I recently celebrated a birthday and wanted to try a new space that my friends and family wouldn’t have visited yet. I saw that Black Dog Hospitality Group — the umbrella company of popular restaurants Dianne’s, Chien Noir, Atomica and Harpers also offers catering. Initially I thought I would host everyone in my house and cater in but decided against that idea (boo clean up!) and settled on hosting a dinner in their catering space – Black Dog Food Lab. This hidden space downtown on Ontario steet is decorated beautifully and perfect for an intimate gathering!
I contacted the Catering Manager Rebecca Smith she got back to me swiftly and planning was well on its way!
Rebecca sent four menu options for me to review and choose: one that represented each of their three beloved restaurants – Dianne’s, Chien Noir, Atomica – as well as a special holiday menu. After long speculation I chose the holiday menu and shared it with my 24 guests. It was as simple as asking my guests to pick from 1,2,3 or 4 and sending those details to Rebecca.
The entire planning process from beginning to end was seamless right up until an hour before the dinner when I sent Rebecca an updated seating chart. After sharing my guest’s meal choices, an invoice for half the amount of dinner was sent ahead of time. I then shared the seating chart that I sketched up quickly on a piece of paper with Rebecca and the rest was taken care of. About a week before the dinner I tossed out the idea of having a signature cocktail for my guests as they arrived and Rebecca sent back five recipes for me to choose from. I went for a Prosecco, tequila, lime a mint cocktail and it was a crowd pleaser.
This space is such a perfect option for anyone wanting to celebrate or gather with close friends and family outside of their home but in an intimate space. When I eat out with friends and family we usually laugh so hard that we feel we are disrupting our neighbouring tables but being in a private space meant we could laugh until out bellies hurt and not bother any fellow diners.
I have so much to share about my experience I thought I would break it down by category:
Atmosphere: Cream, embellished walls, mid century modern light fixtures, exposed brick – this space is beautiful. It’s simple details like the gold charger plates are the perfect backdrop for any celebration. The space fits a maximum of 24 for a seated dinner, 28 for passed appetizers and requires a minimum of 20 to book.
Attention to detail: A sandwich board was outside in front of the entrance with all of the names of my guests made into a collage to spell out the number 30 (how old I turned). Every time a guest walked in they were handed a signature cocktail and every person’s plate was garnished beautifully (my Arctic char was topped with an edible rose!).
Food (most important!): Everyone raved about their meals. My scallops were cooked perfectly, my friends would not stop talking about the roasted parsnip and apple soup and my husband (picky eater!) cleaned his plate. If you’re familiar with Black Dog Hospitality’s restaurants, you know they support our local farmers by using fresh, local ingredients. The Food Lab is no exception to the top quality food they provide in our community. And note gluten-free, vegetarian and allergy accommodations are available.
$$$$: The three course meals ranged from $40-$55 plus a staffing fee. Considering the incredible food and service – the price is well worth it. Drinks range from $12 for the signature cocktail to $8 for a glass of wine and $9 for a beer (they carry Kingston’s favourite brew, Mackinnon Brothers!).
*Note that this post is partially sponsored by Black Dog Hospitality. I do not share sponsored content that I don’t wholeheartedly endorse myself.*