May 2019: We’ve added the ‘bilog’ hot ice-cream sarnie, which you’ll find at Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream in both Camden and Chinatown. Also check out the new ‘Whoopie’ sandwich (double chocolate cake/cookie with pumpkin-seed ice cream), courtesy of hot vegan outfit Black Milq in Hackney.
Ice-cream sandwiches were once the calorific preserve of New Yorkers, but these frozen treats have made an icy impact on London’s best ice-cream parlours, restaurants and cafes. It’s a dessert or sweet treat sent from the heavens, with scoops of ice cream wedged between cake, cookies and the like. Here are our favourite swoon- (and occasionally spoon-) worthy ice-cream sandwiches.
Ice-cream sandwiches in London
Bao had already got our attention with its cute savoury Taiwanese buns, but how about this for a sugary twist: a deep-fried version of the soft doughy wonders filled with malty Horlicks ice cream. Sweet dreams are made of this.
You don’t need dairy to make delicious ice cream – and live-wire specialist Natalie Slack proves the point with this vegan outfit now housed in Containerville in E2. Her classic sandwich sees a scoop of plant-based honeycomb and pine nut ice cream between two pistachio-coconut cookies, but also check out her new ‘whoopie’ version (double chocolate cake/cookie with pumpkin-seed ice cream).
There are two branches of Chin Chin in town, but the biggest range of ice-cream sarnies is at the Dessert Club in Soho. We like their Choux Bun Sandwich – it’s topped with crunchy biscuit and stuffed with, say, burnt-butter caramel or pandan-leaf ice cream, before being pumped with Chin Chin’s signature cream made from olive oil. Phew.
Salted caramel and miso parfait come squished between fine layers of chocolate stout cake in The Naughty One – a rich, salty, creamy and umami number that has a lot going on. Happy Endings started making ice-cream sarnies back in 2014, but if you want to sample their bad-boy creations, you’ll need to visit one of the venues they supply: Breddos, Tonkotsu and Honest Burgers are on the list, but check their website for a full line-up.
Mamasons peddles the kind of ‘dirty ice creams’ you’ll find on the streets of Manila and they also serve ‘bilog’ – a hot ice-cream sandwich in a toasted pandesal (milk bun). For your chosen filling, try the signature ‘ube’ (made from a native purple yam) or the goth-tastic ‘black buko’ (coconut combined with activated charcoal derived from coconut shells). There’s an offshoot in Chinatown.
Venue says Rainy day? No problem! Settle down with an Ube Hot Coco, or one of our Barako Bean coffees.
This Tufnell Park parlour makes its inventive ice creams even more special by wedging them between freshly baked cookies. Combinations depend on what’s been churned that week, but look out for ‘Francesca’s frisky rhubarb’, ‘Gianina’s gorgeous gingerbread’ or Tufnell Park honey and honeycomb – perhaps sandwiched between oatmeal and raisin cookies. There’s also a branch in King’s Cross.
We’re not yolkin’… Vietnamese-born genius baker Sammie Le’s small ice-cream shop in Soho has a whopping 40k followers on Instagram – and climbing. You can see why – her pretty macaron ice sarnies come in an ever-changing kaleidoscope of flavours, often with a southeast Asian vibe – think condensed-milk tea, pandan coconut, matcha oreo, egg tart or taro and cornflake.