It’s been a crazy summer weather-wise in Toronto and now, running into the first week of September, we are getting the warmest temperatures we’ve had all summer. Considering that it was Labour Day weekend and I had no plans to go to a cottage, I decided a visit to Centre Island would be a fun way to enjoy Labour Day. I’ve always wanted to try the Rectory Cafe; it’s pleasing garden patio overlooking the boardwalk at Ward’s Island has always called my name.
We hopped on the Ward’s Island Ferry at the foot of Bay Street at about 11 a.m. and were at the Rectory Cafe by 11:30 a.m. I wasn’t sure how busy the restaurant would be considering it was a holiday Monday so I thought getting there early would be the best move. Surprisingly, the patio was not busy yet, so we were able to sit wherever we liked. Many tables were adorned with freshly-picked flowers daydreaming in Mason jars.
Our friendly server approached us within a few minutes, provided us with menus and asked us if we wanted drinks. Both of us opted only for water. The Rectory Cafe’s menu focuses on farm fresh produce with several vegetarian and vegan options. Some of the starters include Tomato Hummus, Labneh, Mediterannean Salad, Char Grilled Calamari while entrees include Moroccan Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry, Summer Linguini and Fresh Atlantic Salmon. Our server informed us that the day’s specials included Chickpea, Bean and Vegetable Soup with sour cream and cheddar cheese ($7), and a Pulled Jerk Chicken Sandwich with Mixed Field Greens ($15). I was feeling quite hungry so I opted for both specials while my dining partner ordered the Cheddar Brisquet Burger with Mixed Field Greens, $15.
As we listened to the wind whisper in the poplars as it blew in off the lake, the patio started to get busy with patrons.
After about a 10 minute wait, my Chickpea, Bean and Vegetable Soup was served. The soup was rich and creamy and mildly spiced. You can order this soup without sour cream and cheddar cheese for a vegan option.
Our server brought our entrees about five minutes later. My dining partner’s Cheddar Brisquet Burger was served with tomato, lettuce, onion and aioli on a potato scallion bun. She thought the burger was quite good and cooked well, but opted to eat it without the bun, which she said was nothing exceptional.
My Pulled Jerk Chicken Sandwich was really tasty and quite spicy. It was also served with a delicious aioli on the aforementioned potato scallion bun and fresh, crisp mixed greens. We were both full after our meals so we decided to pass on dessert.
When we were ready to leave, we noticed that the patio was almost full.
We took a walk westward along the boardwalk towards Centre Island…
and stopped to rest at the gardens near the pier.
All in all, our visit to the peace-inducing Rectory Cafe and Ward’s and Centre Islands was a perfect way to wrap up a busy summer. The Rectory Cafe is open year-round and Centre Island is open for the remaining weekends in September. I imagine a visit to the Rectory Cafe in late September with the leaves starting to turn colour and a brisk chill in the air would be absolutely invigorating.