Desert Chill The deal: What began as a quick Dubai holiday for Dan Furlong ended up with him setting up the UAE’s first ice-cream van company. While visiting his dad, Dan spotted a niche in the market and now has a fleet of five vans cruising neighbourhoods across the UAE, from noon until 9pm. The concept has gone down particularly well with the local Emirati community, who Dan says make up the majority of his clientele, but is also a huge hit in Al Ain and other quiet locales. Desert Chill stocks iced classics such as Fabs, Magnums and Cornettos. There’s also a Mister Whippy-style machine to fulfil that ice-cream nostalgia. To have a Desert Chill ice-cream van swing your way, see www.desertchill.ae, BBM 21e20431 or call 050 114 2491.
Mini cones at Margaux The deal: Margaux has reinvented itself as of late – what was once a fine-dining restaurant has become a trendy lounge bar. However, some culinary principles remain, for which we’re grateful, especially considering this sweet dessert – a selection of mini cones. The flavours, we’re told, change daily, from raspberry to chocolate to ganache, with toppings such as whipped cream and popping candy; taste-wise, they’re spot on. While we wish each could be a little bigger, once you’ve finished every last cone you’ll be full to the brim and smiling ear to ear.
Best for: Anyone who can’t choose just one flavour. Dhs45. Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai (04 439 7555).
The biggest sundae in the city at Hilton Dubai Jumeirah The deal: Getting hold of this enormous concoction of ice-cream proves to be more difficult than eating the hulking thing. After being told in no uncertain terms that the city’s biggest sundae was on the menu at Studio One Café at the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, we were met by staff who had no idea what we were talking about. We returned after being told that it was being served in pool bar H2O. More blank looks from the staff. It wasn’t until our third visit that we managed to sample it, discovering that it wasn’t so much a sundae as a big bowl overflowing with scoops of London Dairy ice-cream. But a huge bowl of ice-cream will always win points with us. Just remember not to eat anything beforehand: this is a meal in itself – a sundae lunch, if you will (chortle).
Green tea ice-cream at Okku The deal: Make your way past the bevy of girls at the desk of this wonderful Japanese restaurant, and do your best to skip through the array of (equally) gorgeous mains to arrive at the desserts section. There are a few interesting options here, but it’s the simplest one that stands out: the green-tea ice-cream. There’s nothing fancy about the way it’s served: a mathematically precise, perfectly formed green scoop in a frozen ceramic bowl. In fact, you’d be forgiven for dismissing this as a rather boring, safe bet, but taste it and you’ll discover smooth, silky textures and a complex flavour. It’s small and deceptively simple, but sophisticated and well worth a visit.
Best for: A refined conclusion to a refined meal. Dhs15. The Monarch Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 501 8777).
Chocolate ice-cream at The Ice Factory The deal: This little ice-cream shack opposite the Hilton Jumeirah on The Walk at JBR does roaring trade thanks to its cracking beachside location and the fact it serves jolly good ice-cream. Classics such as chocolate, strawberry and vanilla are on offer alongside more adventurous options such as stracciatella and Ferrero Rocher, and scoops are served (in a bowl or cone) by relentlessly energetic and cheery staff. They’ll send you on your way with a smile and, if you’re lucky, a song (they’re not afraid to sing along with the music they have pumping out of the speakers).
Best for: A post-beach cool-down. Dhs12 (small), Dhs20 (large). The Walk at JBR, www.theicefactory.ae (055 889 4400).
Salted caramel cream at Ladurée Paris The deal: This French chain goes all out to ensure quality of its ice-cream, flying everything in from the motherland. With flavours such as rose petal, chestnut, bergamot and more, there’s something for everyone – we first tried the violet flavour, which really did taste like eating a vase of flowers, but we preferred the salted caramel flavour, which tasted like the joyous sugary crust of a crème brûlée.
Best for: A continental ice-cream experience. Dhs15 per scoop. The Dubai Mall (04 339 8520).
Make your own at Cold Stone Creamery The deal: The best bit about this place is that staff sing, dance, clap and lob ice-cream at each other – it’s like going to the circus in a restaurant. Choose your flavour, add toppings and watch while servings are scrunched and smooshed together, teppanyaki-style, on gigantic, freezing slabs. The ice-cream itself, however, is actually quite flavourless – it’s only the extras that make it tasty.
Best for: An all-singing, all-dancing ice-cream show. Dhs24. Various locations including The Dubai Mall (04 339 9086).
Funky Monkey at MORE Café The deal: This imaginative home-made creation, whipped up in More’s kitchen, boasts a mountain of crumbly Oreo cookies nestled amid flavour-packed banana ice-cream. The banana offers a fruity hit that complements the biscuity texture perfectly and, unlike most ice cream, it’s not too sweet – just wonderfully unusual.
