Overlooking Bronte Outer Harbour Marina on the shoreline of Lake Ontario, is Compass Lakeside Grill, tucked away on the main floor of Oakville's Harbour Banquet & Conference Centre, set within Bronte's beautiful Heritage Waterfront Park System. Cool and contemporary, Compass Lakeside Grill may lack charm and sophistication, but if you're fortunate enough to get one of the limited outdoor tables on the waterfront terrace, it's the best spot to enjoy fabulous views of sailboats, seagulls and sunsets, and sample executive chef Scott Bailey's locally inspired menu and seasonal dishes.
Bronte Harbour Marina in Oakville
The Compass Lakeside Grill and Conference Centre viewed from the water
Compass executive chef Scott Bailey
The main entry to Compass Restaurant from inside the Conference Centre
With an extensive menu of inviting cocktails, craft beers and wines from around the globe, it seemed a good idea to begin our lunch with a libation or two. We started with a Compass Mimosa, which featured champagne and orange juice, and arrived in a very pretty coupe; a Spritz, which the young waiter brought as a Spritzer of wine and soda until I showed him the cocktail menu featuring the Spritz with Aperol, white wine, soda, orange zest and orange bitters. Typically made in Italy with Prosecco and Aperol, this version was less sweet and rather lacklustre — perhaps I should have stayed with the Spritzer. The Cracked Canoe Beer was a bigger hit, along with the Classic Caesar, which arrived in a jam jar of Tag Vodka, tabasco, worcestershire, lime juice, olives and lemon.
The Compass Mimosa with champagne and orange juice in a stylish coupe
A Spritz made with Aperol, white wine, soda, orange zest and orange bitters
Cracked Canoe, a Canadian beer made by Moosehead Breweries in New Brunswick
Compass luncheon menu
The lunch menu featured a fixed selection of appetizers including French Onion Soup, Scallops & Duck Confit, Lemon Poached Calamari and Fig & Prosciutto Tart in addition to some daily specials which included the Soup of the Day, a thick and creamy Tomato Red Pepper Bisque, as well as a generous Roast and Pickled Beet Salad with wild arugula, goat cheese and quinoa.
The Daily Soup - Tomato and Red Pepper
Roast and Pickled Beet Salad with wild arugula, goat cheese and quinoa
French Onion Soup with sour dough croutons and Gruyere cheese, garnished with scallions
Main dishes included a selection of Pizzas from Bianca, Margarita and Natalina to the chef's daily inspiration — the 'Trust Me, You'll Like It' Pizza. Other comfort food favourites included a handsome Smoked Chicken Pot Pie with a nautically-inspired puff pastry top, and served with a roots & shoots salad; The Compass Burger with brie, baby kale, red wine onions, roasted fennel mayonnaise, house relish and fries; Pan Roasted Organic Salmon with crushed fingerling potatoes, braised asparagus and chorizo sausage; to the beautifully presented Ricotta Gnudi served with brown butter sauce, garden peas and Parmesan — hands-down the show stopping dish of the day.
Smoked Chicken Pot Pie served with a roots & shoots salad
Pan Roasted Organic Salmon with crushed fingerling potatoes,
braised asparagus and chorizo sausage
Chef's Choice - 'The Trust Me You'll Like It' Pizza
Chef Scott Bailey making the Ricotta Gnudi
Ricotta Gnudi with brown butter sauce, garden peas and Parmesan
The Compass Burger coming out from the kitchen of Chef Scott Bailey
The Compass Burger with brie, baby kale, red wine onions,
roasted fennel mayonnaise, house relish and fries