Ice-cream weather or not – nothing will get in the way of the mission of London’s frozen treat technologists. From the boozy to the bizarre and the healthy to the utterly hedonistic, it’s time to say see you later to that Solero as London steps up its frozen treats game. See our guide to the best of, below.
Funky Soft Serve
There is something so nostalgically exciting about soft serve – that beautiful swirl of cold sugary goodness twirling round itself and dripping down your hand – it’s the ultimate in childhood indulgences.
Playing with this sentiment, free-range fried chicken shop Chick ‘n’ sours in Kingsland Road, Dalston, has been serving up their soft serve with an added heritage twist, by concocting a vanilla-Weetabix soft serve topped with a sweet and slightly buttery homemade Weetabix crunch – marvellously whimsical and a real throw-back to breakfasts growing up.
But Chick ‘n’ sours aren’t the only ones funking up soft serve in the capital – one of the most buzzed about desserts of 2015, the French toast at Bone Daddies Shakfuyu on Old Compton Street, features a fetching green, creamy matcha green tea soft serve that begs to be tried.
And lest we forget the sweet and salty sort found at Barnyard on Charlotte Street – crunchy caramelised popcorn vanilla soft serve topped with a super smoky hot fudge sauce. If that’s your type of frozen treat then look out for the new soft serve coming to Chick ‘n’ sours soon – chocolate soft serve mixed with white-chocolate miso popcorn.
One of the healthier options? Yes. Boring? Certainly not!
Selling irresistible frozen treats from their adorable vintage electric milk floats, Stan and Winnie, Moto Yogo’s flavours and toppings include their organic raspberry or Mexican hot chocolate-inspired chocolate and chilli fro-yo, topped with Eton mess with fresh strawberries, raspberry coulis and homemade meringue, strawberries and balsamic, award-winning brownies and dark chocolate sauce, banana and dulce de leche, or organic pecans and organic maple syrup.
Organic and ethically charged, Moto Yogo tours London’s street food markets, sharing the fro-yo love. Get a cup of the stuff this summer at Kerb Kings Cross or Old Spitalfields Market.
Nitro Ice Cream
Willy Wonka meets mad scientist at this thrilling crossover of science and art with liquid nitrogen ice cream.
A theatrical pudding-making process, Heston Blumenthal pioneered “nitro” ice cream with Rhubarb Food Design, a technique that I have continued to profile on the menus I create for them, while the UK’s (and potentially Europe’s) first consumer-facing nitro ice cream parlour, Chin Chin Labs, opened in Camden Lock in 2010.
Inspired by the work of top chefs like Heston, Chin Chin founders and husband-and-wife team Ahrash Akbari-Kalhur and Nyisha Weber wanted to share the joy of the nitro ice cream process and its smoother, denser bite, but at a more affordable level.
Flavours change weekly at the Chin Chin Labs, and are currently Poindicherry vanilla, Valhrona chocolate, peach, blue cheese and nuts, cherry, pistachio and rose meringue, and they also do a mean ice-cream brownie sandwich (or brown-wich).
Handmade in the UK with real whole fruit and organic ingredients containing no added nasties, and gluten, lactose and dairy-free, Lickalix lollies are real do-gooders, with a healthy dose of fun infused into everything they do.
Inventive flavour combinations and new creations keep Lickalix customers guessing, with examples including Italian strawberry with balsamic and basil, watermelon and mint, salted coconut and mango, beetroot, carrot and orange, and rocky road.
Their adult-only poptails (popsicle-cocktails) are made for balmy weekend afternoons and pack a refreshing boozy punch, with core flavours including shandy poptail, banana daiquiri, kahlua kick, and amaretto sour amongst many more. Grab yours at various festivals, park kiosks, market, shops and cafés all around London.
From “Snowgronis” (snow-negronis) at Foxlow to gin sorbet slushies at Peckham Springs, and more frozen margaritas than you can shake a stick at, slushies made a name for themselves last year – the boozy variety, in particular.
Our favourite being Rita’s bright pink frozen margarita (we featured it last here: Favourite Forks: London’s Best Summer Eats), we’re pleased to say that Rita’s on Mare Street, Hackney, will be serving their refreshing slushies again, and potentially at a few more venues across London, to be announced soon.
What’s next for the slushie movement? We’re thinking snow cones – all-American shaved ice serves in paper cones and doused with multi-coloured sugar syrups and funky local liquors.
Created by Phil Owens & Media for Bespoke Menu Design