Best for… An indulgent snack to complement your coffee. Dhs14 for one scoop, Dhs20 for two. Various locations including Dubai Festival City (04 232 6299).
Häagen-Dazs Ice-cream Cake The deal: Despite the prevalence of Häagen-Dazs, the ice-cream cake is available only in two of the brand’s cafés in Dubai: Palm Strip Mall and Deira. We opted to order ours (yes, a whole one) from Palm Strip and though it took a good half an hour to get it back home, the special insulated packaging ensured that by the time we tucked in, our cake was still frozen. Perhaps too frozen – we needed a pretty hefty knife to cut into the icy slab. Otherwise, the quality of the ice-cream was top-notch, though we didn’t think much of the cake, which didn’t taste fresh. Next time, we won’t let our appetites get the better of us – it would be better to let it melt a little before tucking in.
Best for: Family gatherings. Dhs95. Palm Strip Mall, Jumeirah (04 345 6100).
Shack Attack Concrete at Shake Shack The deal: Any food that takes its name from a material used in building foundations isn’t going to be the healthiest thing you’ll ever eat. But then anyone who orders a concoction of frozen chocolate custard, chocolate truffle cookie dough, Valrhona chocolate chunks and chocolate sprinkles, isn’t likely to give a hoot about their waistline. We made the mistake of trying to consume our Concrete through a straw. Silly us – it’s far better to tackle it with a spoon (or maybe even a hammer and chisel, although Shake Shack doesn’t provide these yet). It’s tough work to get through the whole thing, but we haven’t tasted anything as wickedly decadent for a long, long time.
Fried ice-cream at Wild Ginger The deal: This, quite simply, is a huge dollop of strawberry, chocolate or vanilla ice-cream wrapped in batter and deep-fried. A treat for those who enjoy stodgy desserts, it evokes nostalgia for deep-fried doughnuts eaten in seaside towns. The ice-cream is lovely and creamy until the final stages, when we’re disappointed to find it’s rock solid in the middle.
Best for: An exciting fusion of hot and cold. Dhs16. Deira City Centre (04 295 3511).
Pain Perdu et sa Glace aux Epices at le petit maison The deal: This French toast concoction is glazed on its exterior but deliciously doughy inside. What sticks in the mind, however, is its accompanying ice-cream: spiced in taste, the cinnamon lingers; creamy in consistency and quick to melt, the crunch comes thanks to a smattering of honeycomb. Yummy.
Best for: A breakfast-like treat at night. Dhs45. DIFC (04 439 0505).
Raspberry cheesecake dessert with blueberries at Tasti D-Lite The deal: Hailing from New York, this isn’t actually ice-cream, or frozen yoghurt – it’s an all-natural dairy-based dessert that claims to contain 60 per cent less calories and 90 per cent less fat than ice-cream (that's just 80 calories per small serving). While it’s not quite as creamy as standard ice-cream, it’s still pretty tasty, and the reduced calorie count means it’s not as heavy or sickly. There are hundreds of flavours and toppings to choose from – we opted for raspberry cheesecake with blueberries and crumbled Butterfinger.
Best for: Those who want a sweet treat without busting their diet. From Dhs12 for a small serving; toppings and custom-mixed flavours cost extra. Emaar Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (800 82784).
Passion fruit yoghurt at Pinkberry The deal: There are quite a few frozen yoghurt places in town, so it’s reassuring to always find a trusty Pinkberry in our favourite malls. As you’d expect, you get to choose a yoghurt flavour and different fruits as toppings, and, while most go for the plain version, the passion fruit yoghurt is surprisingly yummy. There are about eight types of fruit to choose from – raspberry, blueberry, kiwi, pineapple, mango and so on – and all are fresh and bursting with flavour. Healthy treats never tasted this good.
Best for: A fun and healthy way to have your five a day. Dhs22 for a small yoghurt and four fruit toppings. Various locations including Mall of the Emirates (04 341 1378).
Red Bull Frozen Yoghurt at Frozen Yoghurt Factory The deal: After eating our fill of plain frozen yoghurt, we’re elated to find a fro-yo spot that sells eight flavours and offers more than 50 toppings, from fresh pomegranate, papaya and red apple to Reese’s Pieces. We love the plain yoghurt with fruit, but sidestepped it this time to try the Red Bull flavour, which really does taste like the love child of energy drink and yoghurt (in a good way).
Best for: Those with a sweet tooth who are adventurous yet health-conscious. Sold by weight – a small cup costs around Dhs15. The Dubai Mall (04 362 7500).
