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Jun 24, 2011 06:55 AM

Keriwa Cafe

It hasn't opened yet of last night....

very very soon, they put the address above the door yesterday and the actual sign is lit up....when i peeked in last night it looked like they needed to do some organizing and last minutes stuff, so maybe this weekend-i hope, at least for a soft launch...

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  1. they tweeted today that they were looking for FOH and BOH staff

    1. Finally opening on Wednesday August 10

      6 Replies
      1. re: ingloriouseater

        Then they best get the menu portion of their website together. I don't give the north end of a rat going south what their philosophy is. I wanna know what's going onto my plate.

        1. re: Googs

          Then check out their Facebook page, the opening menu is there

          1. re: ingloriouseater

            Then they reeeeeally need to get it together. That's waaaay too much work to find that. In the photos section? Really?

            BTW I think it creepy to allow access to my information by "liking" as restaurant.

            1. re: ingloriouseater

              BTW, though it sounds it, I'm not being nasty. I actually wanna try the place. That's just really loose-endy.

              1. re: Googs

                I am going for the opening and will report back. You should be able to see the picture without liming it on facebook-I gave up my Facebook account months ago

                1. re: ingloriouseater

                  it is a nice room with nice people working....still learning....good start and i am sure it will grow stronger. food was ok, out of some things, not paired with sides as listed on the menu....still learning but i will give them a go in a month or so-once they have ironed out the small stuff

        2. I was fortunate enough to be taken there last night and had one of the most unforgettable meals ever.

          The room itself is really lovely. I will admit, I found it a bit loud but I am a bit more sensitive to sound than some. For the quality of the food I found the prices pretty fair. Apps were in the $10-$16 range and mains were under $30. Washrooms were really nice with fun design to them.

          Service was attentive and careful. When we asked for ice tea we were initially advised they didn't have it but then the bar offered to make it fresh for us. After the table was cleared the crumbs were deftly removed from the table. It was a small touch, but one that too many restaus neglect.

          Appetizers were smoked whitefish fritters and the pemmican with frybread. The pemmican was INCREDIBLE. More like a braised beef with Saskatoon berries and a really amazing fry bread. I would go back for this dish alone. The fritters were coated in almost a cornmeal type crust and served with a really beautiful sauce.

          The main for me was pheasant with sunchokes, plum and corn. Again beautifully cooked and really lovely presentation. My dining companions had bison which looked lovely. It comes automatically quite rare. We split an order of the beans with a brown butter hollandaise. And yes, it was even better than it sounded!

          The dessert selection was small. Choice was apple pie, plum cake or a cheese platter. We shared the plum cake. Really interesting spicing that I couldn't quite place. Reminded us a bit of Christmas though. The really nice touch was the bag with a cinnamon bun that everyone was given to take home. It was delicious and again a really lovely touch.

          I am already looking forward to going back! Based on one of the earlier reviews that was concerned on growing pains, I think Keriwa has managed to hit its stride and is a great addition to the culinary landscape.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Otonabee

            It was reviewed by Joanne Kates in Saturday's Globe and Mail.


            1. re: Otonabee

              I had the pleasure of dining there last night. This place is definitely a winner. I like the atmosphere which, yes, is a little loud and the food is fabulous. I had the pickerel and a bite of a dining companion's bison brisket that were both outstanding. The brisket was marvelously spiced with, I believe, cardomom. Delicious!

            2. Really excellent place. I went with a bunch of friends last night and tried the entire menu. Every dish was good to great, which is a real rarity. The chef has really mastered the art of balancing flavours and each dish had it's own flavour profile, though there was some nice repeating notes from the bullberries and cardamom. The December menu is full of comfort food (see below).

              Standouts for me were the borscht (and I hate beets, so go figure), the bison pierogies (give me a dozen, please), the pork belly (chanterelles!), the pickerel (great quinoa crust), the bison brisket and the surprise of the night was the totally delicious roast turkey with stuffing. Oh, and the duck fat potatoes in the roasted veg salad kinda rocked my world.

