The other day we all went out to Ancaster Mill to celebrate a friends birthday. Because there was over thirty of us we weren't able to order a la carte but went with their special events dinner menu instead. For anyone who hasn't been, the property is absolutely stunning! You really feel like you're in the middle of the woods and the rushing of the waterfall creates a nice calming atmosphere.
With banquet functions, I feel like the service is less personal and fine tuned. We were't assigned a specific server and no one introduced themselves or made any small talk. Our table wasn't presented with a wine list or a cocktail menu till thirty minutes after we'd been seated when we finally managed to flag down a server. Once the food came out though, dinner service went smoothly.
To please the masses, banquet functions usually offer one chicken, beef, and fish option. I obviously ordered the beef and luckily we had the chicken and fish option also represented at our table so I could snap up pics of those as well!
Everyone received the standard arugula and spinach salad with goat cheese and candied walnuts to start. Very simple, and delicious. I wish there were a few slices of prosciutto thrown in but no complaints!
It took a while for the main course to come out but we all filled up on more bread while we waited. I expected a place like Ancaster Mill to provide warm bread and was unpleasantly surprised when it came cold. I'm not sure if this is just for banquet functions or if it's standard practice. I believe bread should always be served warm, it takes minimal effort but creates a big impact - especially at the start of the meal. Warm bread is phenomenal and on such a cold day, it would have been very comforting.
To be honest, the mains were nothing special. They all came with creamy mashed potatoes, steamed carrots and rapini and a natural jus for the chicken & prime rib. Unfortunately, it's common to have such a plane menu for a banquet function where you have to please a larger group with lesser options but the execution of the dishes were excellent. My prime rib was moist and medium well, just the way I like it. I wish they would have provided a proper steak knife because it was hard cutting through the prime rib. The jus was on the bland side and needed more of a kick but the veggies had a nice bite to them.
When it came time for dessert, no one at our table was offered coffee or tea. We had to ask for it ourselves but by the time it came, everyone was almost half way though their creme brulee. It would have been nice to finish the meal with a hot cup of coffee and a warm brulee.
For the cost of the meal I would have preferred to order a la carte but overall the meal was good. Nothing mind blowing. There was a bit of complication at the end of the meal regarding billing but the lead server was very apologetic and accommodating. This was the level of service I expected all evening from Ancaster Mill.
During the summer, the girls and I did get a chance to come in for their champagne brunch. Which I highly recommend for any seafood lovers out there. They have an extensive brunch buffet including numerous live chef stations - one for omelettes, crepes, waffles and even smoothies! Although it is a little pricey, the experience is worth it. Yes, a part of the cost is for the gorgeous view and atmosphere but once you have a few mimosas or caesars you'll enjoy yourself immensely! What a better way to end the weekend then with an endless mimosa and caesar bar? We were quite a large group and our server did a great job of always making sure we had full glasses of champagne. I find the service a little on the snooty side, but they're always efficient and refined.
548 Old Dundas Rd