Dinner Out: Dickie Baxter Taproom & Bistro

Scott Campbell

I love going out to dinner. That’s probably why I do it so much. I really enjoy an inventive menu with well-executed dishes, all featured in a fantastic space with hospitable people welcoming you. The one thing I enjoy more than all of this—is all of this in a brand new restaurant. There is an excitement that comes with dining out at a restaurant for the very first time. So, when I heard about the Dickie Baxter Taproom and Bistro—now open in nearby Canning—I was thrilled when we were able to get a reservation.

The restored circa 1852 house is the home for this amazing new venue. At first we were struck by the exterior of this fine restoration but once inside it was very apparent that we’d left the 19th century well behind us. Bright white walls, clean crisp lines, and a fresh décor with engaging artwork brought us into a modern, stylish, 21st century restaurant.

I had visited their website before arriving so I had an idea of what I was going to try on their menu, but then we were seated and met Clare—our server. Clare shared with us the specials for the evening and suddenly our decision-making took on a much higher degree of difficulty. I literally wanted to try everything. Clare was exactly the kind of server you’d expect in a restaurant like Dickie Baxter Taproom and Bistro—knowledgeable, attentive, charming, and respectful of our dining experience and conversation, yet always there when you need something. This level of professionalism is a rare commodity and I’m always happy when I find it where I’m dining.

I know I’ve chatted about the space and service and you’re likely wondering if I’m going to talk about the food. Chef Wayne is at the helm at Dickie Baxter Bistro and Taproom and he is steering it in a most delicious direction. His cooking experience at dining establishments in the Caribbean and all over the Maritimes is initially seen in the wonderfully eclectic menu, but when you actually get to try the food—that’s when it becomes apparent that you’re in the company of a world-class chef. I tried the beef tenderloin with charcoal spice, sauteed portobello mushrooms and Worcestershire gastrique. The mushrooms were a punch of flavour smothered in the gastrique but the tenderloin was definitely the star of the show. It quite literally melted in your mouth. I know people say that a lot but this actually did. Another guest at our table also had the tenderloin and mentioned that he’d recently had a steak dinner at a very well-known Halifax fine-dining destination and the one prepared by Chef Wayne was better. Other diners at our table enjoyed the maple glazed salmon and the BBQ chicken. They each raved about the deep rich flavours of both of these dishes and the gorgeous presentation.

And no discussion of a meal is complete without at least a mention of the dessert offerings. I had to try the spiced apple cake with spiced rum butterscotch drizzle. Every word in that name was mouth watering and the dessert itself did not disappoint. I will admit my eye wandered over the table at the Tammy’s chocolate torte—rich dark chocolate with raspberry coulis—but I was very happy with my ultimate selection. I finished off the evening with a glass of port from their great selection of drinks and cocktails.

So if you are, like I was, suffering from dining withdrawal then you only need two things to have a spectacular evening (or lunch or brunch?—which I’ll be back for soon) at Dickie Baxter Bistro and Taproom—a good appetite and a reservation. Maybe I’ll see you there. Cheers.

Dickie Baxter Taproom & Bistro
9809 Main Street, Canning, NS B0P1H0

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