584 Old Dundas Road
Last weekend I got the opportunity to finally have one of my favourite annual traditions- the Sunday brunch at Ancaster Mill. Technically, I usually go to Spencer’s, but ever since we had my Dad’s 60th during the Mill’s brunch it has become my new go to. Spencer’s and Ancaster Mill are owned by the same group so their brunches are both stellar.
Here’s the gist of it: $49/person and you MUST make reservations. This is not the time to be spontaneous. Plan the event a few weeks ahead, book your table and dress nice. Both Spencer’s and Ancaster Mill are fine dining restaurants and a good excuse to change out of your yoga pants. The service is great at both, although I have to say Ancaster Mill is more consistent and attentive. Probably because it is smaller as well and easier for the servers to keep track of you.
There is a layout through the main dining rooms of a cold charcuterie section, fresh fruit and salads and cold seafood bar with FRESHLY SHUCKED OYSTERS! You can bet I stood in front of the oyster dude for an uncomfortable amount of time. There is also a section of fresh juices and hot chocolate although there are unlimited champagne cocktails, tea and coffee including in the price. I am very partial to their Kir Royales mostly because I feel very fancy drinking them. In the same large dining room as the cold foods there are various breads, baked goods and preserves.
In the smaller dining room there is the hot bar with a carving station and various different warm options including made to order omelettes, crepes and waffles. My personal favourite from this area are the pierogies. They have all the makings of the perfect food: fresh soft dough, butter, potatoes, cheese and sour cream.
Finally you arrive at the real reason you came in the first place, the dessert table. So there are a lot of delicious options including various cakes, pies, cookies and tarts. They always seem to have warm bread pudding and apple crumble. You MUST TRY THEIR HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS! I know it seems weird and you will wonder, “why did I pay $50 to eat marshmallows?”. Well because homemade marshmallows do not taste like anything you have ever eaten before. Those dipped in their chocolate fountain are like a heavenly opera in your mouth. You’re welcome.
Everyone has different taste, but below I have compiled a list of consistent hits and missed in the buffet based on a consensus from family and friends.
Cold seafood table: I already mentioned the oysters, but they also have crab legs, shrimp, sushi, smoked salmon and pickled herring as well as a seafood salad. Normally I would feel a bit grossed out by the idea of a seafood salad and would be thinking it is a quick ticket to food poisoning. If you are ever going to have this dish done well in a landlocked place like Ontario, it is here. Favourite from this station: smoked salmon and pickled herring.
Hot bar: Broccoli with pine nuts. Even if you don’t like broccoli, try this, it is deliciously done. I have already sang my praises of the pirogies, but let me take this time to emphasize the need to take the sour cream to it with it. SOMEONE (cough cough husband) did not take sour cream and stole the last of MY sour cream to eat his pierogies with. The sour cream is right there people, use it. Things that I personally don’t enjoy but have been told by others are amazing: shepherd’s pie, honey glazed ham and bacon.
Crepe station: The crepes are awesome, but I do think you have to get a little creative. They only serve nutella or mixed berry and don’t have a lot of toppings other than whipped cream. However, if you take your crepe a few steps down to the ice cream bar area, you can go nuts (literally) with the topping bar for the ice cream. Pro tip- ask the crepe maker for extra nutella- you can never have enough nutella.
Whomp Whomp- Misses:
Waffle station: They make these in advance and they are a bit soggy. Don’t hold a candle to the crepes.
Salad bar: I am actually a salad fan, but this salad bar didn’t do it for me. Largely frequented by a small group of terrified “I’m gluten-dairy-soy-fat-and-calorie-sensitive” females who seem to have accidentally found themselves at this buffet, this area is best minimally sampled.
Bread bar: OK I am torn on this. Their breads and baked goods are actually pretty amazing. But ask yourself, do you really want to fill up on bread in this situation. Again if you are a certain SOMEONE who accompanied me last time, you will fill up on bread and then judge others who saved room for bread. Don’t be that someone.
This review is specifically for their Sunday brunch, stay tuned for a dinner review!
Overall rating: 5/5