If it’s above fifteen degrees in London and you aren’t holding an ice cream - preferably documented on social media - does your happiness even count? No, probably not. But when you live in one of the wettest cities in the world, you can’t just be messing about with any old pint of frozen dairy. You want the best and we’ve done the, err, cone work to split the bad from the good, the melts from the keepers. Here’s where you should be eating ice cream on London’s annual ten days of sunshine.
The soft serve at Bake is fantastic. This old-school bakery in Chinatown serves a wide range of pastries, and they’re also known for the taiyaki - a Japanese fish-shaped waffle situation - which they also happen to use as the cones for their soft serve. You can go for the matcha, vanilla, or a mix of both, but when the cone’s this good, we’d keep it simple with the vanilla. This place has a card minimum of £10 so unless you’re rolling as a group, or prepared to eat three before they melt (good for you), then bring cash.
This place in Soho is from the team behind Italian restaurant Bocca Di Lupo, and everything from their banging sour cherry stracciatella to the rustic deli feel and old school Italian film posters on the walls, marks this as one of the best places to eat gelato in London. The flavours change regularly, but you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something you like, whether it’s a classic like pistachio or something a little different like peanut butter and raspberry. Also worth knowing the weekend this place is open until 12am, so if you’re looking for an early-in-the-game summer date, all we can say is, three scoops at Gelupo. You’re welcome.
Honestly, if National Rail was anything like Milk Train, commuters would be happier people. Sure, this Covent Garden spot has a wall of fake flowers, one too many motivational ice cream catchphrases, and the kind of mad candyfloss creations that’ll give a toddler palpitations, but ignore all that. You’re here for their cookies and cream ice cream. This is one of the few places where we’d actually recommend foregoing a cone so you can load up on all of their toppings. Get added mini oreos with the cookies and cream or live a lesser life.
Oddono’s makes some seriously good gelato. Flavour wise, you can expect everything from chocolate, to coconut, to vodka lemon, plus several sorbet options. Their original shop is in Kensington, but the Stoke Newington spot has the advantage of lots of indoor seating, which is perfect if you’re looking for more of a sit down situation, or if it starts pissing it down the second you’ve ordered, because London.
It’s your classic love story. Cream meets a freezer, they have beautiful gelato babies. The rest, as they say, is history. That’s what Shakespeare was on about right? This artisan gelateria in Stoke Newington serves some wonderfully creamy gelato. There are plenty of options like white chocolate, hazelnut, and ricotta with caramelised figs, but if the biscokrok is on you shouldn’t hesitate to get it. Plus, the black cherry praline is some of the best vegan gelato we’ve tried. Don’t miss the mini ice cream cones that you can use as a spoon, which is basically the single most useful invention since someone came up with big ice cream cones.
This Boxpark Shoreditch spot has some mildly insane, sugar attack candy floss toppings on offer, but we prefer to keep things on the simple - and cheaper - side with the classic cone and matcha soft serve. This place also does freakshakes that, frankly, we’re not sure how you eat without a blowtorch and a machete, but they’re potentially worth keeping in mind if you’re a serious sugar fan.
Much like algebra, quantum physics, and Kevin Federline’s wrestling career, we don’t entirely understand Chin Chin Labs in Camden. More specifically, we don’t know how they make their ice cream. We do know that it involves nitrogen, and, you know, science. Regardless, however they do it, it’s excellent. It’s super smooth and although they don’t serve your classic flavours like vanilla or strawberry, there are plenty of interesting options from vegan passionfruit kombucha to burnt butter caramel, as well as ice cream sandwiches. Be warned, it’s cash only.
Unlike Chin Chin’s OG joint in Camden, their Soho spot has more of a shiny sit down feel than a market grab-and-go situation. Heading to their Greek Street outlet has the benefit of additional flavours like coffee with olive oil, as well as more ice cream sandwiches and toppings to choose from. We’re big fans of the burnt caramel topped with ‘crack’ - a molten chocolate shell - but it’s also worth trying their weekly specials.
If Twisterlicious was a person they’d be that flamboyant drama teacher who had a collection of neon scarves and the hand gestures of a flight attendant. That’s to say, the ice cream at this Soho spot is a little bit OTT. The space itself is simple, with a few metal indoor tables but their batshit ice cream creations are not. They specialise in handcrafted chimney cake cones - think, lovechild of a pretzel and a churro - and there are several different options to get involved in. If you’re a fan of a fruity hit get the raspberry kiss cone, but our go-to is the apple pie with a cinnamon cone.
Ruby Violet might sound like the protagonist of a Tracey Beaker spin-off but it’s actually a particularly cute ice cream parlour in Tufnell Park. As well as your classic flavours, there’s also the option to get a hot salted caramel topping or one of their sorbet shakes if you’re not looking to go peak creamy. This place gets bonus points for addressing the ultimate blind spot in London desserts with their £15 six-scoop ice cream tasting menu. Take note, both their original Tufnell Park parlour and newer King’s Cross spot have outdoor seating.