I don’t know about you, but when I get invited to big functions the one thing I’m most excited for is the food. Not to say that a wedding or holiday party isn’t the main event, but to me, the food is one of the most memorable things about the whole soiree. My condolences to whoever has to cater my wedding whenever I decide I want to get married, because I’m going to be crazy with high expectations for my food.

My company had our holiday party at Otello’s, which is a banquet hall that is located on the border of Oakville and Mississauga. The venue is split into a small room in a building to one side, and the main building has one large room that can be split in half with a room divider. Our function was in the main building and we had the whole big room to ourselves. Walking in through the doors, you are in a small foyer with two sets of double doors leading to the main room. The foyer is small but cozy with a fireplace between the sets of doors and warm lighting throughout.

The room itself has a bar directly to the right of the doors along the back wall, and a stage area along the whole left wall. There were no windows in the room, but again, the lighting was warm and there was a cozy feel to the room. Round tables of ten were set up across the room, and there is a dance floor if that is what you’re looking for. From what I understand, there were multiple linen choices and my company chose to go with black table covers and white napkins. The look was elegant and simplistic.

On each table there was a basket of assorted rolls and breads and plates with pats of butter sprinkled with coloured salts. The first course was a butternut squash soup that was served piping hot in simple white bowls. The soup had small chunks of diced butternut squash at the bottom and flecks of parsley floating at the top. The broth was smooth and creamy, pureed to a fine consistency.  The flavouring was subtle and the sweet notes of squash sang through the light cream. It was delicious and kept me wanting more.
As we were enjoying the soup, each table was brought a large bowl of mixed greens which was placed in the middle. I have no problem eating family-style, but one of my fellow diners asked for salad plates and was told that we were to use our bread plates. I found that to be an extremely odd answer – especially for a banquet hall which must serve multiple functions – to not have salad plates was strange to me.

The main course was steamed mixed vegetables, roasted potatoes and chicken in white wine sauce. The presentation was again simplistic; there was no fancy drizzling or anything like that here. A sprinkle of parsley was the only garnish to be had. The carrots and the broccoli were slightly over-cooked and had lost the crispness you would expect when biting into a perfectly steamed vegetable. There was no extra seasoning or anything added to the simply steamed vegetables. I actually ended up leaving them on my plate because one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to food is overcooked vegetables. Soft and mushy should not be part of my vegetable vernacular when it comes to steaming. A good steamed vegetable should be cooked and have a crunch to it when I bite down. Getting off my vegetable soapbox, the potatoes were delicious. Perfectly seasoned with the smell of fresh herbs and roasted until there was a crispy skin and soft middle. I was much more pleased with the potatoes in comparison to the vegetables. Finally, the chicken had its low points and its high points. The piece I had was cooked to perfection where the skin was crispy and the meat was tender and juicy. The white wine sauce was a light cream sauce that was heavy on the parsley and salt, but I didn’t quite taste the wine. My biggest complaint with the chicken was that although it was cooked perfectly, it had no flavour. I suppose the thought was that the wine sauce would provide the majority of the flavour, but since the sauce fell flat in that department, I had a perfectly roasted piece of chicken that didn’t taste like much. It needed more seasoning, and the sauce needed to be more flavourful and they could have knocked this dish out of the park.
Lastly, for dessert we had a chocolate mousse with a swirl of raspberry served in martini glasses. The garnish was half a strawberry, a small brownie and a dollop of whipped cream which tasted as though it was fresh whipped. The brownie was decadent and the bite sized morsel was almost a rich enough dessert on its own. Dark chocolate baked into a dense brownie with a crispy edge – it was delicious. The parfait was okay. I neither loved it, nor hated it, but it was very average tasting and didn’t “wow” me as I thought it would. The mousse was light but the raspberry tasted thinned and almost too syrupy. Overall, I enjoyed the small brownie on top more than I did the actual dessert.
My overall impression of Otello’s is that it is a warm and cozy venue for smaller events (I think it has the capacity for around 200 people? Don’t quote me on that, but it’s not huge by any means). The service was friendly and discrete, and I appreciated the gesture they made of serving the women at the table first before serving the men (call me old-fashioned but I thought that was really nice). The food was decent and has potential to be outstanding. My only concern is that we were a group of about 60 people and there were a few slip-ups that I noticed, so I would be mindful of that if I was booking an event for a large group.

2273 Royal Windsor Dr., Oakville


Laura P said...
January 24, 2011 at 10:36 PM

I went here for a wedding back in June. It was nice. I'm pretty sure we were served the same chicken dish if I remember correctly. We also had prime rib that was very good.

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