Mata Bar

Posted on July 8, 2014


Yesterday I came to experience South American cooking. I was invited for the media tasting of Mata Bar. Taking residence in the former Keriwa Cafe, I actually appreciated their location at the edge of Parkdale as I start my trek from the airport area. It was easy enough for me to find as I usually go around this area browsing on the antique stores within the periphery.

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As I walk in, I love the interiors right away as it had handsome deep stained hard wood floors,  wood panels with splashes of latin american posters breaking the monotony of wood stain. That balance gave the place a warmth and a feeling of comfort, just the kind of feeling that would make me stay. Off to the back was a window that would let you see through the kitchen, seeing that flurry of organized chaos as they do their magic in the kitchen. I love it that it was bordered by a matted black surface and then that personalization could happen by the stroke of a chalk.

I was greeted warmly by Mary Luz Mejia and I found me a good table by the window. In a few minutes I was joined by Yvonne Tsui a.k.a. @th3hungrycat and then later by Vicky Weiss, a.k.a. @momwhoruns. For the night we had the treat of enjoying Cheese bread & Lobster Pastel for our amuse bouche; Smoked Crispy Chicken Hearts with Cauliflower purée and Ancho Chili Oil; Pincanha slider with Chachaca Caramelized onions, house made Catupiry cheese & Malagueta Pepper Aioli; Grilled Octopus with Heart of Palm purée, raspberry & balsamic reduction with taro root chips; Beef cheek poutine with cassava frites, fresh curds & scallion and Avocado brûlée for dessert. Such a long list eh?  My grumbling tummy was ever so grateful to be fed!

If I were to pick my top three of all that I have tasted, I loved the Smoked Crispy Chicken Hearts with the Cauliflower purée, Grilled octopus with hearts of palm purée and the Picanha Sliders.  And yes, my affection is in that order. The Picanha sliders was amazingly juicy and that Malagueta Pepper Aioli gave a kick that wrapped together that sweetness that came from the caramelized onions. As for the grilled octopus, it definitely reminded me of the street food that I enjoyed back home, where it was of the simplest of preparations and the flavour just shines through. Perfectly cooked, it went so well with the cauliflower purée and Ancho Chili oil.

Saving the best for last, let’s talk about those Smoked Crispy Chicken hearts. Everything was right about that dish. Just the smell was enough to make my stomach yearn for a bite. That smokey flavour added depth to that first crispy and tender bite. I swear I could eat a big plate of those chicken hearts all by myself. It was that good!

Thank you for the invitation to try Mata Bar! I enjoyed the food and the exceptional service! Please do swing by when you are in Parkdale. We were in the details that they are going to open for brunch in the weekends. Keep an eye on their Facebook page on when that weekend in July that it would start. It would sure be worth the trek west for. :)


Word of the wise, thread lightly when trying the pepper oil condiment!  Those are real zingers!

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