Frozen yoghurt with fresh blueberries at Snog The deal: Possibly the best frozen yoghurt in town, Snog is perfect for indulging your cravings without ruining the diet. Made with organic ingredients, sweetened with Agave nectar and containing prebiotics and calcium, you really can’t go wrong. We recommend a generous scoop with fresh blueberries and raspberries – the ideal healthy snack after a serious bout of mall walking.
Best for: A sinless treat; only 125 calories per serving. Dhs16 for a scoop and fresh fruit topping. Mirdif City Centre, opposite Lifestyle (04 284 0955).
Nineteen frozen yoghurt The deal: This sleek restaurant at The Address Montgomerie offers a three-tiered dessert – spiced mango and tartar of raspberries, white chocolate snow and crunchy coconut sable, and (as the dish’s name suggests) frozen yoghurt. Each can be eaten separately or mixed together for a colourful (and chilled) explosion of taste and texture – a delicious and healthy dessert alternative to ice-cream.
Also try: Limetta ice-cream at French Bakery The deal: Getting to the French Bakery is a little adventure in itself: this Dubai institution is hidden amid a seemingly never-ending construction site near Defence Roundabout. But the effort is worth it: choices range from the citrusy limetta to the ambassador’s favourite, Ferrero Rocher. The ice-cream is flavoursome and rich without being sickly. Most important, though, it’s served at just the right temperature, meaning you have ample time to devour it before it melts.
Best for: Traditional ice-cream in unusual flavours. Dhs12. Near Defence Roundabout, behind the Shangri-La Hotel (04 343 6444).
Rose ice-cream at Govinda’s The deal: With the aroma of incense and a mini-fountain right outside, you’d be forgiven for expecting a spa treatment. You’d be wrong, of course – Govinda’s offers some of the most inventive flavours we’ve ever come across: rose (you can actually chew on stringy petal bits), sapodilla, fig, almond, custard apple and more. Made fresh each day, Govinda’s boasts that its ice-cream is 100 per cent natural. We can vouch for it being 100 per cent delicious.
Best for: A unique, flavoursome experience. Dhs7 per scoop. Behind the Regent Palace Hotel, Karama (04 396 0088).
DIY ice-cream Why step out for chilly treats when you can forge them in your own home? Invest in this ice-cream creator and you’ll never go hungry again.
The Gelatiera by Gaggia Not content with making top-quality coffee machines, Gaggia has turned its attention to Italy’s other favourite pastime: ice-cream. This nifty little contraption allows you to conjure up the most eccentric ice-cream combinations in less than 30 minutes. The Gelatiera has its own freezing device that reaches optimum temperature in five minutes, allowing you just enough time to pre-mix your ingredients in a pan, wait for them to cool down and pour directly into the machine’s basin. Quick and easy, with delicious results. Dhs1,999, available at Dubai Garden Centre (04 340 0006), Jacky’s Electronics, www.jackys.com, and E-City (04 399 6970). For further details, see www.gaggia.com.
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Mila Oct 27, 2011 05:39 pm
Try ROMANA gelato in newly opened Al Barsha mall. Really tasty!!! much better than Bacio!
KILLY Aug 02, 2011 11:15 pm
YES IS NICE
Mak Jul 30, 2011 12:33 am
Well it's quiet funny how timeout rate ice cream and yogurt and gelato makers all in the same league. It's important to know that gelato is made from milk and cream from real fruits without preservatives, colorants or additives. Baskin or others have blue color ice cream obviously it not fresh. Ice cream has less flavor as it is less than ice cream it being full of air. You need to try the only truly artisinal gelato in Dubai made by an italian called Bacio Gelato.
Timeout should do more research on ice cream, gelato and frozen yogurt.
ICDubai Jul 23, 2011 01:42 pm
I totally agree with Roberto - Timeout clearly hasn't a clue on Ice Cream, rating commercial rubbish ahead of some fabulous artisan ice cream on sale in Dubai. Come on guys, hire some real talent.
Y Jul 20, 2011 11:55 am
I have yet to find an ice cream cafe in Dubai that I really enjoy or that makes me want to come back... and all of these Cold Stone/Marble Slab places are way too sweet, makes my teeth hurt! It's a shame, since frozen yoghurt and gelato are awesome but if you just want good ice cream specifically, it's not easy to find. So I end up just going back to old reliables - my beloved Dove ice cream bar (well, in this region it's called Galaxy), specifically the dark chocolate one. Always hits the spot!
PS, I agree on the picture-by-picture clicking thing, would be so much easier with a linear list...