For decades, Bengalureans have sworn by the luscious Death by Chocolate at the Corner House Ice Creams, and the delectable chocolate sundae and fruit salad with ice cream, the kind you can only find at the Lakeview Milkbar. People in the city call these desserts iconic, memories you just can’t shake, places you simply have to visit. But over the last few years, the city has witnessed an explosion of sorts in terms of ice cream brands. Lakeview, Corner House, and Mangalurean brands such as Naturals and Ideal Ice Cream, which pioneered the ice cream business in Karnataka, have paved the way for great innovation and creativity, setting high standards for the industry.
Omm Nom Nomm, Art of Delight, Ulo, and other new homemade ice cream brands have become popular, offering a delightful menu of lip-smacking flavours. “We currently have a menu of about 21 flavours. Our super-premium ice creams are 100% natural, silky smooth, rich, and heavenly. We use milk, cream, sugar, eggs, and natural additions such as the decadent Belgian couverture chocolate, real vanilla, fresh fruits, and the finest nuts. They are free of stabilisers, emulsifiers, preservatives, and artificial flavouring,” says Cyndia, co-founder of Omm Nom Nomm, which specialises in handcrafted, artisanal, luxury French ice creams. The brand’s ice creams are available in stores in Whitefield and Koramangala, and also online.
Art of Delight, another premium ice cream brand, uses high quality ingredients sourced from across the world. These include Belgian chocolate and cocoa, Spanish cream cheese, and European berries. “What sets our products apart is our commitment to using natural ingredients and real fruits, sans synthetic or artificial flavours. Our products include ice cream scoops, tubs, ice cream cakes, and ice cream sandwiches. We currently operate out of 10 locations in Bengaluru, which includes dine-in and cloud kitchens,” says Ajay Perumal, partner, Art of Delight.
Gelato / LUPA
Ajay attributes the recent growth in the industry to the post COVID recovery. “A lot of people are coming back to the city as offices have opened up,” he says, adding that Bengaluru loves its ice cream and has a strong ice cream culture. He cites the number of brands operating out of Bengaluru, which according to him is relatively higher than other cities, as evidence. Ajay also credits online food delivery aggregators for a large part of their orders. “Swiggy and Zomato are huge in the city. A significant portion of our revenue comes from delivery,” he says.
Catering to the changing preferences and tastes of customers, homemade ice cream makers like Vinod Joe, the founder of Ulo, have also scaled up their operations. “We started from home and with increasing demand, we decided to take some space to run the business. Ulo now gets about 800-1000 online orders a month,” says Vinod. Steering away from the regular flavours, Ulo provides unique and piquant options like Malten Kombat, Gonzo scoop, the distinct flavour of nannari (sarsaparilla root), paalada payasam ice cream, and Don’t Go Bacon My Heart. He believes that the best desserts should not only be delicious, but also evoke a sense of nostalgia, and so his flavours are infused with the people, places, and things we hold dear to us. Ulo sells their ice cream online and also has a shop in Indira Nagar.
Restaurants like LUPA and Burma Burma have their own in-house, artisanal, small batch of ice creams and gelatos. Curated from the freshest and richest ingredients, LUPA’s Italian-style ice creams promise relish. “Part of LUPA's intended offering was artisanal products, using the best possible techniques and practices, so that we would have an offering that was not only unique, but also top notch. The gelato room fits into this philosophy perfectly. Using a unique and rare Cattabriga gelato machine, we are able to churn fresh batches of gelato that are seasonal, made with carefully-sourced milk, as well as a tool for our chefs to use their creativity. From black truffle gelatos, to stracciatella, strawberry and balsamic, and a range of other flavours, we provide an offering that's exciting, unique, and not available elsewhere to the well-heeled customer,” says chef Manu Chandra, founder and partner of LUPA.
Avocado and Honey Ice Cream / Burma Burma
Burma Burma, a speciality Burmese restaurant and Tea Room in Indiranagar, offers six unique flavours that include pineapple energee, dark chocolate and olive, avocado and honey, caramelised chocolate and cheese, honeycomb and sweetcorn, and durian fruit. Made in-house in small batches, the artisanal ice creams launched this summer are fresh, creamy, and delicious. These ice creams too are created with unusual ingredient combinations, including a sweetcorn ice cream popsicle and honeycomb; the after school drink of every kid, pineapple energee, which is flavoured milk churned to an ice cream served with brown butter crumble; avocado ice cream topped with honey caviar and coconut fumes. The Asian durian fruit, known for its unique taste and distinct aroma, is also churned into a one-of-a-kind handmade ice cream.
Ice creams at the brewery URU Brewpark have taken on the avatar of sundaes in their new menu. From the fresh mango ice cream sundae to the crowd-favourite Banoffee ice cream sundae loaded with vanilla and butterscotch ice cream, there is something for everyone. “Essentially using ice creams as a key ingredient, the sundaes are all about indulgence. The menu features classics like fruit salad with ice cream and the sinfully delicious URU Death By Chocolate,” says Krishnapriya Bannerjee, the marketing head of URU Brewpark located at JP Nagar.
Death by Chocolate / URU Brewpark
Kappa Chakka Kandhari, the Kerala-speciality restaurant at Koramangala, has its own unique ice cream flavoured with Kandhari (bird-eye chilli). It is a mild blend of sweet and spicy Kandhari chilli in ice cream form. At Satvam in Sadashivanagar, one gets to taste new flavours. Some of them are paan ice cream, stuffed mango/orange, etc. Ven & Varn, an Indian start-up in the ice cream domain, offers premium ice creams, ice cream cakes, waffles, and other delicacies. “Fresh fruits are sourced from the market daily to churn out chikoo, guava, jackfruit, mango, lychee, and other fruit-based ice creams,” says Uday, Ven & Varn’s managing director. They currently have three outlets in Bengaluru.
Longboat Microbrewery at Marathahalli, a leading name in the culinary/microbrewery industry, has forayed into the realm of beer-infused ice creams. “We take pride in our beers, which are our core products, and build upon it by introducing beer-infused ice creams, a concept that combines the craftsmanship of brewing with the artistry of ice cream making. We have also created a beer-infused dessert called Beeramisu, a Longboat exclusive that is made by infusing our in-house crafted stout beer with tiramisu,” says Vinay Chandrashekar, co-founder, Longboat Microbrewery.
At Smoke House Deli on Lavelle Road, every day is Sundae as they evoke cherished moments and happy times. “We have curated a collection of stellar sundaes this summer to celebrate this ‘Sundae Bliss’, an unparalleled journey back to the sunny, joyous days of yesteryears. What makes them distinctive is that fresh, indigenous ingredients like Pollachi vanilla, Madikeri chocolate, and millets are used without preservatives and artificial flavours,” says chef Saurabh.
Affogato Sundae / Smoke House Deli
“You can indulge in the extraordinary Affogato Sundae; experience the Therapy Sundae, a harmonious blend of cream and crunch, complemented by a tart touch of berry compote; or try the Banana Split Sundae to satisfy your cravings. Knickerbocker Glory is a symphony of flavours that will make your taste buds go wild. Also relish the all-time favourite Rocky Road Sundae, a delightful explosion of textures and tastes, and Drunken Sundae that will take you on a sugary trip down memory lane,” adds Saurabh.
Susheela Nair is an independent food, travel and lifestyle writer and photographer contributing articles, content and images to several national publications besides organising seminars and photo exhibitions. Her writings span a wide spectrum which also includes travel portals and guide books, brochures and coffee table books.