TORONTO — Quetzal, the latest restaurant from Grant van Gameren and partners Julio Guajardo, Kate Chomyshyn and Owen Walker, is set to open by the end of 2017.
Located at College and Bathurst Streets in Toronto, Quetzal will celebrate regional Mexican cuisine — inspired by traditional flavours and cooking styles — cooked over a 28-foot-long open fire.
The restaurant, designed by Partisans — who created Bar Raval with van Gameren, Robin Goodfellow and Michael Webster — will juxtapose elements of sophisticated, contemporary Mexican architecture, drawing inspiration from modern haciendas, alongside bright pops of traditional colours, patterns and materials.
Large-format sharing plates will be offered alongside individual dishes. Chefs Julio Guajardo and Kate Chomyshyn will introduce Canadians to the huge array of cuisine found in Mexico, specifically Oaxaca, Yucatan, Baja California and other regions known for creating some of Mexico’s most iconic dishes. Traditional moles, sauces and little-known native ingredients will be transported to Toronto and infused with the bounty of local Ontario and Canadian produce.
Everything will be cooked over an open flame, roasted in the wood-burning oven, grilled or cooked on the estufa lorena (traditional clay comal and burners). Nixtamal (partially cooked and lime-soaked corn) will be made fresh daily to form the basis for tortillas, tlayuda, tetelas and other traditional corn-based items.
In addition to grilled and roasted meats, fishes and vegetables, Quetzal will also focus on regional salsas and moles using uncommon ingredients, such as maguey worms, chicatana ants and regional herbs. The raw bar will celebrate sustainable, local catches as much as possible.
The carefully chosen cocktail, wine, non-alcoholic and beer menus will feature Mexican-inspired ingredients, flavours and preparations. New-world wines will dominate the wine list, featuring hard-to-find wines from Chile, Argentina, South Africa and North America. The beer list will focus largely on Toronto and Ontario beers, while a robust selection of mezcals and tequilas offer a chance for guests to explore the rich world of these traditional Mexican spirits. There will also be non-alcoholic cocktails, made in-house using both fresh and fermented ingredients.