When the summer sweltering sun climbs over the rooftops of London houses and mansions, Londoners are comedically quick to dust off their shorts and go in search for an ice cream. London may not exactly be Rome, but there are some unexpected places to sample some great frozen treats. Although the obvious place to find a luxurious gelaterias in the city is Soho, you can find some great ice cream close by our easterly corner.
Towpath Cafe, De Beauvoir
This canal-side cafe pops up in several of our lists (quite an achievement given it’s closed for three months in the winter). Chef Laura Jackson has made her ice cream on an old-school soft serve ElectroFreeze machine for the past few years. But rather than using the chemical concoctions the machines are actually designed for, Laura makes her mixture with the kind of high quality, natural ingredients Towpath Cafe is famous for.
The results are things like mint ice cream using fresh mint leaves, vanilla ice cream from proper vanilla pods and a sensational coconut one.
Where: 36 De Beauvoir Crescent, Hackney, London, N1 5SB
Closest station: Hoxton
Opening Times: Mon – Wed: 8am – 10pm; Thu – Sat: 8am – 11pm; Sun: 8am – 5pm
Gelato Royale, Whitechapel
Sometimes the best ice cream is the closest one, so good ol’ Gelato Royale has to get a mention. You can practically walk out in your jimjams out of Qbic for a late night dash for some homemade tutti frutti if you’re lying in bed and the thought of ice cream won’t leave your head.
It gets a lot of the spillover custom from its neighbour Tayyabs, but if you happen to go there for a curry make sure you also try Tayyabs mango or pistachio kulfi – a traditional South Asian milky ice cream.
Where: 99 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1JU
Closest station: Aldgate East
Opening Times: 7am – 10pm
There are parts of Kingsland Road that function as much as street theatre as forming the key artery linking Shoreditch to London’s north-east suburbs. The road arguably hits its peak as it crosses Dalston Junction, amid what must be one of London’s most multi-cultural square miles. Somewhere around the Gözleme stands, West African butchers, Viet restaurants and flat white hawkers is Creams. A kitsch chain store which should be awful but is somehow fun – as long as you put any interest in wholesome ingredients or finding somewhere subtle on hold.
Where: 560-564 Kingsland Road, Dalston, London, E8 4AH
Closest station: Dalston Junction Overground
Opening Times: 11am – 11pm
Roka, Canary Wharf
The fancy Japanese restaurant may be a bit too slick and glitzy for its own good, but the robota grill and sushi are pretty damn good. One of the overlooked highlights at Roka are its ice creams. Perched on an insta-friendly platter-cum-ice-sculpture are a selection of sublime Japanesey ice creams: green tea, sesame and a cherry blossom number. There’s a good value deal at the weekend when bankers give way to normals.
Where: 1st Floor, 4 Park Pavilion, 40 Canada Square, London, E14 5FW
Closest station: Canary Wharf
Opening Times: Fri: 11:45am – 3pm; 5:30pm – 11pm; Sat – Sun: 11:30am – 4pm; 5:30pm – 11pm
Gelatorino, Covent Garden
Central London is where the most well-received London food concepts graduate to once they’ve been tried and tested in the academies of markets and food festivals. It’s true of ice cream too. Gelatorino is fresh and authentic, with ice cream churned before your eyes and samples of various flavours being proffered by the enthusiastic staff. It’s as close to proper Italiano gelato as you are likely to find outside Italy.
Where: 2 Russell St, Covent Garden, London, WC2B 5JD
Closest station: Covent Garden/Holborn
Opening Times: Mon – Thu: 12pm – 8pm; Fri – Sat: 12pm – 10pm; Sun: 12pm – 8pm
The menu for fresh and yummy gelato & sorbets here changes every day! Their promise of ice cream not being drowned in sugar or diluted with water will set you on a mission to try and decide for yourself..
Gelupo has been recognised again and again as the best gelateria in town, and have at one time even been listed by TimeOut as the top thing to do in London. And just in case ice cream alone is not enough for you and your sweet tooth, you could always go for an ice cream cake
Where: 7 Archer Street, London, W1D 7AU
Closest station: Piccadilly Circus
Opening Times: Mon – Thu: 11am – 11pm; Fri-Sat: 11am – Midnight; Sun: Midday – 11pm