Fid Resto – Local By Nature
My most recent meal at Fid Resto began a week before I cracked the menu open. Chef Dennis Johnston invited me in for a chat about Fid and their approach to high quality, locally-focused dining.
Fid is known well beyond Nova Scotia. Twelve years of operation, great reviews, and repeat business by loyal patrons from Halifax and further afield, owners Dennis and Monica have established a reputation for culinary excellence and inventiveness.
Meeting Chef Dennis was a daunting proposition, especially after learning about his recent induction into the internationally-renown Académie Culinaire de France. At best, I am a rank amateur eater and easily confused by the simplest aspects of cooking, but he could not have been more kind and generous with his time as he explained his background and commitment to interesting dishes based on locally-sourced products.
Chef Dennis demonstrates knowledge, skill, and expertise in a wide range of genres. He described the meat dry-aging in his freezer, the made-from-scratch curry pastes that flavour his Thai dishes, the attention to detail in other cuisines that cure homesickness and inspire repeat visits from loyal customers.
In short, Fid is an eating experience that defies expectation. The menu can be reprinted in seconds if an interesting or unexpected item shows up on the doorstep. Relationships with farmers, producers, harvesters and foragers of Nova Scotia’s best and most interesting foods pay huge dividends at Fid. During my first visit, Chef Dennis showed off some amazing seaweeds, sea lettuces and mushrooms brought to him that day by harvesters who knew he would appreciate the fresh, tasty offerings.
When it came time to dine at Fid, I knew I would be faced with some difficult choices, so I recruited a friend to share the pain. After being enthusiastically greeted by Stephanie, we quizzed her on some of the more unique food and drink offerings. This particular evening, the menu featured a cheeky starter called “A Pair of Warm Buns” featuring pork belly and Fid’s homemade BBQ sauce on buns from Boulangerie la Vendéenne.
Tempting, for sure, but when I saw a starter with no description, I had to bite:
“The Mayhem” is exactly what it sounds like: chaos on a plate. Delicious chaos. Consisting entirely of local, in-season vegetables, the kitchen has full creative freedom with the vegetables at their disposal. This evening’s Mayhem featured carrots – puréed and whole, zucchini flowers, heirloom beets, tomatoes, new potatoes, fresh peas and corn. We made short work of the dish and quizzed Stephanie further about The Mayhem. Conclusion: you could reliably order The Mayhem every few weeks and have something different. Challenge accepted!
For mains, we both had Fid’s signature chicken dish: seared free-range chicken breast with local spinach, Nova Scotia chanterelles and fresh potato gnocchi. I was determined to have this dish after my first meeting with Chef Dennis and listening to his description of the tasty Meat King chicken, I was hooked. The rich, buttery sauce complemented the chicken, the light, but hearty, gnocchi, fresh spinach and mushrooms so flavourful they could almost be described as fleshy. A week later, I’m still thinking about every part of that dish. It went beautifully with the suggested pairing of Grand Pre Wines’ Vintners Reserve L’Acadie Blanc.
For dessert, I couldn’t resist “My Grandmother’s Strawberry Shortcake” while my friend had Fid’s Churros, complete with hot chocolate and caramel sauces.
The shortcake was a tasty classic, with fresh strawberries piled high on a biscuit and a healthy dollop of whipped cream. I could easily eat that dish every day all summer long. The churros, a relatively rare dessert find in Eastern Canada, were hot and light, and, truth be told, brought our conversation to an abrupt halt while we tore the dessert apart.
While our meal came to an end, that didn’t mean the end of the Fid dining experience. Fid is now offering house-made, BBQ-ready hamburgers and sausages. I’ve seen them up close, and I promise you’ll be the hit of the BBQ/corn boil/salmon planking/clambake if you show up with either (or both).
Fid is a truly unique dining adventure. From the friendly, attentive service to the fun, inventive approach to simply some of the best food Nova Scotia has to offer, I’m already planning my next visit.