Location: 93a Ossington Avenue, Toronto
I’ve already written about Bang Bang a couple of times on this blog, so I sort of figured I wouldn’t be writing about it again. I mean, I could happily make this blog all Bang Bang all the time — it’s the greatest, and anyone who says otherwise is dead to me — but that might get a bit monotonous.
No one needs a few dozen posts that all amount to “hey, this new flavour at Bang Bang, it’s also delicious!”
But… hey, this new flavour at Bang Bang, it’s also delicious!
The roasted pineapple flavour at Bang Bang is so good that I have to post about it. I must. It’s too good.
It’s got the usual creamy, rich amazingness that you expect from Bang Bang’s ice cream, but it’s the flavour that really puts it over the top into crazy good territory.
I normally don’t even like fruity ice cream all that much, but this one is something special. It has such an amazing roasty pineapple flavour; it’s obvious that the fruit has been intensely caramelized. If you’re looking for something light and tart and refreshing, look elsewhere. This has a really deep, rich flavour that’s perfectly balanced by the creamy ice cream. It’s perfect. It’s honestly one of the best scoops I’ve ever had.
Location: 2651 Yonge Street, Toronto
Milkcow Cafe is a South Korean soft serve chain — a concept which, thanks to Kiss the Tiramisu, now fills me with horror. I actually have a great deal of fondness for South Korea, but the ice cream at Kiss the Tiramisu was so profoundly awful that it made me lose a little bit of respect for the whole country. Just the absolute worst.
Thankfully, Milkcow Cafe is quite good. They have a variety of ice cream creations, all featuring a base of their “organic milk soft serve.” I went with the Milky Cube, which is drizzled with honey and topped with a big chunk of honeycomb.
They’re not kidding around with the milk thing — the ice cream is really unique, with a subtle sweetness and a pronounced milky flavour. It actually tastes like drinking a glass of milk, but in ice cream form. There’s no vanilla flavouring to get in the way; just pure milky goodness. It could have been creamier, and the texture was vaguely icy, but for the most part it was quite satisfying.
The honey had a nicely floral flavour and added a good punch of sweetness, but honestly, the ice cream itself was so interesting I would have been okay eating it on its own.
Location: 77 Kensington Avenue, Toronto
It seems like every few months, some new food trend sweeps its way through the city. In the last couple of years we’ve had stuff like poke, chicken and waffles, Japanese cheesecakes, and sushi burritos. The latest seems to be souffle pancakes, a Japanese dessert that’s exactly what it sounds like (a cross between pancakes and souffle).
If what they’re serving at Hanabusa Cafe is any indication, this is a trend that I can get behind.
My only other experience with this dish was at a place called am.pm in Hong Kong, and that version was dense, overly eggy, and just all-around unappealing.
The one at Hanabusa Cafe, on the other hand, was the polar opposite — it was almost absurdly fluffy, with a mild sweetness and a satisfying custardy flavour without any of the in-your-face egginess you might be expecting. I ordered the Original Pancake, which is the simplest choice: it’s three pancakes topped with a dollop of whipped cream and served with a side of strawberries and blackberries. It’s outstanding.
Unlike a traditional pancake, it’s already fairly sweet, so it’s perfectly delicious on its own. I could eat about a million of these (though they’re surprisingly heavy, so three feels like a good number). The ethereal lightness combined with the custardy flavour is seriously addictive.
I’ll admit that my expectations weren’t all that high, but I really, really enjoyed this.
Location: 120 Dundas Street West, Toronto
The lemon meringue croissant from Butter Baker is one of those things that I saw on Instagram and immediately had to eat. And yes, I know: this makes me part of the problem.
A very strong argument could be made that social media (Instagram in particular) is making our cuisine appreciably worse by incentivizing restaurants to serve visually innovative food in which the actual taste is an afterthought (e.g. Sweet Jesus).
And that’s absolutely the case here. I mean, look at that! It looks so impressive! But it gets less impressive once you start actually eating it.
For one thing, it’s almost impossible to eat without getting sticky meringue all over your face. But let’s set that complaint aside, because a lot of cupcakes are just as hard to eat without making a mess, and only a monster would argue that a cupcake isn’t great.
The two main issues here are that the croissant itself is merely okay, and the lemon curd filling is completely bland. The latter point is especially egregious; the whole appeal of a lemon meringue pie is the delightful way that the tartness of the lemon curd is offset by the sweetness of the meringue. But here, the curd is disappointingly anemic, with a limp sugariness and almost no sour bite. Because of this, the whole thing comes off as one-dimensionally sweet and boring.
I will, however, give Butter Baker props for the use of creamy Italian meringue over frothy, dull French meringue. This is correct; French meringue is for jerks.
Location: 160 Baldwin Street, Toronto
I don’t want to be too hyperbolic, but I think the sundae at Kiss the Tiramisu in Kensington Market might be the worst thing I’ve ever been served in a restaurant. Certainly, it’s right down there.
To be fair, they were clearly having issues. Shortly after I ordered, the woman behind the counter attempted to dispense ice cream from the machine; pure liquid came out. She looked shifty and then told me I’d have to wait five minutes.
A smarter man would have asked for his money back and left. Clearly, I am not a smart man.
The ice cream is layered with coffee, some kind of white sauce (mascarpone?), and a whole bunch of cocoa powder. It’s absolutely terrible.
I’m really not sure what that vile, sludgy glop was, but it certainly wasn’t ice cream. That’s not even a joke: it was thin and lacking anything even remotely resembling creaminess. I’m almost certain it didn’t have the proportion of milk fat that is legally required for something to be called ice cream. It was also grainy and icy, so it was pretty much the worst.
The flavour was no better; I find a lot of ice creams are a little bit too sweet for my taste. I had the opposite problem here. This was bland and horrible, with a vague milkiness and and unpleasantly watered-down bitter coffee flavour that was downright repulsive. There was also an insane amount of cocoa mounded onto this thing, which just made it impossible to eat without getting powder all over the place.
Despite spending well over seven bucks (!), I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. It was so bad.
Seriously: I take back every bad thing I’ve ever said about Sweet Jesus. I certainly have issues with the place, but at least what they’re serving is actual ice cream that isn’t gross.