Turkey, India, Italy, England or Syria; each of these nations has their own special twist on what we broadly term ‘ice-cream’. While so many countries across the globe have made iced desserts their own, there is also a school of thought that believes this ice-cold treat dates back as far as 2000 BC, and quite possibly to this region, with Egypt staking a claim in its invention. This summer, we’ll be cooling down like our ancestors, but on a more indulgent tip, digging in a variety of eye-popping ice-cream sundaes. From old-English style with the likes of Fortnum & Mason and Rivington Grill to new-school American indulgence at IHOP and The Cheesecake Factory, here’s our guide to Dubai’s best ice-cream sundaes – each rated for their indulgence factor.
Raspberry velvet cheesecake sundae at The Burger Joint You’d better hope you haven’t devoured one of TBJ’s mammoth burgers before setting your sights on this mountain of dessert. Combining two of Dubai’s favourite treats of recent times (huge chunks of red velvet cupcake sponge and lumps of fresh cheesecake) with a thick raspberry sauce and milky, not-too-rich vanilla ice-cream, this entirely over-the-top entry is one of our favourite frozen treats in the city. While we dread to think what the calorie content in this bad boy is, it hasn’t deterred us from returning again and again.
Treat factor: 5/5 Dhs25. The Burger Joint, The Avenues, Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 0747).
Vanilla ice-cream sundae at IHOP There is absolutely nothing wrong with the ice-cream sundae at this breakfast specialist in JBR. But you can’t escape the feeling that you should have ordered a stack of pancakes to sit underneath it all. Expect generous American-style vanilla scoops and hot fudge sauce poured indulgently over the top. For a venue that does a naughty treat so well, going for the sundae here actually feels like the sensible option rather than the diet-busting treat it should be. As with most of the dishes on the menu here, the sundae is finished off with a pleasing amount of whipped cream and a cherry.
Royal ice-cream sundae at London Dairy You get to choose two scoops from London Dairy’s wide range of ice-cream flavours for this sundae, meaning it may not be one for the indecisive. On top of the ice-cream expect copious helpings of whipped cream, chocolate sauce and chopped nuts, with a wafer stuck in the top. It looks like a lot on first sight, but it’s not too frightening a prospect, so you can presume to finish it fairly easily. And the choice of ice-cream means that you can try countless combinations until you find your favourite.
Treat factor: 3/5 Dhs23. Various locations including The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, www.mylondonairy.com (04 325 3308).
Praline caramel crunch at Häagen Dazs Expect two not-too-extreme two scoops of pralines and cream as well as ice-cream – a combination of crunchy praline pecans, swirls of caramel and classic vanilla – together with caramelised hazelnuts, warmed through with hot butterscotch sauce, served in a tall glass and topped with whipped cream. It’s super-sweet, thanks to caramel and butterscotch and it’s indulgent, for sure, yet with a touch of restraint, as one person can definitely empty the glass on their own. And if you’re not such a nutty person, you can go for the cookies and cream sundae instead.
Knickerbocker glory at Rivington Grill This contemporary rhubarb take on the traditional British ice-cream treat comes served in a tall glass and looks rather ambitious at first glance. Inside the mountainous pilings of vanilla ice-cream you’ll find lots of fun surprises, such as cubes of rhubarb jelly, meringue sticks and even stewed rhubarb. For all this sweetness, the resulting taste is not one bit sickly. What you get is a fruity, creamy, not-too-gooey textural delight. We defy anyone not to gobble up the whole lot without hesitation.
Strawberry melba at Johnny Rocket’s If you’re not concerned with bells and whistles, you’ll enjoy this simple strawberry sundae. Stacks of vanilla ice-cream are served in a traditional sundae glass, drizzled with bottled strawberry sauce and topped with loads of whipped cream. The best bit? You might catch the waiters dancing their choreographed jig while you’re there.
Treat factor: 2/5 Dhs29. Johnny Rockets, various locations including Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha (04 325 1411).
Banana royale sundae at Baskin Robbins This Baskin Robbins’ signature sundae seems a popular choice and it’s not hard to see why. Choose a combination of two flavours of ice-cream from a bewildering 32 options (we plump for sour ice-cream with golden rainier chopped cherries and chocolate mousse royal ice-cream). Next add thickly sliced bananas, a deluge of toasted almonds and whipped cream, finished off with a luxurious chocolate sauce and a glacier cherry. The sweet and sour cherry ice-cream works brilliantly with the lighter mousse-like chocolate. It’s gooey, not too sickly, with just the right amount of fruit versus bad stuff.
Treat factor: 5/5 Dhs15. Baskin Robbins, various locations including Rimal, The Walk, JBR (04 452 5045).
Knickerbocker Glory at Fortnum & Mason A classic among Fortnum & Mason’s selection of eight sundaes (some of which aren’t necessarily sundaes, but we won’t quibble). Expect strawberry ice-cream layered with small chunks of pineapple, shortbread biscuits, meringue, whipped cream and popping candy, chamomile sugar, fresh strawberries and a touch or orange blossom, which amuses us greatly as it is sprayed onto the sundae, akin to someone applying perfume. For this dizzying array of ingredients however, we still find this sundae fails in the taste and wow factor departments. The fruit was bursting with freshness, the presentation was straight from the old-school, but for all these elements, there is a lack of cream and the ice-cream while decent, isn’t necessarily moreish or creamy enough. It certainly smells good though, but we’re not entirely sure it justifies this price tag.
Banana Split at Cold Stone Creamery Cold Stone Creamery offers up a range of classic ice-cream sundaes including the banana split, which doesn’t stray too far from tradition. Served within a crown of wafers, you’ll get a generous helping of bananas topped with vanilla ice-cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and chopped nuts. It’s not too sweet and there isn’t a whole lot of it, so finishing it won’t be a problem. But it could do with more extras to make it stand out.
Treat factor: 2/5 Dhs25. Various locations including Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha, www.coldstone.ae (04 399 6526).
Chocolate brownie sundae at The Cheesecake Factory A gluttonous dessert best shared by two scoops of cream-topped vanilla ice-cream are sandwiched between three massive triangles of gooey chocolate brownie dished up on a plate. Drizzled with chocolate sauce, the brownie tastes more like icing than cake. Not a bad thing in our books, but this epic dessert certainly gives credence to the saying ‘death by chocolate’.
Treat factor: 5/5 Dhs39. The Cheesecake Factory, various locations including Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha (04 354 9362).
Morelli’s bacio at Morelli’s Gelato Huge, colourful and served in an elegant glass, the Bacio looks the part. Expect a combination of chocolate, hazelnut and vanilla gelato, a sprinkling of hazelnuts, a dollop of cream and a cup of rich chocolate sauce at its peak. It’s decidedly smooth and super-creamy and yes, it’s also delicious, but we could only get through about half of it – call for back-up to complete this mission.