For a neighbourhood with so much pedestrian traffic, especially during Pedestrian Sundays, it was just a matter of time until someone filled the void that was left when Kensington Market Organic Ice Cream departed for Queen West. Mr. Cream, part of a wave of new parlours this summer,opened a few weeks ago, and we stopped by to see what it was all about.
Located on Kensington Avenue in what used to be the Best Bargain gift store, Mr. Cream is decked out in a classic parlour style, with a blue and white storefront and neon ice cream cone signs. Inside, the overwhelming smell of fresh waffle cones and the light turquoise and lime-green walls also amp up the nostalgia vibe. The shelving and menu boards were handmade by shop owner Reza Shely, a woodworker (he’s the man behind the woodwork at the nearby Miss Cora’s Kitchen), espresso fiend (he also owns The Sublime Caféin Kensington) and upright bass collector. His vision for the shop is simple: a friendly neighbourhood staple serving up ice cream and classic comfort desserts.
Although the ice cream is currently made off-site (due to issues with the shop’s own ice cream machine), the product is homemade. A selection of nine ice creams and dairy-free sorbets and gelatos is available, with chili chocolate cherry ice cream and blood orange sorbet two of the current favourites. Apple pies from Chudleigh’s sit pretty behind glass ($4 for a slice, $13 for a whole pie) alongside smaller apple “blossoms” and chocolate molten lava cakes ($4).
Ice cream options include small ($3) and large ($5) cones and waffle bowls ($5) (regular sugar cones and waffle cones are made every two hours). Mr. Cream also offers Belgian-style waffles ($4, add ice cream for $2) that are made to order (and packed up to go) and come topped with Nutella and banana, apple and cinnamon or strawberries and cream. To finish, toppings like rainbow sprinkles, coconut, caramel, hot fudge and mini M&Ms are also available ($1 per topping). Seating is limited, with a few chairs inside and outside.
For winter, Shely plans to start serving Mayan hot chocolate from Soma, as well as fondue and more Belgian waffle options, filling yet another void—that of Good Eten, which left in 2008 only to reopen on Ossington. Seems like he knows what the neighbourhood wants.