Unique ice cream flavours paired with homemade baked treats.
Melon Pan Ice Cream Sandwich
Served on a sweet bun, which Koishi bakes fresh every day
Rice crackers are a healthy (and gluten-free!) sandwich alternative, topped here with Matcha Oreo ice cream
Crackle Puff Sandwich
This creampuff-like bun with a cookie topping is the perfect way to take your ice cream sandwich up a notch.
It may seem counterintuitive, but I’ve always thought winter is the ideal time to enjoy ice cream. The dessert doesn’t melt and it’s a sweet, indulgent treat that evokes memories of hot summer days on a cold, grey afternoon.
Since opening in Toronto’s Kensington Market earlier this year, Koishi Ice Cream and Bakery has been conjuring summer memories and intriguing tastebuds with its innovative flavours and kawaii cat-themed décor. With ice creams provided by Arthur Pezzelli of KO Ice Cream (and creator of Bang Bang Ice Cream), Koishi offers unique flavours like Matcha Oreo and Ichigo (strawberry) White Chocolate Miso, and partners them with baked goods made in-house.
Whenever I bring a neophyte to the shop for their first visit (and they always come back for more), I start their experience with an ice cream sandwich—usually sakura cheesecake smushed between a homemade melon pan. Greater than the sum of its parts, this Japanese-style milk bun is baked with a drier texture that absorbs the melted ice cream and melts in your mouth, while the sugar cookie crumb topping provides a satisfying crunch. Like the ice cream sandwich, the sakura cheesecake ice cream is a collaboration of efforts—the sakura jam is made in-house at Koishi with pickled sakura from Nagano Prefecture, while KO Ice Cream uses its magic to blend it with cheesecake and cream until it becomes a deliciously decadent dessert.
Koishi is more than a one-trick pony: it also serves its dairy delights on crunchy senbei (rice crackers) and in creampuff pastry with a cookie topping that the restaurant calls “crackle puffs.” Customers can choose from a rotating selection of sweet garnishes—from homemade sugar cookies to delicate chocolate wafers. Koishi also plans to serve some warm, sweet delights during the winter, but as of publication, its special winter menu remains a surprise, so you’ll have to drop in to find out more.
The team behind Koishi also runs Little Pebbles, a Japanese café located next door, and those that understand Japanese will notice that the two shops share the same name. Dada Ahn, who co-owns the shop with Chang Baek, explains that Koishi pays homage to their beloved late cat, who is featured prominently in the shop’s logo and its overall design. The tiny space is smartly designed, filled with cat-themed artwork by artist @bongsu_comics and includes overstuffed felines and posters, pins and stationery of cute cats.
More than ice cream and buns, Koishi sells summertime, all the time.
Once upon a time, Nina wanted to be an artist. Now she is fulfilling her dreams as a writer and fundraiser working with artists, arts organizations and publications across Canada. In her free time, she enjoys travel, food, supporting local artists, and running with her dog, Dash.
Koishi Ice Cream and Bakery
160 Baldwin St., Store #4, Toronto
OPEN: Daily 1 pm–7 pm