Continuing with our special selection of the most popular homegrown ice cream boutiques in town (see here for part 1), here are four which have been wheelin’ & dealin’ and making a name for SG-made yummy confections, elevating the humble treat from just cold to Insta-worthy dessert gold.
Important update: With the current COVID-19 restrictions in place from 16 May 2021 onwards, do check ahead with each ice cream outlet for their opening hours, product availability and takeaway options (best to buy your desserts in cups, pints or tubs). Or, try the brands’ respective websites to order your faves so you can Netflix and chill with a pint, in the comfort of your home.
Merely Ice Cream
That the brand calls itself “Merely” and that it has been “scooping up balls of happiness since 2012”, make it fully deserving of our likes for its low-key smarts in branding itself and its products. When main spokesperson and co-owner Tham Ying Wai and his two business partners first operated out of a small unit with limited seating at Sunshine Plaza, Merely Ice Cream was an open-secret among students and working professionals in the arts district locale; since then, it has opened another outlet at the massive stadium-sized Our Tampines Hub. What has not changed, are its handcrafted flavourful “balls of happiness”.
Merely Ice Cream has helpfully categorised its goodies on its site to help ease dessert-starved tum-tums and conflicted minds. Horlicks Panda and Earl Grey are its bestsellers (a pint goes from $12 and up) while its Root Beer Float and Hei Sesame are eggs-free flavours. Have a beau? Then pick a boozy Chocolate Stout from its “Perfect Date” selections. Have kids? Reward them with some Milo Fudge Cake or Grape Yakult Yogurt. And, while it has recently needed to raise its prices in January because of rising costs of operation and ingredients, the cost of a scoop is still kept relatively affordable, hovering around the $4.50 mark for a “ball of happiness”.
Merely Ice Cream, 91 Bencoolen Street, Sunshine Plaza, #01-13, 189652, and 1 Tampines Walk, Our Tampines Hub, #B1-52, 528523, www.merely.com.sg; www.facebook.com/Merely.Ice.Cream; www.instagram.com/merelyicecream
Once upon a time (okay, it was 2011), a heartland cafe opened in one of Singapore’s oldest satellite towns, Toa Payoh, and the rest was history. To elaborate: Creamier’s the aforementioned independent ice cream and coffee lifestyle cafe, with its small-batch desserts, crispy yet fluffy waffles and barista-pulled coffees gaining them enough fans and patronage to enable its expansion into hipster enclave Tiong Bahru and contemporary arts and dining cluster Gillman Barracks. In fact, its founders, Audrey Wang, and her friend, Khoh Wan Chin and Khoh’s hubby Victor Lim, take the art of dessert-making so seriously, they created a sister brand Sunday Folks (it focuses on an expanded repertoire of delectables beyond waffles). Kudos to the trio for the extra yummies.
So many to choose from – the ice creams go for about less than $4 a scoop and a double scoop on waffles can be had for around $14 (depending on the flavours), with the ice creams having no artificial ingredients, preservatives and life enhancers contained within. Our completely-subjective recos if you are buying a pint (from $12.90, depending on the flavour): top-faves Sea Salt Gula Melaka and Earl Grey Lavender, as well as the ever-dependable Cookies & Cream and Plain Ole Chocolate. You can also order its Frozen Golden Waffles ($14), Lyle’s Golden Syrup ($1.50) and Classic Chocolate Sauce ($1.50) if you want to try your hand at making your own waffles. Pro-tips: Opt for the Espresso flavoured pint (it’s seasonal and the Toa Payoh outlet exclusive).
There’s no Tom here, just the wonder duo of the Mechanical Engineering-trained Chronos Chan and his wife Eunice Soon, both of whom opened their ice cream shop at Shaw Tower all the way back in 2005. The geletaria got buzzy in 2006 thanks to an NTU student who helped spread awareness about the shop among the student body, and some 180 flavours of gelato later, its now found at 51 Middle Road (which they moved to in mid-2020, just a stone’s throw from their old location).
While some of its amazing creations over the years such as Parmesan Cheese and Cream Crackers, White Chocolate Nori, Mango Sticky Rice, Chee Cheong Fun and Nasi Lemak (it has ikan bilis and curry leaves in it) might pop up now and then (check out its Facebook and Instagram for updates), there are still enough signature flavours to make your day. Of the 27 in-store flavours (from $4 for a small cup), Salted Caramel Cheesecake, Salted Egg Yolk and Granny’s Favourite (cookie dough, chocolate malt and chocolate chops) are the bestsellers, with some novel ones (spotted just last week on 10 May) being Kueh Bangkit, Kueh Dadar and Honey Orchid Oolong.
It’s the longest-standing ice cream estab in the list (it started in 2003) that can be considered as a generational family business – its founder Stanley Kwok is running the show now along with his son David Kwok who’s hard at work as its Operations Manager. Founded on self-proclaimed “ice-cream man” Stanley’s idea of providing premium quality local-flavoured ice cream, it is an institution of sorts – when the company closed its Serene Centre store that had hundreds (possibly, thousands) of photos of its customers on the walls in 2018, some fervent fans called it “the end of an era”. Currently, it has two outlets open – at Bukit Timah Road and at Orchard Road.
From its Red Label, the famed Pulut Hitam and Teh Tarik (the tea flavour is extracted from steeped tea, not tea powder) as well as the tangy Soursop Pomegranate Sorbet ($11 per tub). From the Blue Label, order any of the three listed: the Mao Shan Wang (MSW) Durian with the fleshy fruit sourced (according from its product description) “from a well-known durian stall in Ghim Moh Market”, and the two brew-inspired alcoholic ones, Guinness ice cream and Tiger Sorbet ($12 per tub). Also, if your waists can take the extra inches, its cakes such as Baked Alaska and Mudpie are to-die-for (from $38 for a whole cake).
Island Creamery, 559 Bukit Timah Road, King’s Arcade, #01-01, 269695, and 2 Orchard Turn, ION Orchard, #B3-K1, 238801; www.islandcreamery.com; www.facebook.com/IslandCreamerySG; www.instagram.com/islandcreamery
Featured image: Tom’s Palette