While strolling along Queen Street West near Trinity Bellwoods Park, you’ll find cute boutiques, cosmetic shops, quaint cafes and a long line stretching half a block. Follow the queue and you’ll find the source of all the hubbub: a small ice cream shop that otherwise could’ve been easily missed.
Since their grand opening last week, iHalo Krunch has become the hottest new ice cream destination in Toronto. Their massive success is credited to co-owners Charlene D’Aoust and Tuan Nguyen, and the culinary innovator behind the recipes, Chau Nguyen. Their iconic charcoal-infused ice cream cone started the latest food trend on social media, and continues to grow in popularity.
The design of the interior is minimalistic with blank walls, a marble counter, diamond-shaped light fixtures, and a black-and-white menu. On the counter sits a small jar for coins, where all proceeds are donated to a local charity. All of the colours are concentrated at the display case, where an array of vibrant sorbets and gelatos entice the eyes. The decor is simple and subtle, providing a perfect juxtaposition against the vivid shades of soft serves.
In addition to its aesthetic appeal, iHalo Krunch’s products also excel in both quality and flavour. Store-bought scooped ice cream has no place at iHalo Krunch. All of their products are made fresh in-house everyday to ensure optimal freshness and taste. Their mission is to make unique ice cream in unconventional cones, and they deliver on that promise.
Good ice cream starts with a good foundation: the cone. Slightly sweet and soft, with a bit of crunch, the texture is similar to that of a Pizzelle. A dab of marshmallow fluff or chocolate is piped into the tip of the cone to prevent drips – a touch of ingenuity.
Though the dark colour may throw you off, the charcoal infused in the ice cream and cones is far from the sooty black rocks used to fire up your barbecue. Rather, activated charcoal is derived from coconut husks, and has detox properties, such as reducing bloating.
Though their menu only has six flavours, it doesn’t make the decision to choose any easier as they’re all delicious. One of their most popular flavours is the ube nut, a colourful swirl of charcoal-infused coconut and ube ice cream. The vivid shade of purple comes from ube, a purple yam that’s ubiquitous in Filipino cuisine. Both flavours complement each other beautifully, with the coconut sweet and full of flavour, and the ube subtle and creamy.
The other flavours are tasty as well. The matcha is not too sweet, with earthy undertones from the tea, and the vanilla is rich and creamy. The soft serves were dense and concentrated with flavour in every bite.
iHalo Krunch only recently opened, but their mounting success speaks to the amount of potential they have. As purveyors and innovators of ice cream, they plan on expanding their menu in the future and adding more products, which provides another incentive for customers to return time after time.
Visit them at 915 Queen St. West from Monday to Thursday 1:30-9:30 pm, Friday to Saturday 1:30-11 pm, and Sunday 1:30-8:30 pm.
Have you tried iHalo Krunch yet? What was your favourite flavour of ice cream? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.