There’s no sweeter memory of a childhood summer in the Eighties than a cold, creamy ice cream that couldn’t last long enough. Or hard cassata cake ice cream in such pastel shades that Wes Anderson would have dedicated a frame or two to them in his next film.
Artisanal wasn’t a part of the vocabulary back then and most kids (and adults) would have balked at the thought of matcha green tea ice cream or say, jalapeno ice cream.
Bengaluru ice cream fiends will swear by these ice cream parlours that were set up decades ago and no, it’s not just about nostalgia. These places are celebrated because they serve solid, unworldly ice creams that have endured.
Some two decades ago, before Corner House turned into an ice cream parlour it was a fast food joint with a bakery. When its owner A Narayan Rao realized that it was more profitable to serve ice creams to those who craved desserts on Residency Road (since there was a paucity of restaurants that served desserts in the area in the mid Nineties), Corner House turned into one of the best-known stops for ice creams in Bengaluru.
Today, there are 15 outlets in the city serving close to 20 flavours of ice cream. While the chocolate variants, caramel crunch and fig and honey are the most popular, Corner House also serves milk shakes, fruit salads and cake desserts. But the mother of all sundaes is the Death By Chocolate or DBC as regulars know it: a decadent combination of vanilla ice cream and chocolate cake, topped with cream, honey, chocolate sauce, peanuts and cherries. Close on its heels is the Hot Chocolate Fudge – vanilla ice-cream topped with chocolate sauce and peanuts – available in a magnum size as well! An old favourite, one of the first items to be introduced on the menu, is the Trilogy – vanilla, strawberry and pista ice-cream with fruit salad, lychees and apricots, topped withcream, jelly, mango pulp and strawberry syrup.
Must have: Death by Chocolate
Where: Their branches are all over the city, and the oldest one has now shifted to Residency cross Road
Let us just say that before Bengaluru had even a vague inkling of what summer felt like (thanks to global warming), there was Lakeview. Set up in 1930 by Englishman, James Meadow Charles, the Lakeview Ice Creamand Milkbar is an intrinsic part of Bengaluru’s history. In its early days, Lakeview overlooked the Ulsoor lake (hence the name), then moved to its current location on MG Road. The cafe serves pizzas, sandwiches and burgers, but it is the ice-creams and sundaes that are the big draw with the most popular being their sizzling brownie sundae, which is hot, cold, chocolate-y, nutty and gooey at once.
Must have: The sizzling chocolate brownie sundae
Where: Perhaps one of the most famous landmarks on MG Road
Sreeraj Lassi Bar
When your biggest weakness is Indian sweets, but can’t bear the thought of a warm phirni on a summer day, then what do you turn to? SLR or Sreeraj Lassi Bar that has been serving kulfis to Bengaluru since 1973. Most popular among their kulfis are the kesar badam and mewa misri flavours. Equally tasty is the matka kulfi – kesar flavoured kulfi served in a earthenware matka. Want something more elaborate? Try their Faloodaice-cream, which includes fruits, almonds, rose water and of course, icecream or the Gadbad sundae with a scoop of mango, vanilla and strawberry icecream, fruits and jelly.
Must have: The luscious kesar badam and mesa misri kulfis
Where: They have branches all over the city, with the ones on Kamraj road and Palace Road are the most well-known
Mavalli Tiffin Room (MTR)
Those who believe that MTR is only about pre-packaged food and idli-dosa breakfasts might want to know that MTR were one of the first food chains in India to bring in an ice-cream machine and introduce the soft serve. Their ice-cream fruit salad known as ‘Fruit Mixture’ has earned it a legion of fans and is always in demand. Fresh fruits like pineapple, grapes, figs, cherries and other seasonal fruits, are flavoured with almonds and then served with their in-house ice-cream. This is served along with the set-meal as well as separately is one their most popular items.
Must have: Their signature ‘fruit-mixture’
Where: Lalbagh Road, (near Lalbagh main gate), Mavalli, Near Basavanagudi
If you get to Cool Joint after 3 pm (yes, even on a weekday), it’s unlikely that you’ll find a place to even stand inside the restaurant in Jayanagar. Everybody wants to get their hands on a sundae: the hot chocolate fudge sundae with fudge at the bottom and a mountain of vanilla ice cream covered in hot chocolate sauce and nuts is the most popular. But the lychee melba sundae with fresh or tinned lychees, depending on the season, topped with vanilla ice cream and lychee syrup is soon gaining a following. And if you are a cricket buff, there’s a World Cup special that includes five flavours at Cool Joint, which opened its doors about 20 years ago.
Must have: The refreshing lichee melba or the eternal favourite – hot chocolate fudge
Where: Jayanagar 4th Block, near the bus stand