They have an extensive cocktail menu, an excellent wine list curated by sommelier Lesley Quinn, who I featured in last month’s column, and a solid selection of Island brews on tap. The cocktails were initially a little sweet for me, but they’ve improved significantly since opening. I suggest the citrus and gin-based Ringmaster, a refreshing start to a meal.
The food is served tapas style for the most part: small dishes that are served as they come up in the kitchen. The staff suggested 3–4 smaller dishes for two people, and I found that to be pretty accurate. Stand-outs for me include: the caprese salad, featuring local sheep milk cheese from Isle Saint Jean; the pork and lamb meatball with fresh ricotta, which is a nice crossover between Italian and more Turkish or middle-eastern flavours; and the chicken Sammy, decidedly not a sandwich, but a great combination of chicken and Gruyere cheese open-faced on nice bread. They also offer a selection of larger dishes (still good for sharing), but I haven’t delved into that menu much, because the smaller dishes are so much fun to share.
Slaymaker has opened with a huge amount of confidence; great atmosphere, food and drinks. They also offer professional and knowledgeable service, something that can be hit or miss in Charlottetown, even at higher-end restaurants. If you want an intimate spot for a date night, a fun night with friends, or any other special occasion, you’ll be pretty happy with your experience.
For me, winter also means noodle soup, something I will delve a little more deeply into next month. But, in the meantime, it’s worth mentioning the opening of Pho Queen, unsurprisingly on Queen Street in the former Burrito Jax location. The spring rolls are great, the Pho is very solid, and the service is friendly. Definitely worth a stop on a cold winter day to fill the stomach and warm the soul.
I hope everyone makes it through these Winter months unscathed. Eat some good food, keep your friends and family close and we’ll see what March brings.