Introducing: Mata, the South American restaurant that replaced Keriwa in Parkdale
Contact Info: 1690 Queen St W., 647-691-0234, matabar.ca, @MataBarTO
Owners: Sharath Dwakarnathan, Steve Fernandes, Felipe Faccioli, Patrick Fraser and Tulio Lessa
Chefs: Felipe Faccioli, Patrick Fraser and Tulio Lessa
The Food: South American ceviches and sandwiches, plus some North American dishes with Latin twists, like beef-cheek poutine with Cassava frites instead of traditional Yukon Golds. Chicken hearts are smoked, deep-fried and served on a bed of cauliflower purée. For less adventurous eaters, there are burgers and barbecue, although the ribs are dressed in a guava-based sauce and the sliders use a Brazilian top cut called picanha, smothered in a creamy South American cheese that has the consistency of thick béchamel.
The Drinks: The cocktail list is heavy on cachaça, a popular Brazilian spirit, including a spicy Caesar laced with bode vermelha, a South American hot pepper. Wine and beer are also available.
The Place: Mata is the fourth restaurant since January to open on the strip of Queen West between Lansdowne and Roncesvalles. The bones of what was formerly Keriwa have remained the same, but the decor is new. The space has been designed to resemble a casual South American cantina (albeit one with a very large design budget). A backlit mural of vintage cerveza labels is a bold statement against all the dark wooden surfaces.