My Beloved and I had never been to Fid, a restaurant specialising in local products in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia, (Fidresto.ca) so, when the invite came one day recently, we readily succumbed to our primal instincts.
So, last evening, the god of parking spots was watching out for us and we found a niche for the car not a hundred metres from the restaurant. At least, that’s what we thought on seeing the Fid sign overhanging the sidewalk. And, sure enough, right under the sign were some steps up – but they went straight into a wall containing a window through which we could see people dining. Well, we couldn’t go through the window, so how on earth were we to get inside. Was this some sort of mean hoax by our host and hostess, Paul and Betty? Were we simply to stand outside and look through the window to watch them engorge themselves? Surely not. Then I remembered that the invitation said Fid in the Courtyard and, there, another twenty metres further was a small, almost insignificant sign, saying ‘Courtyard’ with an arrow pointing into a narrow alley. Ah, success!
We were the first to arrive and were seated a few minutes when Robert and Tracy arrived, subsequently followed by Peter, sans wife, and, finally, our host, Paul, accompanied by his wife, Betty. It turned out that Peter’s wife had gone to Oxford. Well, what is she doing in the UK, I asked, only to be laughed at by most at the table. No, it was Oxford, Nova Scotia, the blueberry capital of the world, to which she had gone to see relatives, not THE Oxford. As my pal of German heritage said, only a Brit would think of the UK when Oxford is mentioned: any Nova Scotian would think of Oxford, Nova Scotia. Well, I have been in Canada for more years (55) than he has been on this earth, but, I guess, I still have Britroots. Which coined word brings me to the dinner and ‘beetroots’.
We started with a white (of unknown cellar, as it was at the ‘white’ end of the table) or, if you chose, a red wine (Australian Shiraz at our ‘red’ end of the table). Before switching to the Shiraz, I actually started with a Virgin Caesar, which arrived, as requested, very spicy.
According to some at the table the basket of bread contained some very interesting-looking and provingly tasty breads.
As appetisers, the host and hostess chose a Caesar Salad with a poached egg on it. Some of us were overwhelmed with the huge size of the salad, but the two who had ordered them, declared them excellent and ate them. My Beloved ordered the Tuna Tataki, which came as a thin slice of tuna, rolled in mushroom dust, seasoned with ginger and very rare, like sushi rare, which delighted her. Another guest, Tracy, ordered the Fid cakes (salted cod fish cakes), while another guest and I ordered the half-dozen Eel Island, Nova Scotia, oysters. These arrived with a curry and balsamic vinegar sauce, but we both asked for hot sauce, which was home-made, but added a bit of spice to some very tasty oysters. Malpeque , you have competition!
Although we had ordered the main courses at the same time as the appetisers, we had a fairly long wait before the mains arrived. This was filled in with chat, however, although as we seven were at a long rectangular table, those of us at one end could not, without shouting, which some of us were forced to do from time to time, engage in conversation with those at the other end of the table. Nevertheless, chatting with friends is always good.
Finally the mains arrived. Two of us chose the rare grilled swordfish, which came with baby bok choy and spicy corn relish. The swordfish was done to perfection: lightly grilled with fine grill marks on the outside and not done at all inside – perfect. Some might say the bok choy should have been done a few more minutes, but I prefer to have underdone vegetables than soggy overdone ones.
Three of our companions ordered the Hanger steak with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and greens. Unfortunately, the greens, actually beetroot greens, contained a lot of what was described by all three companions, as ‘grit’. On reporting this to our server, a very pleasant young woman, two of the plates were returned to the kitchen and reappeared completely new with steak and kale, which were fine. The other companion (no name) continued to eat his grit with bravado.
My Beloved chose the halibut with exploded cherry tomatoes and olive oil cooked carrots. The fish was tasty, but a little bit dry. However, the exploded tomatoes were a real hit.
Unfortunately, I cannot recall what our admirable host chose for his main course, but I do know he ordered churros with chocolate and caramel for dessert and certainly cleared the plate! Our hostess chose the sorbet of the season with basil/lime shortbread, while another guest chose the deep-roasted coffee creme brulee. Another guest ended the meal with a Halifax coffee, a concoction specially ordered instead of the usual Spanish or other coffees, but which, on tasting, might have been a Spanish – oh, how distrusting of the bar staff are we! Others of us just sat and sipped the remains of our wine, watching the others enjoy their desserts, perhaps with a touch of envy, while watching our waistlines.
Altogether a fine evening with great company, some of whom we see only once or twice every year, and should see more often.
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