There’s a new taphouse in town

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Spaghetti meatballs… rich, comforting and the tomato sauce dynamic. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

“It’s no surprise there’s loads of beer on tap,” says dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON.

DICKSON Taphouse has been transformed (from the former Ducks Nuts) to create a vintage feel, including framed historic drawings of beer-making equipment and beer makers at work.

Wendy Johnson.

Vintage-style lights are hung about the place and the dusty rose-pink and emerald-green accent colours add warmth. 

We picked a possie near a window with the sun streaming in, settling for lunch. 

The menu features several ‘fusion items’, a couple of which had us wondering if there was more ‘confusion’ than ‘fusion’ with the flavour profiles.

With the arancini we were wrong ($11). The Italian rice balls featured fermented kimchi in the stuffing. The flavours were great and the kimchi packed a punch. The breadcrumb coating was crunchy. 

One schnitty is on the menu (parmesan and panko-crumbed for $25). There are no burgers or pizzas. Aside from snacks, there’s a line-up of pasta, a Scotch fillet ($42) and a fish ($36). The sole sweet is a Campari cake ($9).

With pasta, you pick your type, a sauce and a size (small or regular). We ordered small and were glad, since the portions are generous. 

The flavours in the spaghetti with meatballs were rich and comforting. The meatballs were handmade with pork, beef and fennel and the tomato sauce dynamic. Some of my pasta was slightly overcooked ($12 small/$19 regular).

A pasta also features under the menu’s ‘specials’. It was high on flavour with the pork, chilli and fennel working well together ($13/$20).

Radicchio salad… pretty and vibrant looking. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

We shared a radicchio, radish and orange salad (only $8) which was pretty and vibrant looking. We longed for a perky vinaigrette to make the dish dance a little more.

It’s no surprise there’s loads of beer on tap. The Dickson Taphouse’s wine list is a bit sparse (especially whites, which feature one riesling, a sauv blanc, chardonnay and Moscato). The good news is all wines can be ordered by the glass and bottle. 

Kimchi arancini… the flavours were great and the kimchi packed a punch. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

Some systems need smartening up (a staff member agreed the Taphouse is working on this). When we ordered, we weren’t told that all dishes would come out at once (even dessert) when the buzzer buzzed. There’s no warning on the menu that they would, and we weren’t asked if we wanted dishes staggered. We assumed, incorrectly, that the starter would start our meal and mains would follow. In the end, our pasta sat sadly waiting for attention and getting cold while we ate the arancini. 

Other refinements include providing serving cutlery for salads and plates for shared dishes. With these types of matters resolved, Dickson Taphouse’s systems will be slick and smooth.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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