Food and Drink: The Dinner Party with White Bridge Food Co.

On a rainy Wednesday night, H and I wandered down a graffitied alley off Dundas West to N/A Collective, an artist’s studio space and the home of White Bridge Food Co.’s monthly dinner party series. Founded by Declan Edwards and Jeremy Thompson, White Bridge Food Co.’s monthly dinner party series, The Dinner Party, was conceived as a way for Declan and Jeremy, who both work in the culinary industry, to serve their own food to guests. They do everything from setting the menu to sourcing the products they use. The aim of The Dinner Party is simply to provide their guests with a complete dining experience – great food and great conversation. After spending the entire day preparing the courses, the duo take on two very different roles – Jeremy acts as a host, welcoming guests to the cocktail hour that precedes dinner and offering them a feature cocktail and snack, this time Bourbonade and spiced boiled peanuts, while Declan stays in the kitchen adding finishing touches to each plate, coming out with each new course to explain its preparation.

The theme and menu for each dinner party is unique and usually centres on dishes that Declan and Jeremy like to prepare and eat. April’s theme was BBQ: Summer is Coming. We started with a pulled pork sandwich topped with spicy ketchup and served with a side of cabbage and apple slaw. Jeremy entertains the group with an anecdote about the first time he ate pulled pork at the MLB All Star game in Seattle, while Declan explains that the organic, bone-in pork shoulder from Sanagan’s Meat Locker in Kensington Market was dry rubbed with a spice blend and braised in cast iron. The pork is juicy and melts in your mouth. It pairs perfectly with the acidic tang of the slaw. The apples add a satisfying crunch and move this dish past ordinary.

Next, we’re served beef ribs with a mustard sauce, over Brussels sprouts. The ribs are seasoned with paprika, garlic powder, cayenne, and salt, braised in the oven and finished on the grill, making the meat fall off the bone. They’re brushed with a mustard sauce that mixes grainy, Dijon and yellow mustards. The sharpness of the sauce gives these ribs a distinct flavour that makes them completely different from the standard rack of ribs. The accompanying Brussels sprouts were crispy and had a slightly charred taste, converting both H and I from Brussels sprouts haters to ladies who crave them.

As a third course the boys from White Bridge served brisket with jalapeño corn bread. Declan explained that the meat had been brined for two days, and rubbed with a spice blend of paprika, garlic powder, cayenne and salt. He then seared the meat, prior to barbecuing it for 5 hours at 200 degrees - the "low and slow" approach. The final product was tender brisket topped with a barbecue sauce made of blended onion, jalapeño, tomato and brown sugar. The meat paired nicely with the moist corn bread, studded with bits of spicy jalapeños.

At The Dinner Party dessert is always kept a secret. As a light ending to the meal, Declan and Jeremy opted to serve braised pears. The pears, braised in pear cider, were topped with vanilla ice cream and the reserved braising liquid, reduced until it reached a syrup-like consistency. The pears had a slight crunch – a nice change from what is usually expected of braised fruit.

Despite the lack of a conventional restaurant setting, Declan and Jeremy have managed to find a way to dish out delicious food with no pretense, and bring people together in the name of culinary exploration.

Interested in attending The Dinner Party or learning more about White Bridge Food Co.? Contact them here, or follow them on Twitter.

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