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Morito, one of London’s best restaurants for ice cream George Reynolds

15 Outstanding Restaurants for Ice Cream in London

Go on, then — just a scoop

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There’s always room for ice cream. No matter the size of the blowout that’s preceded the arrival of the dessert menu, even the most moderate soul can usually find space for a scoop (or two). It takes very little effort to keep a couple of catering tubs of choc-chip in the kitchen chest-freezer — but excelling at ice cream, as these London restaurants prove, is an art form that calls for ambition, imagination and a willingness to either bring production in house or partner with the best small-batch makers in the capital and further afield. Churn, baby, churn.

This guide covers restaurants serving outstanding ice cream for dessert — or any course desired. Also check out London’s best ice cream shops and parlours.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Singburi

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It’s easy to fill up on the blackboard specials here, but the ice creams, especially the durian, green tea and taro, are worth saving space for. They’re made by Supaporn ‘Angie’ Kongsinsuk of Angie’s Icy Cream, which specialises in homemade Thai flavours. Leytonstone’s best restaurant (and one of London’s top Thai restaurants) has a winning way with the fryer: picture the twice-fried moo krob, chunks of crisp and sticky pork belly served with chilli and basil. This extends to the sugar-sprinkled deep-fried ice cream — it isn’t always on, but when it is, don’t hesitate.

Stoke Newington’s buzziest cafe has built a reputation for brunch — but just as good-looking and tasting as dishes like pork shoulder, fried egg and celeriac with white asparagus is the ice-cream offering. Made in house with top-notch fruit, organic eggs and cream from Northiam Dairy in Rye and served in dinky glassware, it’s the real deal. Apricot noyaux with polenta crunch is a standout, but strawberry, tayberry and blackberry are all well worth looking out for too.

Instagram/@esternsn16

Farang London

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Sangsom rum and raisin with banana and toasted pecan, mint choc chip with roasted Thai chilli… Never a subscriber to the “less is more” school of menu-writing, Sebby Holmes has won over the eyebrow-raisers again with his homemade ice creams at Farang. The sorbets are A+ stuff too: choose from kalamansi lime and mandarin with pomelo, and coconut and lemongrass with toasted coconut pieces. Best of all, all four are included in the ‘eat the whole menu’ feasting option.

Phil Bracey, Will Gleave and Peppe Belvedere’s unassumingly brilliant restaurant in London Fields uses ice cream to great effect in playful desserts. Early days saw a sour, cold cream tumbled with strawberries and frozen shortbread dough that melted into caramac; now, there’s likely to be a milk ice, with whey caramel and more of that dough, classic but still delivered with wit.

This slip of a tapas bar is still one of London’s most transportive dining rooms, and after some pitch-perfect gildas, lamb chops in a slick of anchovy butter, and fried chickpeas that will go down in handfuls rather than forkfuls, it’s time for ice cream. Malaga raisins, tempered by cream but still poppingly sweet, mingling with a judicious glug of Pedro Ximenez sherry that takes everything across to Spain in the dip of a spoon.

Morito, one of London’s best restaurants for ice cream George Reynolds

Those tomatoes have competition. Rivalling them as the second-best thing to order at Brat are the ice creams, which Tomos Parry gets from Broadway Market’s Hackney Gelato (it’s run by Enrico Pavoncelli and Sam Newman, both ex Locanda Locatelli). There are three regular flavours, all of which feel like a homage to the kind of childhood summer nobody’s ever really had: almond and cherry, like a scoopable bakewell tart; chocolate and hazelnut; and brown bread.

Anna Higham, Lyle’s’s former pastry chef, is in a league of her own — especially when it comes to ice cream. She’s now moved on to The River Cafe, but this Shoreditch Michelin star still follows her edicts. Flavour-wise, the guiding principle is that things which grow together go together: so there’s ricotta with fig-leaf oil, and blackcurrant leaf with the ripest blackcurrants. Even the single quenelle of milk ice cream atop the treacle tart has extraordinary depth. Seasonal and supremely stylish scoops, these — even if right now, the sleeper hit on the menu is a strawberry, ricotta, lemon verbena, and anise hyssop dessert that actually tastes like a Twister.

Lyle’s/Official

Quo Vadis

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Ice cream at Quo Vadis is a symbol of pudding’s necessarily excessive nature. Never served alone, it is part of a joyous piling up of textures and temperatures, whether cutting through a meringue with the bitterness of campari in a sorbet, stacking on top of cream and custard in harmony with a fruited frangipane tart, or sandwiching between profiteroles. The closest thing to ‘just ice cream’ might be praline and brown bread, but it’s still a hulking, unapologetic thing.

Profiteroles with choux pastry, chocolate and custard at Quo Vadis in Soho, one of the best places to eat Pastry in London Quo Vadis/Instagram

BAO Borough

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Good news: the legendary deep-fried Horlicks ice cream bun has crossed the river to Bao’s new Borough Market site. Also worth seeking out at Bao Fitzrovia is the peanut ice cream roon bing, a savoury-sweet, coriander-spiked wrap that’s far greater than the sum of its already great parts.

