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Kori Ice Cream

Posted in Melbourne

Asian flavoured cold desserts have been progressively popping up in Melbourne. Unlike more city-centric others, Kori Ice Cream has opened in Hawthorn’s bustling Glenferrie Road. Those familiar with LuxBite may recognise one of the previous owners, and bring anticipation of a delicious dessert experience.

We couldn’t quite pick out where the store was when walking along the street towards it. The shingle sign doesn’t really jump out at you, most of the square being white background, and the red stripe across it more obvious than the letters spelling “Kori” that it strikes through. The half and half colouring of the outside of the shop might catch your eye as you walk past though.

kori ice cream outside
The exterior of Kori Ice Cream.

The interior is bold, unlike the more sedate styles used in most other eateries currently. It is coral red on the walls and ceiling on one side of the space (the serving side), and a soft white on the other. It brings to mind tori gates and neon signs, without being too garish.

kori ice cream inside
A glimpse of the half and half interior.

There is limited bench seating along one side, with a couple of tables along with it, and a counter you can stand at along another wall. For the most part though, ice cream being a portable dessert, you are meant to take your treat and go.

kori ice cream seats
The limited seating, just off to the side.

The menu of available flavours was on the wall in black lettering. There were three rows of options, one with plant-based flavours, and two with the milk-based flavours. Despite being spotlighted, the reduced contrast of letters against the wall colour made it difficult to read them, unless you were at the correct angle to them.

kori ice cream inside
A view of the serving area and wall menu.

Their flavours are very Japanese though, with classics like Matcha, Hojicha, and Adzuki (Red Bean). There were also less common flavours that you would still immediately identify as Japanese, like Miso, Hokkaido Cheesecake, and Fuji Apple. Then there were the more creative ones, like Blueberry Calpis, Matcha Pistachio, and Hojicha Hazelnut.

kori ice cream menu
The menu on the wall, closer up.

You can just see the ice cream in submerged tubs beneath the counter glass.

kori ice cream tubs
The tubs of flavour.

There is also a range of extra special wafer cones to level your dessert up.

kori ice cream cones
The range of flavoured ice cream cones.

They have a selection of ice cream cakes for your next special occasion. These go beyond the standard ice cream cake, with a Luxbite-like complexity. As an example, the Mango Cheesecake looks like a cartoon Swiss cheese round, and comprises Hokkaido cheesecake ice cream, mango semifreddo, sudachi compote, mango kanten jelly cubes, cheesecake sponge, and a black sesame meringue model of Ratatouille’s Remmy, with a white chocolate cheese slice.

kori ice cream cakes
The menu describing their selection of ice cream cakes.
kori ice cream cakes
Their ice cream cakes in the display freezer, looking just like the menu photos.

We are allowed to taste test before choosing your scoops. We tried the Melon flavour, which had a fresh sweetness, quite like honeydew.

We contemplated others, but eventually settled on a couple of overlapping flavours (some might say “share”, but if you want fries, get fries, instead of ending up eating most/all of someone else’s), the Yuzu and Matcha Pistachio for one double cone, and Yuzu and Strawberry Sudachi for the other double cone.

They clearly pay attention to presentation, with the scoops very nearly spherical (more attention being paid to the shaping of the scoops than we had seen elsewhere), and neatly stacked on top of each other.

kori ice cream ice cream
The rather round Yuzu and Strawberry Sudachi scoops.

The Strawberry Sudachi seemed midway between a sorbet and an ice cream. There was certainly strawberry, but not much sudachi perceptible.

kori ice cream ice cream
The Yuzu and Strawberry Sudachi ice creams from a slightly different angle.

The Yuzu was a smooth sorbet, with definite yuzu citrus flavour, and more on the sweet side than tart. It was not too sweet though, and was pleasantly refreshing.

kori ice cream ice creams
The Matcha Pistachio and Yuzu ice creams, also very spherical.

The Matcha Pistachio was an inspired combination. It had good strong matcha flavour, completed by the nutty pistachio finish. They worked surprisingly well together, and made you wonder why that mix wasn’t more commonly found. Despite it being plant based, it had a smooth, creamy texture, and you probably wouldn’t know that it was non-dairy if you weren’t told.

kori ice cream ice creams
Same scoops, on the other side of the store..

We could see why Kori is so popular. The flavours are very Japanese, but have some innovative twists. We also appreciated that there were some solid plant-based options, rather than it just being an afterthought. It definitely joins Beku Gelato and Hareruya Pantry as gelati/ice cream destinations we would recommend.

kori ice cream ice creams
All the scoops together..

Food: 3.5/4
Setting: 1/2
Service: 1/2
Total: 5.5/8

Address: 659 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn
Phone: 03 8394 7066
Website: Kori Ice Cream

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