A visit to Yaletown’s newly minted Mister reminded me: I don’t often get to frequent ice cream parlours and similar dens of blissful decadence.
However, I do know good ice cream when I taste it. That’s partly because a summer holiday highlight when growing up was to indulge in a ’99’.
These ice cream cornet marvels of my youth were an absolute treat. It wasn’t merely the amazing richness and creaminess of the incredible, saffron yellow, Cornish ice cream.
Nor was it the entire Cadbury’s Milk Flake chocolate log inserted fully into the middle. And it wasn’t the chocolate sprinkles with which the entire creation was so liberally garnished.
The real treat, of course, was the utter decadence and combination of all three.
The Cornish 99 spoiled me for ice cream for life – which is not a bad thing. In a way, I like to think it helped cultivate a discriminatory palate in matters of frozen cream and much more.*
Mister lands in Yaletown
Fast forward to Yaletown’s newest addition, the spotless and sparsely appointed Mister, which specializes in the purest of ice cream flavours fast frozen with liquid nitrogen.
Some days it seems Vancouver has more ice cream parlours and gelaterias than even sushi bars. Over the years flavours have run the gamut, from predictable to puerile (‘Viagra’).
However, Mister says they have no plans to offer anything but the cleanest of flavours. And any fancy combos are unlikely.
Watching Mister prepare these flavours from scratch adds up to quite a show: As the liquid nitrogen comes into contact, the cream freezes rapidly. And as the mixers whirl and churn they create quite the fog. Everything is ready within just 60 seconds.
The quick freeze requires less air than traditional methods and makes a much denser ice cream. Fast freezing causes much smaller ice crystals and less air than traditional methods, creating a much creamier, denser and smoother ice cream. Mister doesn’t use any stabilisers. That allows the purity of the flavours to shine. And you don’t get that ‘gummy’ aftertaste found in some ice creams.
At a pre-opening tasting I discovered some of the most extraordinary ice cream I’ve ever tasted. Mister faves? The Crème Brûlée, made with real vanilla bean, frozen custard and finished with a hand torched crackled caramel top, is a show stopper that tastes as amazing as it looks. Not for the faint of heart!
I’d head back for the extraordinary, creamy Avocado, which yields a wonderful sweet and savoury contrast.
But then again I’d also have another go at the Dark Chocolate (love the cocoa!), and I wouldn’t hesitate to try again the Lemon Frozen Yogurt, which is bursting with fresh lemon.
Mister’s Flavours will rotate depending on availability of ingredients, most sourced from local farmers. Prices start at $6 and there are take home pints from $10 (including $1 deposit, with a recycling program for pint jars in-store).
The room (by Scott and Scott Architects) is bare bones cool, with acres of white brick and tile, concrete slab flooring, galvanized steel and a large soapstone counter with leather stools.
Mister is located at 1141 Mainland Street and is open 7 days/week from 12pm-10pm. And judging by the people knocking on the door even before they were open, my guess is that it will quickly be very busy.
- If you want to find out more about the 99—and delve into the hot controversy surrounding its origins—the BBC has it all.