Our great city is dripping with ice cream and gelato shops these days. From classic Italian gelaterias which have been around for decades, to the latest, bravest and most Insta-worthy creations. Nicola Trup scoops up the best ice cream in London.
La Grotta Ices, Bermondsey
La Grotta does a strong line in fruity flavours, so you can expect to see the likes of Charentais melon and jasmine, or pink gooseberry and hazelnut crunch on the menu. There’s no permanent base yet, but on Saturdays during summer you can buy scoops and ice cream buns from a van outside Puntarelle in Bermondsey. Alternatively, recreate the recipes at home; La Grotta’s Kitty Travers has just published a recipe book.
La Grotta on Tumblr
Bermondsey Summer Saturdays outside Puntarelle 5 Spa Rd, London SE16 4RP
Shoreditch Leila’s Shop, Calvert Ave, London E2 7JP
Peckham Tubs for sale at General Store 174 Bellenden Rd, London SE15 4BW
Udderlicious, Covent Garden and Islington
This husband-and-wife operation dishes up deliciously creamy concoctions, with flavours chosen by a monthly customer vote. The current roster includes salted caramel and rhubarb and fig, but another month they might serve a chocolate and Marmite ice cream, for those who love it rather than hate it. Despite what the name might suggest, there are few dairy-free options too, as well as sorbets (look out for the peach and prosecco).
Islington 187 Upper Street, London, N1 1RQ
Covent Garden 24 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LN
Mamasons, Camden and Chinatown
A new Chinatown branch is due to open this month, but Mamasons’ Filipino-style ‘dirty ice cream’ has been a hit since arriving on the scene in Camden last year. Try strikingly-coloured scoops of black buko (black coconut) or ube (purple yam), dished up in highly instagrammable milk buns or cones (the XXL holds seven scoops). Alternatively, why not go for a Filipino classic, halo-halo – shaved ice, piled high with toppings.
Mamasons Camden 91 Kentish Town Road, NW1 8NY
Snowflake, various Central London locations
‘Luxury gelato’ outfit Snowflake makes its products using the best ingredients, from organic Ivy House milk (available at farmdrop.com) to Sicilian pistachios and hazelnuts from Piedmont. As for the flavours, don’t miss the dark chocolate or the avocado – creamy and delicious, it comes with a £9 price tag to match. As well as the usual cones and cups, they serve waffles, cannoli and sundaes at their five ’boutiques’.
Snowflake Bayswater, Soho, South Kensington, Marble Arch, Selfridges
The menu’s always changing at chef Jacob Kennedy’s compact Soho gelateria, but some of the specials this summer should keep you happy if you have a savoury tooth: olive oil and rosemary, and pine nut and fennel. There’s also a Pimms and lemonade sorbet that’ll hit the spot on a hot day. Everything is made daily in small batches, and the most popular options run out, so arrive early for the biggest selection.
Gelupo Soho 7 Archer St, W1D 7AU
Marine Ices, Camden
It may have moved down the road from its original location, but Marine Ices has been a Camden staple since 1931, and still has a wonderfully old-school vibe. Some of the recipes have been passed down through the generations, and today there are 24 flavours of gelato, including fabulous dessert-inspired options like tiramisu, speculoos (spiced biscuit), blueberry muffin and chocolate fudge brownie.
Marine Ices Camden Old Dairy Mews, 61 Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AN
Ruby Violet, King’s Cross and Tufnell Park
You’ll have to show up at Ruby Violet on the day to know what’s on the menu; the flavours of their small-batch ice creams, sorbets, lollies and floats change regularly. But during the heatwave they’ve been dishing up fruity and floral numbers such as lavender, and juniper and rosemary – as well as a delightful honey ice cream. Traditionalists, don’t worry – there’s vanilla and chocolate too. Best of all: they’re open until 10pm and serve cocktails.
King’s Cross Midland Goods Shed, 3 Wharf Road, N1C 4BZ
Tufnell Park 118 Fortess Road, NW5 2HL
Oddono’s, various locations
Since its first gelateria opened in South Ken in 2004, Oddono’s has concocted more than 130 flavours, but the oldies are goodies: chocolate, hazelnut and pistachio are all bestsellers, as is the incredible mango sorbet. Want the full Italian experience? Go for an affogato – ice cream with coffee over the top. They’ve now got four more branches across London.
Oddono’s South Kensington, Battersea, Hampstead, East Dulwich, Chiswick
Make ice cream with La Grotta Ices