Sort-of Secret: Noble House, a small-scale kitchen for family style takeout from the 416 Snack Bar chef
A series that shines a spotlight on the city’s hidden edible gems
The sort-of secret: Noble House, a micro-kitchen with a rotating menu of family style meals
You may have heard of it if: You follow Dustin Gallagher, executive chef at 416 Snack Bar, on Instagram
But you probably haven’t tried it because: They offer a limited number of meals per week
As we hunker down again, eating every single meal with our immediate bubble, we might run into an all-too-common problem: mismatched tastes at the dinner table. “I love spicy food, but even black pepper is too hot for our six year old,” says Gallagher. “So, we love a choose-your-own-adventure eating style at home. We put out a bunch of different options on the table—little spicy things, crunchy things and salty things. That way everyone’s happy, but we’re all still eating the same meal together.”
That philosophy underlies the new venture Gallagher runs with his partner, artist Flo Leung: Noble House, a new takeout operation selling family-style meals and (slightly smaller) date-night meals for two. Every two weeks, the pair picks a new food style and makes it available for pre-order from Tuesday to Thursday. Recent meal kits include a Cantonese-style duck dinner, and a prime rib feast complete with Yorkshire pudding.
Each menu is cooked out of their Parkdale kitchen and studio—a space they moved into pre-pandemic, intending to turn it into a combined private dinner venue, catering operation and art studio for Leung’s freelance illustration business. (You’ll find her charming artwork on the menu cards accompanying each meal). When Covid hit, they adjusted, and they’re thrilled and grateful for the support the new business model is receiving.
Their next dinner, “Meatball Party,” is an Italian-American style smorgasbord. The main event is baked ziti with a thick blanket of browned provolone and mozzarella, accompanied by eight big meatballs in a fragrant (but also kid-friendly) tomato sauce. In the spirit of choose-your-own-adventure eating, it comes with plenty of sides, each incorporating delightful bits and bobs. There’s rapini with a side of chili oil, chili flakes and fried shallots; a mortadella snack plate with olives and stracciatella, with crunchy grissini and garlicky flatbread; a “Happy Olive Garden” green salad with zingy dressing and a side of peperoncini peppers; and buttery house-made garlic bread.
If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a container of verdant pesto, extra parm, chili oil, Brio (for four or two, depending on the meal size) and a seriously beautiful tiramisu made of pillowy ladyfinger biscuits under a heavy dusting of cocoa. It’s a feast fit for four hungry people, but there’s a chance there might even be some leftovers. If that’s the case, throw some of that chili oil on your eggs in the morning, dust leftover parm over your next bowl of pasta, or snack on olives when you’re feeling peckish during a Zoom call. This is the kind of grocery-stretching, time-saving value we could all use more of these days.
“People are juggling so many things right now, on top of meal planning and grocery shopping,” says Leung. “Sometimes it’s nice to have a break in the middle of the week: just pick something up, sit down and eat.” Amen. Pick up your “Meatball Party” ($120 for four, and $80 for two) between Tuesday and Thursday at their Parkdale location in the first two weeks of December. Order on their website, and check their Instagram page or sign up to their mailing list for updates.