When I was kid, Sunday mornings meant waking up early, dressing in my big-girl clothes and heading out for Sunday mass with my parents. Those who share my love of sleeping-in will understand that those were not happy times for me. Now that I’m all grown up, I worship and reflect in my own way…still Sundays, but these days it’s over brunch. Last sunday, it was at The Saint Tavern.
The Scene…Located at 227 Ossington Ave., the restaurant’s name is a nod to the Wesley United Church, once located at the northwest corner of Dundas and Ossington, the western limit of the city at the time. The church boasted over 2,000 members and was a mainstay of the community until it burned down in 1957.
Walking into The Saint feels a bit like walking into a french tavern. The bevelled windows and little white tiles, a long zinc bar, bistro tables and big roomy banquettes make you want to arrive for brunch but stay for dinner and drinks.
The Play-By-Play…I’m the first one to arrive and while I wait for my friends, seated at a plush oxblood booth, I order my first coffee of the day. For starters, the coffee was great – rich and strong. Most times I order a cappuccino or an Americano if it’s a first cup of the day because they’re more forgiving than a regular drip coffee in restaurants (that’s my weird logic anyway), but if the regular coffee is this good, the rest of the brunch is looking pretty promising.
When the rest of the crew arrives, we study the menu and decide on…well, eggs. I go classic – scrambled, with delicious home made sausage, potatoes and sweetest roasted tomato I ever tasted. My friends order the daily omelette and duck egg benedict on a cheddar biscuit, tasty smoked ham and potatoes.
As we enjoy the generous portions and catch up on the events of the week, the coffee keeps coming with no indication that we’re anywhere near overstaying our welcome. Before we go we order a cinnamon bun for dessert, which is warm, sweet, gooey and a perfect ending to the meal.
The Wrap…The Saint has been on a number of Best Of lists, and now I know why. The vibe here is not too young or overly stylish, if you can overlook a few slouchy beanies and a lot of plaid. But what’s noticeable is the absence of pretension. It’s friendly, welcoming and most appreciated is the fact that they take brunch reservations. After chatting with our lovely server, I learned that The Saint also hosts Sunday family-style supper, offering a choice of salad or soup, weekly roast and dessert at $29 per person which sounds like a great way to end the weekend. If food is your religion, seems to me this is the place to be.