By: Spicy Jan
Join me as I step inside the tall wooden doors, walk up stairs that royalty has walked before me and find a dining out experience waiting behind the menu.
Our destination with only two crisp twenties, The Olde School House Restaurant in Brantford, at the corner of Powerline and Paris Road.
When you step inside the heavy wooden doors at this prominently located establishment, you sense something special may occur. High ceilings, waiters in tuxedos, tables set with crisp white linens ready for guests to arrive.
The scene is set for a fine dining experience with yes, dated décor, yet part of the enjoyment of this location I found, is the conversations over dinner about everything you see and learn while experiencing this restaurant.
We arrive in jeans, fresh off the motorcycle and ready to attempt a dining out experience on a crisp fixed budget.
Will they, or won’t they … let’s begin!
“A Table for Two please,” I said.
We were escorted to a perfect corner table for two in the bar section that offered a perfect view of the entire area. The dated provincial flags hanging from the ceiling, the mural of Alexander Graham Bell, the two foot pepper mill, I hadn’t been to this location in years, so taking in the décor was actually a treat. Although, I did have a sense I may not be successful in the attempts to dine out on a budget at this restaurant.
The server was welcoming, filling our water glasses, situating our menus on the table and offering the specials of the day. While he was speaking I had a quick peek at the menu pricing and knew it was time.
The point of Table 4 Two is making a connection with the interest of dining out on a fixed budget and if the server will engage in offering suggestions to ensure we have an experience that is respectful, delicious, and welcoming right to the end.
The dialogue began … this is the part I won’t disclose. Dining out on a fixed budget is where it all begins and really, it’s up to the server to engage and keep the table, or not.
After some back and forth, allergy, preference and menu options, the server was 100 per cent hospitality focused to ensure we had a wonderful experience, and treated our ‘Table 4 Two’ with care, attentiveness and made a perfect selection for dinner.
The Olde School House nailed it with two thumbs up and within our budget of $40.
From my vantage point, we were not treated any differently because we were dining out on a budget. We were customers and he offered the highest level of service from first contact to end goodbye.
First to arrive to the table was a warm basket of fresh bread and delicious spinach butter for our starter, compliments of the house.
“Lovely, thank you!” I said.
Shortly thereafter the most delicious Caesar Salad I have had in years arrived. Our waiter made sure the kitchen split a large salad into two bowls. The dressing was smooth, not oily, not heavy creamy, but lightly tossed with garlic, pepper and a hint of anchovy. The bacon was present and it was a plentiful salad.
Next he chose, with our approval, a gorgeous Fettuccini Alfredo with Seafood. Two plate bowls arrived filled with pasta, a gorgeous yellow Alfredo, pipping hot topped with scallops, shrimps and calamari. This was our dinner?
“You split our order for us,” I noted with surprise.
“Yes of course, we wanted you both to enjoy your meal, so we split it for you making sure you each had enough,” our server said.
The dish was beautiful. The seafood was on every fork and the Alfredo was a gorgeous yellowy cream butter sauce that I could have eaten all night.
It was obvious by the quantity of our portions, that the kitchen was pleased to serve us with pride, regardless of the fact that we had articulated that we were dining out on a budget.
We decided to attempt a meal on a budget at this establishment, we were honest as to the price point up front and they accepted this and accommodated so we could enjoy an experience of dining out at The Olde School House. The final bill? $40.57.
Now remember, I arrived on a motorcycle with helmet hair, no makeup and my jeans on. I wasn’t dressed up, all set for fine dining. I was being me at the end of a busy workday, authentically looking to enjoy a meal on a budget in Brant.
They didn’t know I was coming, and I don’t know them. This was a true organic experience of great food, service and commitment to their customers.
I have gained a newfound respect for our server and this establishment for what they offer, even when it’s not the Queen walking through door.