Toronto’s Financial District is quickly becoming a hotspot for those looking for a little more than just a spot to go to for happy hour. With upscale restaurants with a cult culinary following like Chotto Matte popping up, the downtown core has become a lively spot 7 nights a week to drink and dine in, We sat down with Chotto Matte Founder, Kurt Zdesar to learn more about this new hot spot in the city.
What was your inspiration for launching Chotto Matte?
It all started with my fascination with Nikkei cuisine since it brings all the great, vibrant flavours of Peru and the perfection and cleanliness of Japan. I wanted to learn more about it so I spent a substantial amount of time in Peru, eating my way through every kitchen from street markets to fine dining restaurants. I wanted to bring this cooking to the forefront of dining in London, where it didn’t exist so I launched Chotto Matte in London first, then Miami, and now Toronto.
Can you tell us a little bit of Chotto Matte’s restaurant deisgn?
Restaurant design can become monotonous and boring so I really wanted to inject a massive piece of colour and light to this corner of Toronto, especially since it’s right in the heart of the financial district and sporting events are at our doorstep. We will feature beautiful artwork created by local artists to evoke a sense of modern-day Tokyo , floor to ceiling glass panels that reach thirty-feet high, and a beautiful outside terrace wrapped with lots of plants. I had help from Andy Martin Architecture (AMA) where they had a 10,000 sq. ft. blank canvas to design a contemporary Tokyo urban culture feel.
What should you order at Chotto Matte?
We will have sophisticated plates infusing Nikkei cuisine like gyoza and sashimi blending with ceviches and corn puffs. The menu was developed and by my love of Nikkei cuisine in mind. My favourite dishes are sato maki sushi roll (sea bass, salmon, romano pepper, lime soy), asado de tira (slow cooked beef, asparagus, purple potato, teriyaki sauce), and from the robata barbecue, the pollo den miso (chicken miso, carrot, daikon, yellow chilli salsa).
What do you see Chotto Matte becoming in Toronto?
I want an environment that feels fun and relaxing, where you forget the stress of where you’ve just come from. I want it to be a place where you feel like you’ve stepped out of Toronto and are now on holiday. For example, our bar called AkACHAN, or baby in Japanese, will be wrapped around in actual lava rock. I want to have uniquely sourced natural elements be integrated throughout Chotto Matte and for everyone to just escape.