Up, down, left, right, and all around – it was a day to explore part of the west end with good eats, a great market, and plenty of new food discoveries! I sat myself down to a nice, quiet meal at Gayley’s Cafe on the same day I skipped around Sorauren farmers’ market and the west end of Toronto. I walked and walked and walked till I pooped out at the library on Roncesvalles. And then I walked some more.
But before we give Roncy and the rest of the west end some more love (and trust me, it’s coming!), we’re going to start with a fab breakfast at Gayley’s! My last visit to this great brunch and lunch cafe was about a year ago and I promised myself I would come back and have a hack at their breakfast menu, chock full of eggs benny dishes, waffles with apple compote, chocolate chip pancakes, and good old fashioned home fries and bacon. Much like their lunch menu, their breakfasts are all priced around$5-$10 with many different choices to suit both savoury and sweet appetites.
There were so many things I loved about this particular visit. For starters, I realized right off the bat that the artwork on the walls had changed. Instead of the colourful, vibrant paintings of whimsical flowers and fairy-like female portraits, there were beautiful photographs of the Azores islands in the North Atlantic ocean! They switch up their artwork and I love how they remain committed to giving Canadian and local artists exposure doing this, and how it gives the cafe a sense of freshness and newness and a bit of a different vibe each time.
Next, Gayley’s is so thoughtful when it comes to their food. I was in the mood for some spinach eggs benny so I ordered their eggs benedict florentine and I was completely taken aback when the nice gentleman who took my order asked me if I wanted my poached eggs well-done, medium, or runny. OH.MY.GOD. I have had eggs benny on a number of occasions and I have NEVER, EVER been asked that! I was floored. I happily told him I wanted them medium (I looove my eggs a little runny) and I was met with even more jubilance when I asked him if I could have a side of fresh fruit instead of home fries or salad.
I really wanted some fruit with my breakfast so I asked if it would be okay to substitute (yes, for an additional $1 which I was more than fine with) and since I knew the fruit salad would most likely contain something I was allergic to, I asked him what types of fruit were included in it and he was so nice about listing them and ticking them off his fingers one by one. After making sure it would also be okay to only have cantaloupe, strawberries, and other berries (and not honeydew, pineapple, and pears), the meal actually became even more fantastic!
My plate of beautiful eggs benedict florentine covered in hollandaise with fresh cut fruit on the side came to me with two delicate poached eggs on a bed of baby spinach and crunchy English muffins. It was so pretty! My plate looked like a happy rainbow and that, in turn, made me even happier. I was told that none of my fruit had come into contact with anything I said I was allergic to (how thoughtful, careful, and sweet!) and after that, I dug in! HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL! Ladies and gents, you must go to Gayley’s for eggs benny. Actually, forget that, just come for food! Aside from the fact that their English muffins are crunchy as opposed to soggy (big turn-off) and their poached eggs are perfect, their hollandaise sauce is to die for!
I can’t even wrap my head around how insanely delicious, scrumptious, and mouthwatering their hollandaise is. It smelled divine straight off the plate but having it envelope your tastebuds is a completely different experience. Their hollandaise tastes like Ruffles sour cream and onion potato chips!!! Yes, that deserves three exclamation points – and then some! Just think back to those childhood days when you would chomp on those sour cream and onion chips everyone loved so much, grabbing every last tiny crumb from the bottom of the bag and licking your fingers for that last bit of yumminess. Okay, so that might be a little gross, but we all know we did it and maybe some of us still do! I have never had hollandaise that tasted like this and it was so, so good.
It’s a shame I’ve been missing out on their breakast all this time but I’m glad I finally made my way back here. I am definitly looking forward to trying their waffles with apple compote (I’m not allergic to preserves, hurray!) as well as some of their other items. Gayley’s is both dine-in and take-out and with its laid-back atmosphere, its a wonderful cafe in the west end for those lazy mornings and quiet togethers surrounded by nice people and great food.
Gayley’s Cafe is located at 1424 Dundas St. West, east of Dufferin St. off Gladstone Ave. They serve all-day breakfast as well as lunch with a number of meat and vegetarian sandwiches, soups, baked goods, and coffee drinks.