              The surprise winner in the dessert category was the sorbet trio. Last night was concord grape, bullberry and honeydew melon. The texture of the concord grape and the bullberry was so smooth and the flavours were deep and lovely. The honeydew was a bit icier, but I personally like that. The honeydew was super refreshing and would make a perfect palate cleanser between courses.

              The only weak point in the whole night for me was the chocolate beet cake. I thought the texture was off -- a bit tough (we thought maybe overworked in the mixer?) and the beet combination didn't do anything for me. But I hate beets, so...

              The service was friendly and very tolerant of our boisterous table. My cocktail (the Parkdale Pusher) was delicious. The room has a really nice feel to it, though as with so many restaurants today, the lack of soft surfaces makes for a loud atmosphere (not as loud as many, though).

              I'm looking forward to going back, though I wish it were more centrally located downtown. Parkdale residents are totally lucky to have this as a neighbourhood place.

              Keriwa's December menu:


              DAILY OYSTERS (malpeques and one other that I can't recall)















              SORBET TRIO

              9 Replies
              1. re: TorontoJo

                Oh! I can't neglect to mention the amazing bread plate that we started with. House made red fife bread that had the perfect texture and flavour -- a little chew, but with a dense, tender crumb and just a bit sour with a slight hint of sweetness. It was served with a spiced, whipped Berkshire pork fat and smoke grey sea salt (that they smoke in house, as well). There was butter, too, but seriously, with whipped pork fat in front of you, why would you want butter? I could have eaten a LOT of that bread and fat, but held myself back for the rest of the dinner.

                1. re: TorontoJo

                  A couple of comments to add to what TJo said:

                  The strength in the kitchen seems to be a great grasp of flavor combinations and balance. Nothing was too sweet, or too salty or too sour or too anything, but all of the flavors had depth and complexity and complimented each other well.

                  The best example of keeping things in check was probably the caramelized squash that came with the pork -- that dish is often way over-sweetened, but it was really nicely done here. Sweet without being too sweet and with a great texture to the squash.

                  The best flavor balance was probably in the roasted vegetable salad -- it was just a series of great flavors that blended well.

                  If there's a weak spot, other than the desserts which were kinda eh (though as much because neither dessert was something I like as because they were bad), it's that some of the dishes were a little overdone. In particular, our second go round on the pickerel, and the pork shoulder. Not disastrously so, just 'could have come off the heat a little sooner'.

                  I also loved the bread -- it was really great bread, and I would happily eat loaves of it. I didn't so much love the spicing on the pork fat, so I did eat the butter. I also really loved the cookie that came with the sorbet trio. It was like the most perfect little chocolate chip cookie ever. I assume they bake them in house, since they said they make their own bread, but damn I want to buy them by the dozen and then eat the whole dozen.

                  If I had to pick a standout dish, I'd say the Turkey, for sure. It was beautiful, and tasty, and both the dark and white meat were well cooked, and the bits of crispy skin were unbelievably good.

                  1. re: Jacquilynne

                    Ah poop. I forgot that I had wanted to ask if I could buy a loaf of that bread...

                    1. re: Jacquilynne

                      The pork fat seemed a bit bland to me, but once I sprinkled some of that smoked salt on it, it was perfection!

                    2. re: TorontoJo

                      Loved those pierogies enough to order another batch for dessert. Yum. Agreed with the pickerel and turkey as highlights. I think the other oysters we had were caraquet from New Brunswick. Service was great. Nice gesture with the next morning cinnamon buns. Will definitely return for another outing.

                      1. re: fickle

                        I was supposed to save that until morning?

                        1. re: Jacquilynne

                          I waited until I got home. That's about it.

                          1. re: jlunar

                            Have to admit that this place wasn't on my to-do list but since I live around the corner it seems foolish to not give it a go.

                            1. re: jamesm

                              I'm not sure when I'd be back since it's very far from where I am, but I would definitely give it a go if you live so close!

