Top 5: Weird + Wonderful Ice-Cream in LondonBy Angelica Malin
We do strange well in this city. London’s a melting pot (sorry) of weird; we’ve got 24-hour breakfast spots that serve Ostrich omelettes, plenty of restaurants that offer up just chicken and you’d be hard pressed to find a speakeasy bar that doesn’t serve cocktails steeped in liquid smoke under a glass cloche these days. Or in coloured cans.
In celebration of London’s quirky side, we’ve searched the streets of London and the characters of Twitter to find the strangest iced delights you’ve been slurping this summer. Without further adieu, Ladies and Gentlemen, we bring you 5 of the most weird and wonderful ice-cream creations in London:
1. Blue Cheese & Walnut Ice-Cream at La Gelatiera, Soho
What: Cornish blue and candied walnuts; award-winning cheese matched with sweet, crunchy nuts
Where: La Gelataria, Soho
Why: La Gelataria are famous for their unusual flavours; look out for the seasonal specials, such as Porcini Cream & Chocolate (yes, that’s mushroom and dark chocolate) and the Watercress and Lime flavour. If that’s all a bit much for you, their Matcha (Green Tea) ice cream is one of the best in London. They’ve also got a beer-flavoured sorbet; not just any beer, Hackney Hopster Ale, brewed in London Fields no less. An edgy icy treat, who knew.
Other Weird Winners: The Basil and Chilli Ice Cream is great if you like your icy treats savoury and with a real kick.
2. Green Grass Ice-Cream at Chin Chin Labs, Camden
What: Freshly-cut green grass ice cream served with chocolate soil
Where: Chin Chin Labs, Camden
Why: Chin Chin is Europe’s first ever liquid nitrogen ice cream parlour. As well as crazy flavours like ‘Strawberry and Hay’ (yes, hay) and ‘Passionfruit, Lime and Chilli’, Chin Chin is quite novel in their technique. Chin Chin is a science lab; all the ice cream is made using liquid nitrogen, and the servers wear primary school-style lab coats. This green beauty is a summer special and yes, you guessed it, it’s grass flavoured. Rumour has it they will turn anything into ice cream – just bring them the ingredients and let them do their magic.
Other Weird Winners: Don’t miss the Galia Melon flavour with comes drizzled with ‘Honey Fluid Gel’. Tasty.
3. Horseradish Ice-Cream at Ruby Violet, Kentish Town
What: A gelato made with, um, fresh horseradish root
Where: Ruby Violet, Tufnell Park
Why: The flavours probably aren’t the weirdest thing about Ruby Violet. Handmade in an old Victorian Dairy, all the ice cream is made using local ingredients (Tufnell Horseradish, no less) with organic milk. This means they are super creamy and delicious (the rice pudding ice cream is the very definition of creamy indulgence). There are lots of touches of the strange about their ice cream; the Gooseberry Hazelnut Meringue is worth delving into, or the Banana and Liquorice for its novelty.
Other Weird Winners: If you just want a touch of the weird without going the whole hog, the Blood Orange and Campari Sorbet is divine.
4. Ricotta, Chocolate & Black Pepper at Gelupo, Soho
What: Fresh cheese mixed with dark chocolate and a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper
Where: Gelupo, Soho
Why: This is the ice cream parlour that made weird ice cream flavours popular. Way back when (we’re talking the Royal Diamond Jubilee), Chef Jacob Kennedy made a Coronation Chicken flavour that caught the eye of press worldwide. In his own words, he ‘never knew it would taste so nice’. The ice cream is no longer for sale, but their more unusual flavours are always popular.
Other Weird Winners: Try the vegetable ice cream lollies currently on sale, including an amazing beetroot, carrot and apple one!
5. Tahini Ice Cream at The Palomar, Soho
What: Tahini ice cream served with Cardamom Crème Anglaise, brûlée figs, filo delight & honey
Where: The Palomar, Soho
Why: It’s only the most hyped restaurant in all of London right now. Giles Coren loved it and I love Giles Coren therefore it must be the best place in the world. Their Tahini Ice Cream takes inspiration from flavours of the Middle East (Tahini being a creamy sauce made from pureed sesame seeds, a key ingredient in the creation of houmous). In short, this is like a chickpea ice cream. The caramelized figs make it sound like the yummiest thing ever; be sure to get a scoop if you manage to get a table.
Other Weird Winners: They also do a rose-scented milk pudding, which sounds like heaven via W10.