Ice ice baby
Beat the heat with a cool iced treat. By Dorothy So. Photography by Calvin Sit
The Dessert Kitchen
Brian Lam and Dominic Li mean serious business when it comes to dessert. Their creations are almost too pretty to eat, whether they’re cream-filled roll cakes or towering parfaits. The latter is especially popular and can be made with fresh frozen yoghurt, soft serve ice cream or a combination of both. Chocoholics should try the Black Temptation ($48), which is swirled with cocoa pops on the base, crushed Oreos in the centre and a heap of Belgian chocolate spheres followed by a light dusting of cocoa powder. There are other flavours but you might also be tempted to try the sundaes. Our favourite? Sample The Dancing Queen ($42), which has a silken layer of milk pudding topped with adzuki beans, mochi and a scoop of homemade matcha ice cream. We also recommend the award-winning Purple in Love ($48), which is a Japanese-style, blackcurrant shaved ice surrounded by whole grapes and taro-flavoured mochi ice cream. The ice is topped with pearls of grape-infused ‘caviar’ for added textural pop. It’s the perfect foil to the summer heat.
12-12A Hau Fook St, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2732 2722; dessertkitchen.com.hk.
Nico’s Spuntino Bar + Restaurant
This casual Soho eatery specialises in small snacking dishes known as ‘spuntini’ in Italian. Like any great spuntino bar, Nico’s offers an extensive drinks menu to go with their sharing plates. Wines are de rigueur but for the sweltering summer season, consider the ice-cold granita cocktails, which come in a range of flavours. The watermelon granita ($68) is an easy favourite, mixed with lemon rind and vodka. There’s also a violet-hued bramble flavour ($68) made from lemon, gin and crème de cassis. The restaurant offers non-alcoholic versions in flavours such as almond and blood orange (both $45). Aside from shaved ices, the restaurant also scoops up 16 gelati flavours on any given day. The selection comes from Hong Kong’s very own I-Scream. Be sure to try the house special cantuccini and vin santo, which is specially designed for the restaurant.
49 Elgin St, Soho, 2978 3939.
Gourmet Dessert Café
This tiny storefront in Yau Ma Tei made a name for itself with its extensive repertoire of playful desserts. The café is perhaps most famous for its blended ices, which are available in a range of seasonal flavours with various toppings. The adventurous can try the fluorescent blue Icy Smurf ($38). It starts with a base of lychee-and-Yakult blended ice topped with another mound blended from lychee juice and berry wine. The cup is adorned with chewy yoghurt ‘pearls’ and aloe vera. Also look out for the newly launched Purple Dream ($44), which sees layers of berry-flavoured blended ice topped with Dreyer’s ice cream. For those who like some sparkle to their sweets, Gourmet Dessert offers a series of Snowy Mountain ice cream bombes that are splashed with Cointreau and flambéed tableside. Go for the mint choc flavour, which has cocoa frosties folded into its meringue coating.
6 Portland St, Yau Ma Tei, 3481 6158.
Hyatt Regency’s resident pastry chef Gary Lau designs a new line of ice cream treats for the summer. There are 15 soft serve desserts to choose from, all available on rotation as part of Café’s buffet spread ($238-$298 lunch; $458-$518 dinner). We’re partial to the bean curd and sesame ice cream, which is inspired by a classic Chinese dessert combination. It’s served in a glass cup filled with tofu agar and a towering swirl of vanilla ice cream or froyo. The whole affair is then drizzled with homemade sesame paste to lend a fragrant, nutty tinge. The baked sweet potato with ginger ice cream is another Asian-inspired offering. The base is a rich mash-up of Japanese purple sweet potatoes, sugar, milk and cream. It’s then topped with soft serve and decorated with a sweet potato chip and ginger syrup. And the best bit about these desserts? After you finish, you can go back for second helpings.
3/F, Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, 18 Hanoi Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, 3721 7700.
Other iced delights...
Probably the coolest summer opening, this new lab-like storefront in Tai Hang flash-freezes its ice creams at -196˚C with ultra cold liquid nitrogen. Unlike most other commercial ice creams, the frozen desserts here are all made fresh to order using real, quality ingredients. Flavours change on a regular basis but may include anything from purple rice to apple pie. 6 Brown St, Tai Hang, 2670 0071; labmade.com.hk.
This froyo chain takes delivery orders so you can enjoy their low-fat treats without having to step into the heat. Pick your yoghurt (original, strawberry, mango or the weekly special), then decorate with anything from caramel pecans to brownies. There’s a $200 minimum for deliveries and a small transportation fee for areas that aren’t within 10 minutes walking distance of the store. 71 Wellington St, Central, 2907 1199; redmango.com.hk.
Agnès b. Délices
Here’s another thing to enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Agnès b. Délices launches a new, uber rich dark chocolate ice cream crafted from only the best cocoa, cream and milk. The Glace au Chocolat Noir flavour is priced at $48 per tub and is available at select Agnès b. Délices outlets around town. Citywide, including shop 3089 3097, 3/F, IFC Mall, 8 Finance St, Central, 2805 0808; agnesb-delices.com.
JW Marriott offers the city’s biggest ice kacang promotion from now until July 26. The Malaysian-style shaved ice desserts are available during The Lounge’s afternoon tea and supper buffets ($230-$239 and $330 respectively) where guests can choose from more than 60 different toppings and sauces including cendol, fresh fruit and coconut milk. L/F, JW Marriott, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, 2810 8366.