Location: 342 Westmoreland Avenue North, Toronto
Knockout Ice Cream is a new ice cream shop in a formerly industrial area that’s recently become a foodie hotspot — places like Parallel and Famiglia Baldassare are right around the corner.
I’m interested in a new ice cream place by default, but the fact that this is the latest venture from Arthur Pezzelli, who was also involved with Bang Bang and Koishi, clinches it. Bang Bang serves what is clearly the best ice cream in the city, so of course.
The set-up is quite Bang Bang-esque, with the flavours listed on the wall behind the register, a freezer selling to-go tubs to the left, and a space that’s basically just big enough to order and then leave (they have a few chairs outside the entrance).
No ice cream sandwiches, however, though they do have a machine to make bubble waffles.
I tried the dulce de leche, which has a deep, intense caramel flavour (the ice cream itself tastes like dulce de leche rather than having sauce swirled inside). It was also incredibly rich and creamy, so it’s clearly top-tier ice cream.
It was a touch too sweet, however, and the texture was gummier than I’d like, so I don’t think Bang Bang has anything to worry about quite yet. But the place literally just opened (June 21st, according to their Instagram); assuming they work out the kinks, I think it could easily become one of the better ice cream shops in the city.
Location: 160 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Koishi is a collaboration between Little Pebbles (which is great) and Arthur Pezzelli, the co-founder of Bang Bang (which is beyond great).
Bang Bang serves, bar none, the best ice cream in Toronto. It’s not even close; they blow everyone else out of the water. This makes Koishi a must-visit. A new place started by one of Bang Bang’s founders? Uh, yeah, I’m all over that.
Asian-style ice cream has very much become a thing in Toronto, and as you might infer from the name, that’s what Koishi is all about. They have a variety of Japanese-influenced flavours that you can get in a cone, a cup, or a sweet bun.
I’m all about the ice cream at places like this (as much as I love Bang Bang, the cookies are a complete waste of time), so I just went with a plain scoop in a cup.
I tried the honey soba: “toasted buckwheat & caramelized honey.”
It was pretty great — the crunchy bits of soba gave it a nice toasty flavour, and the honey was pleasantly floral, with a subtle sweetness that was just right.
The quality of the ice cream itself wasn’t as perfect as Bang Bang’s — it didn’t quite have the same level of rich creaminess, and it was very subtly icy — but it’s still top-shelf stuff.