                    3. Went to Keriwa Cafe last night and had a fantastic meal. Great flavours, interesting dishes and friendly service.
                      Almost all of the meal was very good, but there were a few things that stood out as negative - suprising given all of the rave reviews the place has received. Nothing that will keep me from going back however - in fact I'm already thinking that I need to try their brunch, and then arrange to take some friends for dinner.
                      Anyhow - here is my review:
                      Atomosphere - The smell of smoke hits you as soon as you enter and for me it feels comfortable and homey. Others may find it too strong of a smoke smell. The room is lovely with all of the wood, and light, and it's easy to feel right at home.

                      Drinks - I'm not really a wine drinker so I asked what non alcoholic alternatives they had. I was hoping for maybe an interesting iced tea, or a juice based drink or something - but all they had were standard soft drinks, and cranberry or orange juice. Not a huge deal, so I had a soda. Although I wish overall that restaurants would start to provide more options than just beer or wine.

                      Bread - Yummy! Amazing earthyness, and chewy and crunchy texture. The whipped pork fat definitely benefitted from a good dose of the smoked sea salt that they include. Otherwise it was somewhat bland.

                      Starter - I had the pork belly starter that comes in a bacon broth with a white fish dumpling, and a dill buttermilk sauce. Amazing! One of the highlights of the night. My first few bites of just the pork belly in the bacon broth were pure porky heaven - but as the buttermilk dill sauce got mixed in and I had a bite with the whitefish dumpling it took it to a whole other level of delicious. It's a good thing they give you a spoon with this course because you will want to scoop up every last bit. The one complaint I would have about the starter was they it also had small black chanterelle mushrooms and I didn't feel like they added much flavour. Worse - they were gritty, which really puts you off. And it wasn't just one mushroom that was gritty, I gave a spoonful to my partner without mentioning the grit and he immediately said - 'yummy but gritty'. My partner had the bison perogies that he really enjoyed and the bite that I tried were awesome.

                      Mains - I went for the turkey with stuffing served with parsnip puree, bulberries, parsley and walnuts. The flavours were holiday inspired for sure, but the unique ingredients took it to a new level. The bulberries comned with the parsley and walnuts with the turkey was an amazing combination. I may never be able to eat turkey with plain old cranberry again. The turkey was all breast meat, and they also included a piece of duck confit that had been crisped up. I have to say the duck was the best flavoured meat on the plate, even though it was a bit dry and stringy. The turkey just didn't seem to have a lot of turkey flavour. It was moist and tender and went well with the stuffing, but it didn't seem to stand on it's own. No crispy turkey skin to be found on the plate either. It was a very good plate of food, I enjoyed every moment - but it wasn't amazing either. My partner had the bison brisket served with apples and a romesco sauce. It was very tasty, good flavours, tender meat that had a nice gameyness to it. But he also had two big chunks of floppy fat that he left in his bowl. Shouldn't that have been trimmed off?

                      Desserts - I had the beet chocolate cake and I loved it. It was a square of cake served on top of a bed of small cubes of sweet pickled beets, also came with some bulberry ice cream. The dessert was a very homey taste and I thought the combination was fantastic. The bulberry ice cream was tasty as well - but I'm not sure that it added anything to the beet and chocolate cake combo other than a refreshing way to clear your palate after the intense cake and beet combo. I definitely want to go back for more of the cake and beets!
                      My partner had the sorbet trio and seemed to enjoy it. I was getting so full by this point that I didn't bother to try it.
                      Cost- the total for 2 starters, 2 mains and 2 desserts with soft drinks, no wine was 150 including tax and tip. Not bad for a fun night out!

                      Has anyone else been recently? Other reports?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: cubmike74

                        Just went back last night for my third dinner. Another excellent meal. It was a first visit for our friends and they loved it. The current menu is the same as the December menu. The next new menu will come out Feb. 1.

                        I wish they were more centrally located so I could visit more often. It's just got a lovely vibe and I've enjoyed all my meals there.