It’s not often you come across a restaurant with a five-star rating on every main customer rating platform, but once you taste Mathilda’s in Oshawa, Ont., you’ll know it’s well-deserved.
Originally from Indonesia, Mathilda Irawan has been passionate about food and traditional dishes since an early age. After being sent to Australia at the age of fourteen to escape religious and political instability, she was later reunited with her family in Toronto, where she continued her education, majoring in cognitive behavioural psychology.
After years of focusing on helping others as a personal support worker, Irawan found herself suffering from an array of physical ailments and injuries and by her early thirties knew she needed to make a change. She was practising Ahimsa (a yogic teaching, “to do no harm”) and explains, “I made the decision to go vegan for totally spiritual reasons, and within two months my arthritis went away, my blood sugar stabilized, my chronic migraines went away, my joint pain went away, high blood pressure and high cholesterol — all that went away.”
She was hooked and went on a mission to learn more, studying clinical and metaphysical hypnotherapy, yoga therapy, neurolinguistic programming and holistic nutrition and was fascinated as she educated herself on the nutritional aspects of a plant-based diet.
At the same time, she was re-learning how to cook all of her favourite dishes and was finding it difficult to find good vegan cheeses and faux-meat products, so she started experimenting and eventually developed her own fermentation process and began making her own cheeses and other plant-based items.
During this time, her food endeavours were a personal side project greatly enjoyed by family and friends but in 2016, Irawan opened a wellness centre in Whitby, Ont., with offerings like yoga, reiki and hypnotherapy. To celebrate the centre’s first anniversary, she threw a party and prepared the food herself after coming up empty in her search to find a good vegan catering option. The reaction from party goers was the catalyst for her adventure into food and shortly after, she began renting the kitchen beneath her wellness centre to offer pre-ordered meals. It was a pilot project to determine if there was a market for plant-based food, and the answer was a resounding “yes.”

“My concept is it’s not just the body, it’s not just the mind, it’s not just the spirit. It’s all in one: body, mind and spirit. Everything I cook is infused with so much love and so many well wishes. That’s how I serve humanity, I guess.”

When she heard Oshawa’s Nourished On The Go (a vegan restaurant) was closing up shop, Irawan took over the location in August 2018, carrying on the legacy of plant-based eating in Oshawa, under the name Mathilda’s.
Less than a year later, Mathilda’s moved to a larger space across the street and continues to be a mainstay in the area, with customers coming from near and far. “The funny thing is most of my customers are not from this area and most of them are not vegan,” Irawan says. “We have a lot of people from Toronto, Windsor, Kingston, Belleville. That’s why I have my food in a health food store in Belleville now, The Green Root, and we’re also at TNS in Whitby. I’m just slowly trying to be more accessible to people, but the community in Oshawa here, the ones that understand what I’m trying to do, they’re very, very supportive.”
When Irawan found herself working more than 100-hour weeks between the restaurant and wellness centre, she knew she had to let one go and closed the wellness centre in January of 2020 to focus on Mathilda’s (a blessing in disguise as just a few short months later, the COVID-19 pandemic would have closed the centre’s doors).
Irawan is an advocate for finding balance in life and looks to heal the root cause of issues, rather than merely managing symptoms. Her passion for holistic health and wellness motivates her to continue experimenting and improving on her original recipes, and she has mastered delicious options for all kinds of food sensitivities. Not only are her recipes healthier and more conducive to healing than the traditional variations, they also make for a delicious dining experience.
“I think my favourite part about Mathilda’s is the healing,” says Irawan. “My concept is it’s not just the body, it’s not just the mind, it’s not just the spirit. It’s all in one: body, mind and spirit. Everything I cook is infused with so much love and so many well wishes. That’s how I serve humanity, I guess.”


Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free

1. For the Brownie

  • 1 cup
    raw hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup
    hemp seeds
  • 15 - 18
    pitted Medjool dates
    (adjust according to taste)
  • 4 tbsp
    maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup
    cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp
    pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp

2. For the Chocolate Layer

  • 1/2 cup
    coconut oil
    (warmed liquid or heated slightly in a double boiler to melt)
  • 1/2 cup
    cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup
    pure maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1 tsp
    pure vanilla extract
  • pinch
    sea salt
  • PUT hazelnuts and hemp seeds into a food processor and pulse until you get fine crumbs.
  • ADD Medjool dates, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla and salt and process until well combined.
  • LINE an 8-in. baking pan with parchment paper that covers the sides as well (for easy removal).
  • PUT brownie mixture into the pan and pack it as hard as you can (into every nook and cranny!).
  • COMBINE coconut oil and cocoa powder and whisk well.
  • ADD the maple syrup, vanilla and salt and whisk until smooth.
  • POURchocolate mixture on top of the compacted brownie and smooth with an offset spatula. Cover those corners well.
  • PUT the pan into the freezer for 30 min.
  • TAKE brownies out of the pan by lifting the parchment paper; put onto a cutting board. Slice and enjoy.

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