Wanoka Cafe is from a Toronto pastry chef who's been supplying her Japanese cakes and desserts to bakeries, restaurants and coffee shops around the city since 2003.
After years of working wholesale as Sugar Soul Pastry, Yoko Ameri has a cafe of her own for Japanese-style brunch and coffee, as well as pastries and cakes. This of course includes her best known tofu cheesecake, a 15-year staple at Nakamura Bakery in J-Town.
Ameri started to perfect her signature cheesecake back in 2000 while working as a patissier at Lily 86, an old Japanese restaurant that used to be in Greektown. This was after studying baking and cooking in Tokyo.
The no-bake cheesecake with tofu as its main ingredient has a thin graham wafer crust and a generous amount of whipped topping and fresh fruit as the garnish based on what's in season.
Think of it as the creamier, slightly less sweet, tofu version of New York style cheesecake. You can either grab a slice ($5.50) or order a full cake two or three days in advance (6" for $27 or 8" for $40).
Besides the cakes, a selection of chocolate and almond croissants, as well as cream puffs with flavours of matcha and red bean, vanilla bean and Hojicha are available in the display window.
With the name of the cafe meaning the fragrance of wafuu or Japanese style, Ameri incorporates ingredients from Japan into every dish made in her kitchen, which goes for the brunch items on the menu.
Wafuu scrambled egg ($11.50) is infused with a fish broth made from dried bonito flakes and kelp and covered in several homemade sauces including a creamy sesame and another with bonito flavours.
The soft scrambled eggs on toast offer up far more flavour than you'll find at most cafes and a small salad and sausage are served on the side.
Cheese toast ($11.50) comes with either triple cheese (cream cheese, mozzarella and parmesan) or tarako butter (cod roe) and mozzarella. I'd recommend the tarako, it adds saltiness without being overly fishy.
Onigiri is filled with salmon and tuna in Japanese mayo and wrapped in nori fresh per order in the back and includes a special sauce, a recipe of Ameri's mom.
The Onigiri Lunch Set ($15) will get you two onigiris and a warm bowl of miso soup filled with a decent amount of tofu and seaweed.
Taiyaki ($3.50) is just the right amount of sweetness to follow brunch with, filled with red bean paste and served with vanilla ice cream on the side for an additional $1.50.
When it comes to drinks, the black sesame latte (S: $4.75 M: $5.50 L: $6.50) gets its deeply rich and nutty flavour from an all-natural black sesame paste imported from Japan.
The matcha latte (S: $4.75 M: $5.50 L: $6.50) is also made with a Japanese powder for a strong, sweet flavour and smooth mouth-feel.