Metro Toronto Review  By: Rick McGinnis                                                                   NEXT REVIEW >

The neighbourhood east of High Park is in the grip of an explosion of fecundity. It’s a classic century-old Toronto area that sprawls on either side of Roncesvalles and encompasses the northern part of Parkdale as well as the more genteel streets that radiate out from the park’s urban forest.   New families have moved into this area in increasing numbers, and changed the demographics completely in a decade. It’s the sort of neighbourhood where you dodge strollers on the sidewalks, and no Volvo lacks at least one infant car seat.

Mathew Sutherland lives here, and on the way home from his Eglinton West bistro, he’d stop in at Idoru, a wine bar. Like so many locals, he was grateful when Idoru opened, but watched from his stool at the bar as the place slowly foundered. It would be a shame if the Roncesvalles strip lost one of the few restaurants that wasn’t a pub or bar, so late last summer he started talking to Amanda Ford, one of his former regulars who’d been working with him in his new catering business.

Fat Cat Wine Bar — named after Sutherland’s uptown bistro — opened last September, and initially Ford and Sutherland copied the former tenant’s lead. “We kind of went along with the wine bar idea,” Sutherland tells me, “but we were just sitting around and talking about it today, and we came to the conclusion that people were treating us more as a restaurant than just as a bar. We’re thinking of going more in that direction.