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Keriwa cafe - no longer serving a la carte dinner service

  • k

" On Saturday August 6th, we will be serving our last a la carte dinner service after that we will be serving tasting menu’s select evenings of the month. Tasting menu’s, in keeping with Keriwa Cafe’s philosophy, will change monthly and reflect the best of what Ontario, and Canada, has to offer. In addition to tasting menu’s Keriwa Cafe will be a private dining, special occasions and events centre. From time to time we will host special culinary events featuring the best and talented individuals in the industry today.

Reservations are available for our first tasting menu that will take place October 13th at 7 PM and can be made by calling us at the restaurant at 416.533.2552. If you would like to subscribe to our mailing list of our upcoming tasting menu dates and culinary events please send us an email at info@keriwacafe.ca . As well please check our newly revamped website for more information at www.keriwacafe.ca . We look forward to seeing you at Keriwa Cafe."

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  1. Interesting! Thank you for the info!

    1. Big mistake, in my opinion. Although it makes economical sense for the restaurant, part of the fun of eating out (for me and many others, I'd presume) is to choose from among a variety of menu options. I've rarely been happy with tasting menus; the whim of a particular chef on a particular day is not necessarily what I want to eat. I've never gone to Ruby Watchco for this very reason.

      1. I've had a few tasting menus at Keriwa. They were extremely over-priced, so caveat emptor starting Saturday. The last straw was when they asked me to pay $600 for 4 people, 5 courses each, ignoring two simple requests I made (Chocolate and Fried bread, which they were serving that night). After that, I stopped going all together. They were asking for more money than Splendido, and serving 5-10 courses less. Absurd.

        2 Replies
        1. re: justxpete

          Just so I'm clear, they charged $150 for 5 courses? That would be an average of $30 a course which is more than what many restaurants charge for a main. Please tell me you forgot to mention the wine pairing.

          1. re: dubchild

            No. We had a bottle of wine and four cocktails. The first bill the presented to us was $800.

        2. I just re-read the original post. No more a la carte only tasting menus on "selected" evenings. So that means they are closed except for private parties, special occasions and selected evenings. Am I drawing the wrong conclusion that they are done and just riding out their lease/selling the place? I'm trying to get my head around how this works, unless the demand for a private space is so great or they are now caterers.

          3 Replies
          1. re: dubchild

            this makes me very happy...i can't wait for a real restaurant to take over the place....my last visit had only 2 salads and 2 cold soups available.....

            1. re: dubchild

              Aaron Bear Robe's (chef/owner) wife is pregnant with their second child so he needs to spend more time with his family. By only really being open one night a week with the possibility of events the other nights, it will definitely free up some time for him.

              I enjoyed my dinner here very much a few months ago. It's a shame to go wholly to a tasting menu since not everyone can afford it, but I can see his point too in wanting some time off since restaurant life can be so demanding.

              1. re: bluefirefly

                It may free up some time for him, but unless he's got a tonne of private functions, it'll be hard for him to put food on the table or by diapers running his business this way.

            2. Thanks for the post, but, when you copied and pasted that they had a typo. Says "August 6th". I was confused by that date but it it suppose to be October 6th. Probably too late for you to edit it.

              1. I wonder how you can turn a profit by operating only on a limited schedule? Rent isn't cheap.

                Also, how will you retain your staff? People need full time work.

                I wish them the best though.

                1. Oh that does it for me. I'm the customer, I'm paying money, so I want what I want not what the vendor wants to give me. Pretty simple really. I'm sure there are some who don't have a problem with this, but the owner of the restaurant needs to realize that this is an extremely small group unless you have some cultish type following such as Ruby watchCo (which I don't frequent because I think it's pretty pedestrian food and overpriced)

                  1. Apparently it will be $300/person all in.

                    "...roughly 13 courses with bread, amuse bouches, palate cleansers, petite fours, and some treats to take home. The $300 price tag includes wine pairings, coffee and tea, tax, and tip (it’s $200 without the booze)."


                    18 Replies
                    1. re: radiopolitic

                      Wow... Wish him luck in filling those seats... I enjoyed my a la carte meal there but can't see how that kind of price point is justified based on atmosphere/service/food.

                      1. re: ylsf

                        I see another format change soon.
                        Just can't see this working in that location at that price.
                        Food was generally good but rarely outstanding - and price was high for what was delivered.
                        Wonder if they'll stick to their Ontario wine only policy.

                        1. re: estufarian

                          this... does not seem like a wise move.

                        2. re: ylsf

                          Keriwa Cafe has reopened daily with a new more casual menu. His daily prep has reduced in intensity as a result. Looking forward to becoming a regular now that it's more approachable.

                          1. re: Food Tourist

                            That is if they didn't reduce the serving sizes even more! Although I wonder if that would be possible?

                            1. re: justsayn

                              What was the deal with all that tasting menu? Did they ever even do one?

                              1. re: brushfire

                                i assume that they realized it was a completely insane idea

                                1. re: brushfire

                                  Received Oct 22nd

                                  " We are pleased to announce our first tasting menu this Saturday, October 27 and after that every Friday and Saturday. Please see the attached PDF for the tasting menu details and this months current menu. If there are any further questions regarding the upcoming tasting menus or would like to make a booking please call us at 416.533.2552 or email at info@keriwacafe.ca We look forward to seeing you in for an upcoming tasting menu."

