May 05, 2016
Today was the exciting day we (finally) did our menu tasting! Being the week before our wedding, we were incredibly lucky that our caterer – Distinction by Sodexo – allowed us to do our menu tasting so last minute (usually done 1-2 months prior).
By this date, we had already confirmed our menu selection and the wine had also been selected ahead of time by the Distinction Sommelier. That meant although our menu was set, we could make recommendations for adjustments if the dishes didn’t suit our taste.
At the time of our booking, we chose the Symphony option. It was the most expensive at $125/person excluding 17% service charge and 14.975% taxes (cheapest option $85/pp). Despite it being pricey, it really had everything we wanted. Our #1 wedding priority was food (the more the better) so that’s where a majority of our budget went.
The Symphony Package included the following:
- 1 glass of sparkling wine per person during cocktail hour
- Passed canapés based on 3 pieces per person (choice of 4) during cocktail hour
- Fresh rolls and butter
- 5 course meal with a choice of soup, salad, granité, main course and dessert
- 2 glasses of upgraded wine per person during dinner (selected by Distinction Sommelier)
- Cake cutting service served after dinner with coffee and tea station
- Late night snack
- Colored tablecloth, napkins and choice of white or black chair covers
- Votive candles, china and glassware, table numbers and stands
Below was the menu available to us at the time, with our selections in bold
- Smoked Salmon on Cucumber Medallion
- Turkey Tenderloin with Applewood Smoked Bacon Skewer
- Beetroot Hummus on Crostini topped with Goat Cheese
- Vegetable Spring roll with Chive Plum Sauce
- Herb Risotto Lollipop with Pesto Sauce
- Canadian Coast to Coast mixed Crab Cake topped with Ponzu Aioli
- Bison Meat Ball Mini Fork with Berry Jelly
- Watermelon with Aged Balsamic and Mint Leaf
- Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Puree, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
- Coriander and Carrot Soup, Chive Oil
- Parsnip Root Soup, Apple Infused Sour Cream Crostini Garnish
- Braised Curry Chicken and Coconut Kaffir Lime Leaf Chowder, Basil Oil
- Grilled Cortland Apple and Parmigianino Shavings, Arugula, Trebbiano Grape Acidulated Fig Dressing
- Mixed Young Greens, Shaved Pickled Red Radish, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil Dressing
and Powdered Balsamic Vinegar
- Arugula Greens with Crumbled Goat Cheese, Dried Cranberry and a Raspberry
- Kale Caesar Salad with Grated Parmesan, Spicy Lemon Garlic Roasted Croutons,
Crumbled Free Range Egg and Topped with Pickled Crispy Capers
Chef’s selection of granite – which ended up being a refreshing palate cleanser similar to sorbet!
For Mains, we paid an extra $4/pp for guests to have a choice between 2 proteins. A vegan/GF/LF alternative is also offered at no additional costs.
- Pan Roasted Free Range Chicken Breast, Mushroom Herb Cream Sauce served with Potato Flan and Market Vegetables
- Maple and Sichuan Peppercorn Salmon over a Panko Crusted Risotto Cake served with Market Vegetables
- Ricotta and Spinach Cannelloni topped with a Roasted Tomato and Pesto Cream Sauce
- Pan Seared 6oz Canadian Beef Tenderloin topped with a Thyme and Roasted Shallot Reduction served with Potato Flan and Market Vegetables
- Pheasant Breast Stuffed with Thyme and Niagara Apple topped with a Port Reduction served with Potato Flan and Market Vegetables
- Pan Seared Veal Chop and Veal Jus infused with Star Anis served with Potato Flan and Market Vegetables
- Alternate Dish (vegan, gluten free, lactose free): Vegetable, Tofu and Portobello Stacker on a bed of Risotto and Roasted Tomato Coulis
- Cheese Cake with Raspberry Compote and topped with Ginger Sour Cream and Honey Powder
- Soften Half Baked Double Chocolate Brownie topped with Sichuan Peppercorn
Raspberry and Whipped Cream
- Salted Caramel Square with Mini Upside Down Coffee Mousse Cone and Whipped
- Lemon and chives crusted tilapia with a white wine cream sauce
Kid’s Meal included veggies and dip, chicken fingers and fries, chef’s dessert and juices/soft drinks.
The late night snack option was too easy: Poutine with fries, cheese curds, and gravy! (Or Sliced Canadian Deli Meats and Canadian Cheeses, Mustards and Basket of Mini Ciabatta Buns)
For alcohol, we decided to have an Open Bar/Host Bar – luckily for us, our guests didn’t drink nearly as much as we estimated and we ended up getting a partial refund!
Josee Pilon (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the catering representative and met us for our tasting. It was our first time meeting her (used to be someone else when we first signed our contract). She was friendly and easy to get along with, which was great!
The tasting also took place in the Panorama Lounge, which was the upstairs venue we had booked as our backup indoor rainy day option so it gave us the opportunity to scope it out some more 🙂
They also had the table set up so we could appreciate what the settings would look like. Of course, it would look slightly different with our own centrepieces, napkin arrangements, menus and wedding favours!
Josee stayed with us through out the tasting to make notes of our feedback and finalise reception details. We initially thought it would be weird to have someone watch us eat, but surprisingly, it was pleasant and not awkward at all!
