Global restauranteur highlights Toronto food scene's creative expression and evolution

Feb 20 2019, 1:17 am

An ideal location for a lunch meeting or five o’clock drink, this spot is about to bring a new level of deliciousness to Brookfield Place.

Chotto Matte serves mouthwatering Nikkei food — that’s Japanese-Peruvian cuisine — in a beautifully chill environment.

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The name of the spot, meaning “wait a moment,” in Japanese slang, is a nod to the relaxed vibe that Chotto Matte serves. This isn’t the place for fast food — it’s the place to order share plates and savour them over a drink or a few.

Chotto Matte

And for Kurt Zdesar, the restauranteur behind all the spot’s locations, there’s nowhere except Toronto to open the third Chotto Matte.

“I’d always dreamt of coming to Toronto,” he told Daily Hive.

“My whole career — I’ve been sort of told where I have to go and work. I might have to go to cities that I don’t enjoy so much. Now, I’m in a unique and privileged position that allows me to choose where I can be,” Zdesar said.

“I would move here.”

Chotto Matte

With industry insight earned through opening over 30 restaurants, including Michelin star-holding Nobu, Zdesar is passionate about bringing the city something fresh.

Something that it doesn’t even know it’s hungry for.

“Food is my life,” he said.

“I’ve been thinking about where I’m going to have my next meal forever. Deliberately deciding which friend I’ll hang out with based on how well their mothers cooked.”

Chotto Matte

Zdesar said that Nikkei food is the one cuisine that he never gets tired of eating. It sounds like Toronto is in for a real treat that will have guests coming back for more. And more. And more…

Chotto Matte

As for the choice to open up in Brookfield Place after London’s SoHo and Miami’s South Beach, the decision was driven by both business and the desire to try something new.

“It’s so different for us. And I believe in business,” Zdesar said.

“You have to have lunch, dinner and weekend trade. [At Brookfield, there’s] definite lunch trade. And usually, lunch is the hardest one to fill,” he explained.

Zdesar also notes that there’s a big draw for nightlife, and he wants the restaurant to appeal to the after-work crowd.

Chotto Matte

Which is why this Chotto Matte location is going to have a bar area like no other.

“Akachan is our new concept for the bar,” Zdesar said.

“It’s very loung-ey with beautiful murals, Pisco, sake, and local breweries. There’s a terrace too,” he explained.

And the Akachan-style bar is exclusive to the Toronto location.

Chotto Matte

“[Toronto’s food scene is] evolving very fast. Everyone is quite experimental. I get the impression, I would say, that it’s local chefs and operators with eyes looking outward, not inward. I like that,” Zdesar said.

“I need to see creative expression in food, and evolution, and Toronto has it,” he said.

And now, up comes Chotto Matte, with the next step forward in the evolution.

Chotto Matte

Where: Opening at Brookfield Place, 161 Bay Street – May 2019


Kayla GladyszKayla Gladysz

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