                                  The tasting menu will be 13 courses and will highlight Keriwa Cafe’s dedication to locally and
                                  regionally sourced ingredients as well as Canadian cuisine. As well the drink pairings will reflect
                                  the Keriwa Cafe philosophy of locally sourced wines.
                                  We would be pleased as well to pour your own selected wines for you if you choose.
                                  A no bottle limit corkage fee of 25 dollars will be applied.
                                  Tasting menus will be 175 dollars including tax and gratuity.
                                  For an additional 75 dollars including tax and gratuity selected wine and drink
                                  pairing will be offered for most courses.

                                  K E R I W A C A F E
                                  T A S T I N G M E N U
                                  caviar, lettuces, beef, foie gras
                                  Maple Old Fashioned OR The Bear Robe
                                  tomato, red pepper, dulse
                                  Cuvee Catherine, Brut, Henry of Pelham Estates, Niagara
                                  whipped fat, sea salt, butter
                                  rye, crème fraiche, beet
                                  Sauvignon Blanc, 2011, Nyarai Cellars, Niagara Peninsula
                                  pear, parsnip, shallot
                                  Pinot Gris, 2011, Fielding Estates, Beamsville
                                  gingerbread, chili, quince
                                  Riesling, 2011, Tawse Winery, Beamsville
                                  hazelnut, thyme, meringue
                                  W HITEFISH
                                  spinach, tomatillo, bacon
                                  Chardonnay, 2009, Tawse Winery, Beamsville
                                  plum, buckwheat, parsley root
                                  Cabernet Syrah, 2010, Fielding Estates, Beamsville
                                  celeriac, apple, carrot
                                  Mocha Porter, Lake of Bays Brewery
                                  squash, almond, saskatoon
                                  Cabernet Franc, 2009, Tawse “Laundry Vineyard, Niagara
                                  THUNDEROAK GOUDA
                                  canola seed, spruce, elderberry
                                  Mead Royale, 2008, Rosewood Estates, Beamsville
                                  SWEET POTATO
                                  vanilla, cardomom, black pepper
                                  Amaro, Averna or Benedictine
                                  PETIT FOURS
                                  cookie, jelly, marshmallow, truffle

                              2. re: Food Tourist

                                how hard could it have been to prep that insanely small menu before????? I guess he doesn't have to spend time with his family after all...tasting menu only and only when he feels like it???

                                time is up

                                1. re: ingloriouseater

                                  well lets not put down the chef's work. Every restaurant looks easier than it actually is

                                  1. re: ingloriouseater

                                    Less prep time with the current new casual menu (mains are $18-22) means more time at home. :) I don't think the tasting menu posted by estufarian is still available. I believe the kitchen cooked all the dishes on the new casual menu last weekend for the first time. I can't get the web site to work but it looks like it hasn't been updated yet. The pastry/bread/take-home breakfast patisserie are no longer.

                                    1. re: Food Tourist

                                      and what can you possibly mean by 'casual menu'??? burgers and fries? bacon and eggs? the menu wasn't high end before? it became known more as brunch place than a dinner place-and without very good value for money...the 2nd reboot this year...

                                      it shows a trend of diligent and hard working chefs out there who don't know how to run the business end very well. it is great for the food scene but it burns the chef's out and tires the customer as well. it all seems very amateur.

                                      1. re: ingloriouseater

                                        You're right that not all chefs are good business people. However, sometimes it's trial and error and even if your market research says one thing, people's moods change. Ultimately, they realized they needed to be more of a Parkdale neighbourhood place for regulars.

                                        Casual menu descriptions can be found mostly on other sites: https://twitter.com/KeriwaCafe

                                          1. re: estufarian

                                            I saw a retweet with a photo of the new menu - will try to locate it - max price is $22 and everything still reads complex, multi-ingredient, local/aboriginal.

                                            1. re: Food Tourist

                                              complex and multi-ingredient belies your statement of a casual menu meaning less prep. i don't know why you have such a love on for this place...i've made my reasons for hating it clear but this place doesn't deserve the praise that you give it.

                                              1. re: ingloriouseater


                                                Here's the only photo of the menu online so far that I can find.

                                                I re-read all of my above comments and nowhere do I "praise" or "love" Keriwa Cafe, simply state facts. Now, I'm going to praise it: I will always give the benefit of the doubt to small businesses trying to make a living for their families. Everyone has missteps along the way as not every chef has math skills or a business degree or even life wisdom. But the 6+ times I ate at Keriwa Cafe in the past year since they opened means that they were doing something consistently right. And I can only hope they continue to turn out tasty food at better value now.

                                    2. re: ingloriouseater

                                      Ursa has "an insanely small menu", too, and their prep time must be a daily nightmare or labour of love, depending on how you look at your glass.

                              3. Has anyone been now that they've switched BACK to a la carte?

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: LemonLauren

                                  judging by the one table in there last night when i walked by-i would have to say...not many

                                    1. re: LemonLauren

                                      i had similar experiences before the big change...