When I was wandering around in amusement parks long ago, I always thought one sign would be a guarantee of carnage. Not a little girl being denied another round in the bouncy castle. Not the excited boy being refused another ride in the roller coaster.
But instead a dropped ice cream.
Woe to the world. In this case, this was the door stop to an ice cream parlour. Let the floodgates open. Especially when it is ice cream like that served at Mantovani which has bitten the dirt.
With such tongue in cheek humour, I had just to venture inside to see more. Lucky for me that the folks at Black and Smith saw fit to engage a discerning food connoisseur such as the quiet eating team to see whether their latest venture was a splat.
Americano. A pleasant blend from Italy of course. Drank as purists do, with the milk separate. Maybe a little throwback to the original inhabitants of this cafe slot. A shudder, Cafe Nero.
With the tea were some little crisp Italian biscuits to calm a grumbling tummy.
While munching on my cookies, I had a look around the premises. This photo doesn’t do the shop justice. With high ceilings, the cafe was peaceful and tranquil with a light and bright colour scheme of cream/white decorations. Apologies for the photos being a bit different. I blame my diminished circumstances as my last two posts have been with borrowed cameras from various friends. I must thank them repeatedly for their charity though. Maybe you will find out what happened if you pay close attention to my future posts.
The cake tray.
The gelato assortment.
The ability to buy by the kg. That is A Dangerous Thing.
That option could make me very fat as the ice cream was excellent. I had to fight the temptation to eat more but I had to control myself as I knew I had to save space for other treats. The gelato is made the traditional way downstairs in their secret laboratory. Unfortunately, no photos are available due to the industrial secrets being employed downstairs. All the mysteries were hidden behind polished metal screens and locked cabinets. Good thing too or I might be tempted to try in hopes of achieving something like this gelato. I guess it spares me the pain of failing miserably.
I could go through each of the 20+ ice cream flavours I tried but that might put you to sleep. Sticking instead with generalities, the nutty ice creams (hazelnut, walnut, almond etc) were my favourite. The fruity flavours were very clean and refreshing and tasted unlike other inferior ice creams I had had, although I confess a prejudice towards the nutty end. Apparently, the fresh tastes of the fruity flavours was down to their production methods. They don’t add milk to fruity flavours as it dilutes the taste. After gouging on gelato we moved onto more room temperature tid bits.
Starting from the left most, going clockwise. Caramel and Gianduja. Wildberries and yogurt. Pistachio, orange, hazelnut and chocolate. These cakes were all very different showcasing varying elements.
The yogurt was slightly savoury with its tangy notes. Light and fruity.
The pistachio, orange, hazelnut and chocolate was a lovely light nutty cake with a welcome orange twist. This is a nut lover’s delight.
Caramel and gianduja was the most sinful of the cakes on offer. Thick and bursting with heady sweetness, this was my favourite. The gianduja (chocolate hazelnut spread) was addictive and I couldn’t stop eating it. I think I got a sugar high… Yet after the cakes we needed to try some of the pastries.
From the bottom. Sfogliatella. Cannolo. As a little break from our cake feast, we took a short break to enjoy sfogliatella (similar to a croissant) and cannolo (rolled desert tube) showcasing the delights of the pastry chef. I could do with more breaks from life if they all tasted like this. At the urging of the staff we next had to try their milkshakes. I thought, what could be so special about these? Just sugar and milk right? I could not have been more wrong.
Hazelnut and Kitkat milkshake. This blew me out of the water. The best milkshake I’ve ever had and I’m a picky milkshake drinker. If there is any singular reason to visit, this is it.
This milkshake seemed to find that elusive line between too sweet and creamy, and bland and watery. It lingered in the middle with just the right consistency and with the staying power of fabulous taste, it almost seemed to build the various notes together to create a symphony. On my tongue that is.
This newcomer is a welcome surprise to the lack of dessert locales in London. For those of you wishing for an alternative to the pub, the expense of hotel cafes or the ubiquitous Starbucks on every corner, salvation has arrived. I’m overjoyed that the icecream splat drew me in and glad that it wasn’t me who dropped it. Otherwise I might be tempted to see how much I could salvaged from the floor.
A quiet eating 8.5/10.
We were invited to review. Estimated price is GBP7 for ice cream or a slice of cake and coffee.
187 Tottenham Court Rd,
London W1T 7PQ