Situated on Ward’s Island by the boardwalk, The Rectory Café is a cozy, picturesque restaurant with a cottage feel. The Rectory was a residence built in 1948 and is one of the last original buildings still remaining on the island since Metro Toronto’s razing of the island in the 1960s.
The restaurant boasts a large patio with direct views of Lake Ontario and the Leslie Spit. Rectory had been a regular spot for island locals and visitors, but unfortunately, due to the flooding in the summer of 2016, Rectory Café is set to close its doors for good after Thanksgiving. It’s incredible that just 20 mins away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Toronto, a serene, cottage-like haven is only a ferry ride away.
Due to the flooding, the Rectory Café is only accessible via water taxis (such as Tiki Taxi) and the Ward’s Island Ferry, as the other Toronto Island ferries remain closed. Guests must have a purpose to be granted access via ferry; be sure to inform the ferry attendants that you are visiting Rectory Café to board the ferry.
We attended one of Rectory Café’s Wine Nights with Island Vines, featuring a French inspired menu by Chef Scott Cooney of The Rectory Café and wine pairings from France’s Rhone Valley with Nupur Gogia. The food and wine pairings were impressive and the courses were well portioned. Nupur provided plenty of information and facts about the wines we would be tasting, making the evening fun and educational. Her enthusiasm for her craft shines through; the crowd had fun with some trivia and giveaways at the end of the night as well.
Our first course was a beautifully presented plate of seared scallops with lardons served in a tarragon and lemon beurre blanc. The scallops were paired with Château Pesquié Les Terrasses Blanc 2016. The scallops were seared perfectly and the sauce had a light lemon flavour, adding layers of flavour to the scallops. The white wine was tropical, fruity, and acidic; definitely our favourite of the evening.
Next, we had a sous-vide beef rib with mashed potatoes, glazed baby heirloom carrots with a shiitake mushroom red wine demi glaze. The beef rib fell right off the bone, although the meat itself was not as melt-in-your-mouth as we expected. The sauce had a hint of sweetness to it and tasted perfect as it soaked into the creamy mashed potatoes. The mushrooms and heirloom carrots were fresh and added an excellent contrast in texture. The entrée was paired with Domaine Pierre Andre Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012, which had peppery and gamey notes.
For dessert, we had the gateau a la crème de pommes with brandy caramel sauce. The cake tasted like a fluffier version of a cheesecake and we completely devoured it. There were chunks of apple throughout the cake and the brandy caramel sauce was just sweet enough and not overpowering. The dessert was paired with Domaine de la Pigeade Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise 2014 which was a sweet, 15% alcohol dessert wine with hints of lychee and spiced apple.
On Friday, June 23rd, Rectory Café will be hosting another Wine Night with Island Vines. The theme will be Farm to Table and will feature the best that Southern Ontario has to offer. Tickets are $65 and include a 3-course meal with wine pairings, provided by Nupur Gogia from Island Wines. For more information and to RSVP, contact email@example.com.