Instagram/@ellieedwards1

40 Maltby Street

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Like everything on the menu at 40 Maltby Street, the ice creams and sorbets are weekly-changing, understated but sensational. More often than not, they come as part of a perfectly pitched ensemble piece: think a delicate assemblage of rhubarb with sour cream and rose sorbet, or a scoop of golden vanilla atop a dish of rhubarb and stem ginger Eve’s pudding. The fruit ‘ices’ are things of beauty.

Instagram/@msjessicamw

Paladar

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Guacamole ice cream sounds like a dire wellness gimmick — and anywhere else, that’s probably exactly what it would be. But Paladar’s chef Jose Rubio-Guevara is serious about pan-Latin American food, and his avocado offering is nicely balanced (as opposed to #balanced). There’s also a dulce de leche ice cream with soy, but the sorbets are where he really shines — think pineapple, hibiscus and huacatay (a Peruvian herb from the marigold family), tamarillo and agave and Andean raspberry with chocolate mint.

Hugh Wright

Stockwell Continental

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The little piece of Rome on South Lambeth Road created by the team behind The Canton Arms continues to impress with its homemade gelato. The flavour selection changes weekly, but the if the regulars were lined up they’d form a Farrow & Ball-style pale-and-interesting colour chart: milk, stracciatella, roasted almond, coffee and grappa… The affogato is a barnstormer, and if the park beckons, proper waffle cones are available to take away.

Taco Queen

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The ice-cream sandwiches at Rye Lane’s small but mighty tacos-and-cocktails joint are lovingly handmade by Happy Endings’ Terri Mercieca, who also works with the likes of Breddos, Hoppers, Yard Sale and Yardarm. Continue the theme with the salted dulce de leche and sponge Tres Leches, or go off-piste with a Strawberry Shorty (cheesecake parfait, marshmallow, jam and dark chocolate between brown-sugar shortbread) or The Malty One (malted milk parfait between two chocolate-dunked digestives.

Happy Endings/Kaite Wilson

Bake Street

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Feroz Gajia’s Bake Street is on the first miles of a route to if not emulating, then respectfully nodding to the ice cream programme at Brooks Headley’s Superiority Burger in New York. For the uninitiated, that means absurdly high quality ice cream and sorbet. Hooray! It’s already got a high ceiling of its own though, moving between velvet-gloved respect of fresh fruit in sorbets (particularly anything involving mangoes) and sticky childhood nostalgia with tubs like the Take 3, all peanut, caramel, and pretzel.

Rosslyn Coffee

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This outstanding cafe in the City added a new string to an already full bow with its espresso soft serve, infused with coffee from Origin Coffee roasters and dusted with chocolate powder at serving. There’s no affogato on the menu, but ballers should ask to build one for an espresso-on-espresso delight.

Espresso soft serve served in a purple takeaway cup with a small wooden ice cream spoon, with chocolate powder on top James Hansen

Singburi

It’s easy to fill up on the blackboard specials here, but the ice creams, especially the durian, green tea and taro, are worth saving space for. They’re made by Supaporn ‘Angie’ Kongsinsuk of Angie’s Icy Cream, which specialises in homemade Thai flavours. Leytonstone’s best restaurant (and one of London’s top Thai restaurants) has a winning way with the fryer: picture the twice-fried moo krob, chunks of crisp and sticky pork belly served with chilli and basil. This extends to the sugar-sprinkled deep-fried ice cream — it isn’t always on, but when it is, don’t hesitate.

Esters

Instagram/@esternsn16

Stoke Newington’s buzziest cafe has built a reputation for brunch — but just as good-looking and tasting as dishes like pork shoulder, fried egg and celeriac with white asparagus is the ice-cream offering. Made in house with top-notch fruit, organic eggs and cream from Northiam Dairy in Rye and served in dinky glassware, it’s the real deal. Apricot noyaux with polenta crunch is a standout, but strawberry, tayberry and blackberry are all well worth looking out for too.

Instagram/@esternsn16

Farang London

Sangsom rum and raisin with banana and toasted pecan, mint choc chip with roasted Thai chilli… Never a subscriber to the “less is more” school of menu-writing, Sebby Holmes has won over the eyebrow-raisers again with his homemade ice creams at Farang. The sorbets are A+ stuff too: choose from kalamansi lime and mandarin with pomelo, and coconut and lemongrass with toasted coconut pieces. Best of all, all four are included in the ‘eat the whole menu’ feasting option.

Bright

Phil Bracey, Will Gleave and Peppe Belvedere’s unassumingly brilliant restaurant in London Fields uses ice cream to great effect in playful desserts. Early days saw a sour, cold cream tumbled with strawberries and frozen shortbread dough that melted into caramac; now, there’s likely to be a milk ice, with whey caramel and more of that dough, classic but still delivered with wit.

