Sandwiched between two wafers, the slices of ice cream in unique flavours have been drawing crowds to K Rustom’s ice creams since 1953. For the scores of tourists visiting Marine Drive every day, the seaside experience is complete only after stopping for an ice cream at K Rustom’s.
Started by Khodabux Rustom Irani, the shop at Veer Nariman Road, just a kilometre away from Marine Drive, was not always an ice cream shop.
“It used to be a department store, where we would sell cotton, wool, medicines, among other things. But in 1953, we started selling ice-creams. The sea was close and it attracted a lot of people. So, we had an idea: let’s sell ice cream,” said Rodha Irani, Khodabux Rustom’s elder daughter.
From classics such as vanilla and chocolate to populars such as walnut crunch, pineapple, raspberry, papaya and nescafe, their signature ice cream sandwiches are available in all flavours.
“Initially, ice-creams were served on pretty porcelain plates, but several customers started taking away the plates or breaking them. Hence, we came up with wafers,” said Irani.
New flavours such as coco mint crunch, toffee crunch, rum and raisin have also been added to their menu.
Unlike the colourful display one finds at gelato parlours, ice-creams at K Rustom’s stay put in large steel freezers and emerge only when ordered. The shop, however, remains impervious to new entrants, taking pride in its age.
Starting from Rs 30 to Rs 70 for an ice-cream sandwich, the reasonable rates add to its popularity.
“This is not your usual branded ice cream. We make it here and sell it here,” beamed Irani. The shop, however, finds recommendations on popular tourist portals online.
“Visiting K Rustom’s ice cream parlour is part of my ritual, whenever I visit Bombay. Countless stories are heard or shared over the counter. Each visit leaves me slightly lighter in the heart and heavier in the stomach,” said Amitoj Singh, a 22-year-old Pune resident who frequently visits the city.
“This ice cream parlour is simple and exudes a truly rustic vibe,” said Sayana Sherif (21), a resident of Cochin, Kerala, who went to K Rustom’s on a recommendation when she visited Mumbai two months ago. “I started off with the chocolate almond and then, on a whim, I tried the muskmelon. It was one of the best decisions I’d ever made. It was refreshing and delightful, very unlike the rich creamy heaviness accompanying most ice-creams,” added Sherif.
Locals have a special affinity for the shop as it brings back childhood memories. “I have been coming here since I was a little kid,” said Dilip Arora (65).
“I have spent some of my best times here. It has been the venue for both — a teenage romantic date and a traditional Sunday treat,” said Arora.
My favourites are sitafal (custard apple), chocolate and blackcurrant, he added, pointing out, “the cherry on the cake is that it is very pocket-friendly.”