A taste of the Balkans. Or: Trying out a kefir bar in Toronto.

I don’t often review non-restaurant places. The last one I remember doing was probably Easy Drink Easy Go, and that was a long time ago. That being said, a recent trek with my much beloved coworkers unearthed a little gem that I believe is worth profiling here. And that underrated jewel (actually, I take that back, they’ve been around for around 3-4 years so clearly they’re not THAT unknown – maybe it’s just that I’ve never heard of ’em) is deKEFIR.

I first heard about kefir from my parents. They were trying out this new yogurt-like drink that they said came from Eastern Europe, and that tasted just like yogurt but with less of a sour taste. Given my dislike of all things sour (embarassingly, I still can’t bring myself to eat unflavoured yogurt), I naturally gave it a try and was mildly impressed. It was good for me, apparently, and I still liked it. However as with many food trends, our family sort of “forgot” about kefir and, naturally, so did I. Until last week!

Thanks for the reminder!

Thanks for the reminder!

deKEFIR is a kefir bar. They don’t really sell anything other than frozen kefirs and kefir smoothies. And I was very much interested in trying these out because, not only has it been a bajillion years ago since I actually had it, I can’t even remember what it tasted like! Hell I didn’t even know eating kefir was still IN.  The place also looked very inviting, with its warm and inviting light wood tones, and SUPER friendly ladies behind the counter. I love the simplicity of the whole place. So after trying out a small free sample, we decided to get kefir-ed up!

Notice the milk bottle outline in the background. Brilliant!

Notice the milk bottle outline in the background. Brilliant!

First things first, the frozen kefir comes in one of four possible sizes. I got the smallest one and STILL felt like I had too much. The portions are quite generous and the prices are pretty good too. It was $3.30 for the smallest size, which is way cheaper than what you’d get at Menchie’s or Yogurty. I can’t recall the other prices too well but I do know it was $4.40 for the next size up, and for $1 extra you can get 4 extra toppings (the usual price would include only one). And yes, this brings me to the topic of toppings. Being that kefir is, by and large, a healthy dessert, it’s not surprising that the majority of the toppings are various kinds of fruits and nuts. Some are mixed quinoa, and I personally liked the flavourless but delightfully cruncy and airy quinoa puffs. You really do feel that you’re eating dessert that isn’t going to totally wreck your gut. Oh, and the lovely lady told me that the small one is only around 90 calories. THAT IS AWESOME.

THIS is a small size. THIS is also awesome.

THIS is a small size. THIS is also AWESOME.

And what does kefir taste like? Well, keep in mind that this is soft-serve frozen kefir, and not the kefir drink itself. The kefir served here tasted very….neutral. And it’s not a bad thing. People who regularly read my food articles and/or know me personally know how much I love strong-tasting food. However in this case, I’d gladly make an exception. There’s something understated and strangely refreshing about having a rather bland dessert. And I really don’t mind that. Keep in mind that it wasn’t ALL tasteless. There is a very, VERY slight hint of sweetness (they did add cane sugar to the kefir), while the richness that is characteristic of a dairy product (which this was) is very much present. These two nods to flavour were all that I needed. The whole thing felt light and, seeing that we had to get back to work, this was an excellent thing.

If you’re ever in the PATH in downtown Toronto and are anywhere near the Bay-Adelaide Centre, I highly recommend you check this place out. It’s a light and wholesome dessert that won’t weigh you down, but will leave you feeling satisfied. Oh, and they also serve these morsels of delight with waffles, too! No, it’s not as tasty and  eye-wateringly flavourful as an Oreo Blizzard from DQ, but that’s just fine by me. Your gut will thank you, trust me.

And sorry for all the lousy quality pics! --- from upliftingreflections.com

And sorry for all the lousy quality pics! — from upliftingreflections.com

–Final verdict: Mari Makan!

deKEFIR

333 Bay Street
Toronto, ON M5H 2R2
(647) 352-2220

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