Morito

Morito, one of London’s best restaurants for ice cream George Reynolds

This slip of a tapas bar is still one of London’s most transportive dining rooms, and after some pitch-perfect gildas, lamb chops in a slick of anchovy butter, and fried chickpeas that will go down in handfuls rather than forkfuls, it’s time for ice cream. Malaga raisins, tempered by cream but still poppingly sweet, mingling with a judicious glug of Pedro Ximenez sherry that takes everything across to Spain in the dip of a spoon.

Morito, one of London’s best restaurants for ice cream George Reynolds

BRAT

Those tomatoes have competition. Rivalling them as the second-best thing to order at Brat are the ice creams, which Tomos Parry gets from Broadway Market’s Hackney Gelato (it’s run by Enrico Pavoncelli and Sam Newman, both ex Locanda Locatelli). There are three regular flavours, all of which feel like a homage to the kind of childhood summer nobody’s ever really had: almond and cherry, like a scoopable bakewell tart; chocolate and hazelnut; and brown bread.

Lyle's

Lyle’s/Official

Anna Higham, Lyle’s’s former pastry chef, is in a league of her own — especially when it comes to ice cream. She’s now moved on to The River Cafe, but this Shoreditch Michelin star still follows her edicts. Flavour-wise, the guiding principle is that things which grow together go together: so there’s ricotta with fig-leaf oil, and blackcurrant leaf with the ripest blackcurrants. Even the single quenelle of milk ice cream atop the treacle tart has extraordinary depth. Seasonal and supremely stylish scoops, these — even if right now, the sleeper hit on the menu is a strawberry, ricotta, lemon verbena, and anise hyssop dessert that actually tastes like a Twister.

Lyle’s/Official

Quo Vadis

Profiteroles with choux pastry, chocolate and custard at Quo Vadis in Soho, one of the best places to eat Pastry in London Quo Vadis/Instagram

Ice cream at Quo Vadis is a symbol of pudding’s necessarily excessive nature. Never served alone, it is part of a joyous piling up of textures and temperatures, whether cutting through a meringue with the bitterness of campari in a sorbet, stacking on top of cream and custard in harmony with a fruited frangipane tart, or sandwiching between profiteroles. The closest thing to ‘just ice cream’ might be praline and brown bread, but it’s still a hulking, unapologetic thing.

Profiteroles with choux pastry, chocolate and custard at Quo Vadis in Soho, one of the best places to eat Pastry in London Quo Vadis/Instagram

BAO Borough

Instagram/@ellieedwards1

Good news: the legendary deep-fried Horlicks ice cream bun has crossed the river to Bao’s new Borough Market site. Also worth seeking out at Bao Fitzrovia is the peanut ice cream roon bing, a savoury-sweet, coriander-spiked wrap that’s far greater than the sum of its already great parts.

Instagram/@ellieedwards1

40 Maltby Street

Instagram/@msjessicamw

Like everything on the menu at 40 Maltby Street, the ice creams and sorbets are weekly-changing, understated but sensational. More often than not, they come as part of a perfectly pitched ensemble piece: think a delicate assemblage of rhubarb with sour cream and rose sorbet, or a scoop of golden vanilla atop a dish of rhubarb and stem ginger Eve’s pudding. The fruit ‘ices’ are things of beauty.

Instagram/@msjessicamw

Paladar

Hugh Wright

Guacamole ice cream sounds like a dire wellness gimmick — and anywhere else, that’s probably exactly what it would be. But Paladar’s chef Jose Rubio-Guevara is serious about pan-Latin American food, and his avocado offering is nicely balanced (as opposed to #balanced). There’s also a dulce de leche ice cream with soy, but the sorbets are where he really shines — think pineapple, hibiscus and huacatay (a Peruvian herb from the marigold family), tamarillo and agave and Andean raspberry with chocolate mint.

Hugh Wright

Stockwell Continental

The little piece of Rome on South Lambeth Road created by the team behind The Canton Arms continues to impress with its homemade gelato. The flavour selection changes weekly, but the if the regulars were lined up they’d form a Farrow & Ball-style pale-and-interesting colour chart: milk, stracciatella, roasted almond, coffee and grappa… The affogato is a barnstormer, and if the park beckons, proper waffle cones are available to take away.

Taco Queen

Happy Endings/Kaite Wilson

The ice-cream sandwiches at Rye Lane’s small but mighty tacos-and-cocktails joint are lovingly handmade by Happy Endings’ Terri Mercieca, who also works with the likes of Breddos, Hoppers, Yard Sale and Yardarm. Continue the theme with the salted dulce de leche and sponge Tres Leches, or go off-piste with a Strawberry Shorty (cheesecake parfait, marshmallow, jam and dark chocolate between brown-sugar shortbread) or The Malty One (malted milk parfait between two chocolate-dunked digestives.