We were also surprised to find out we’d be having full servings! It was explained to us that that way, we could appreciate the presentation and serving size of each dish – definitely not expected but well appreciated!
Bread rolls and butter
First course was Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Puree, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds which was warming and delicious. We were definitely off to a good start.
Then came the Grilled Cortland Apple and Parmigianino Shavings, Arugula, Trebbiano Grape Acidulated Fig Dressing. We wanted to choose a non traditional salad that would still appeal to a majority of guests and were very happy with how nicely the sweetness of apples worked so well with the saltiness of the cheese and the acidity of the dressing!
We also got to taste the red wine that would be served – Domaine Houchart, Côtes de Provence, France. Unfortunately, the white (Flying Solo, Grenache Blanc – Viognier, France) was not available to taste on the day! We quite enjoyed the red and wish it was sold here in Australia so we could buy some!
Michael and I shared the 3 mains, thank goodness!
First was the Maple and Sichuan Peppercorn Salmon over a Panko Crusted Risotto Cake served with Market Vegetables. The salmon was seasoned and cooked beautifully and we especially liked the risotto cake which was moist and very flavourful with hints of citrus.
Pan Seared 6oz Canadian Beef Tenderloin topped with a Thyme and Roasted Shallot Reduction served with Potato Flan and Market Vegetables. Beef was cooked medium rare and was nice and tender. The only comment we had was the reduction was just a little too salty for our tastes – which was noted.
Last of the mains was our alternate dish Vegetable, Tofu and Portobello Stacker on a bed of Risotto and Roasted Tomato Coulis. Although we definitely preferred the previous 2 dishes, we appreciated that this dish was quite substantial and filling. Not your typical salad/pasta vegetarian option.
And finally, dessert Cheese Cake with Raspberry Compote and topped with Ginger Sour Cream and Honey Powder. Ginger sour cream is a flavour we’ve never had before and it was definitely a winner!
If our guests ate the same meal we did (which will also include a granite and canapes we didn’t have the chance to try) – surely they will be happily stuffed! 🙂 We left the tasting incredibly happy with our choices!
On the Day:
Michael and I had to take family photos and did not have the chance to try the canapes! 😦 We hope everyone else enjoyed them on our behalf.
The soup and salad were just as good as we remembered it. I’ve been told that the beef was cooked nicely and wasn’t overly salty. Unfortunately, myself and a few others who had the salmon did find it overcooked and slightly dry. In particular, I was disappointed with the risotto cake which was dry and lacked the punch of flavour that impressed me so much at our tasting. Otherwise we had no complaints with our food!
Everyone loved the poutine bar! Despite it was gauged at 4oz/pp there was heaps for anyone who wanted seconds, even thirds! The best part? Real cheese curds!
We cut our cake during dinner service, which was later put out for guests to enjoy. Our package was meant to include ‘cake cutting service.’ The tiers of our cake were separated (top tier saved) and set on the table for guests to self serve – which was fine as they could help themselves to whatever they wanted.
None of our guests brought up any concerns at the wedding reception. It seemed like everyone had a good time and were happy with the service and the food.
There were a few stand out/feedback moments for us:
- Despite providing a seating plan with everyone’s meal option, my husband and I personally witnessed 2 (of 5) vegetarian guests served the wrong dish – one who was a groomsman at the head table! It was eventually sorted out but surely a simple “I’ve got a vegetarian dish for so-and-so?” should’ve been easy?
- Dry salmon and bland risotto as mentioned previously
- My mother told me after the wedding that a server had been incredibly rude towards my grandma for using cutlery in the wrong order. Apparently she had used her main knife and fork for her entree and was rudely told she shouldn’t have done that when the table was being cleared.
- The lack of announcement that poutine and/or cake was being served meant that those too busy on the dance floor/photo booth didn’t realise food was available! Especially since our cake was brought out to our ‘gifts table’ closer to the entrance of the venue, even we didn’t realise it! Our suggestion would be for the staff to ask the DJ/emcee/another guest to make an annoucement when late night food and/or cake is available so everyone has the chance to enjoy!
- Would have been nice for guests to have a bar menu to know what was available to order. We were told this would be provided but unfortunately it wasn’t to be seen!
- A minor detail that doesn’t change anything but it was a little disappointing to see our napkin placement was not as we had wanted – for such a simple design too!
This was the photo we had provided, loved the wide and long hanging napkin design that would give us a nice pop of colour as we planned to place a menu and wedding favour on top.
Our setting on at the wedding reception – the napkin was placed much higher on the table. As a result, less colour seen and less flow of napkin into the tablecloth!
Aside from the few glitches above, we were very happy with our wedding reception and the all encompassing catering service!
We would definitely recommend the Museum of History and Distinction by Sodexo to any of our friends looking for a beautiful wedding/reception venue that includes everything from set up to tear down for your peace of mind 🙂
The wedding packages offered by Distinction by Sodexo at the Museum of History seem to have undergone an overhaul since our booking. You can view their current options HERE. The packages appear more expensive now and do not include the same amount of options that we had.
Their most expensive package is now called Distinctly Unique ($150/pp) and has the following differences: less options to choose from for every course, 3 instead of 4 chosen canapes, 3 and not 5 course meal, no upgraded wine at dinner, no glass of champagne included with canapes, late night snack not included (poutine bar an extra $10/pp).
Man are we glad wedding planning is officially behind us… weddings are expensive!