Thursday, June 14, 2007

Spicy Ice Cream

Kulfi Bar
15 Upper Dickson Road
Singapore 207475
Tel : 6294 2334
Opening Hours 11am-10pm

With so many ice cream parlours and specialty shops opening all over Singapore, much of the attention has been drawn to these new hippy places for gourmet ice cold delights. There are arty farty flavours like avocado and mint, new world tastes like basil and tomato and local flavours like chendol or pumpkin with sweet potato and ginger. By far, American, Danish, Italian and Japanese brands of gourmet ice creams have been making the raves along with local born establishments like Estivo @ Greenwood and Island Creamery @ Serene Center, along Bukit Timah Road. However one special place N and I discovered over the weekend was no where near any malls, or expatriate high end living areas.

Right in the heart of Little India, along Upper Dickson Road is Khulfi Bar, a café specializing in north Indian Ice Creams, Chaats and Tea Blends. It isn’t really a full bar or café as the owners also sell handicrafts and ornaments from India to. New age Indian music gives the ambience and relaxing feel and like true blue thrifty Indians, they switch on the air conditioners when a customer walks in.
Kulfi or Indian ice cream as it is commonly referred to is a frozen Indian dessert made with boiled milk that had been reduced through simmering to a rich creamy thickness with slight caramelized and malt notes, something like frozen full cream evaporated milk. Sweetened with sugar and slightly thickened with cornstarch, the Kulfi is frozen in cone shape containers. It is not aerated like commercial ice cream and does not contain eggs either. Flavours are far more exotic than your regular Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry with spices like cardamom, saffron, fruits like avocado or mango, nuts like almonds and pistachios. There is a strong Persian influence in terms of flavouring and condiments pairing up with Kulfi. This ice dessert is served in many ways with some of the commonly seen ideas are to serve them garnished with ground cardamom, saffron, or pistachio nuts. Kulfi can also be served with Faloodeh or vermicelli noodles, jellies and basil seeds.
As we just had a vegetarian dinner, I thought we might as well continue with a vegetarian dessert. I had been wanting to take N to this place since last year but some how have also missed it all the time. We took on two of their specialties with one being the Chocolate Kulfi with Faloodeh and the other a Mango and Lychee Kulfi.
Chocolate has a natural affinity for spices especially sweet spices like cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, cloves etc. The Chocolate Kulfi had a top note of cardamon and was complimented by small cubes of jelly, rose syrup, basil seeds and pistachio nuts. There was also a hint of rose water if I wasn’t wrong on my palate otherwise it could have been inteference from the sweet incense that perfumed the café.
I love the Mango Lychee Kulfi better as I like the sweet rich mango puree that synergised very well with the creamy malt tasting kulfi. The lychees were perked up by the ice cream and mango puree and the floral aromas of the fruit harmonised well into the combination. A generous topping of toasted almonds sealed in the pleasure of appreciating this lovely dessert.
To balance out the sweetness of the ice creams, we order two of their special teas, a Honey, Lime and Ginger Tea which had fresh calamansi lime and ginger infusion, and an unsweetened Mint Tea that tasted not only of fresh mint leaves but there were notes of eucalyptus oil which creates the “cooling” effect on the palate as the tea trickles down your throat. Both teas were served in traditional brass mugs inscribed with Indian artistry.
The little café also serves simple chaats or literally the Indians’s version of Tapas where small bites like samosas, pakoras and puris. There also simple sandwiches and wraps with Indian flavours and condiments of course! What else?............

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