There can't be many independent ice cream parlors in the UK which would be full to bursting on a chilly afternoon in February, but the sight of customers queuing back to the door or sharing tables with hitherto unknown acquaintances is by no means unusual at this Richmond favourite.
I should say upfront that my girlfriend and I are regulars at this little café down a pedestrian lane linking George Street with the Green, and reviewing it feels like commenting publicly on a good friend. The counter here has something of the feel of a friendly real ale pub about it: the welcoming staff greet newcomers warmly and introduce them to the huge range of ice cream flavours, or highlight something rare or interesting. Frequent visitors are known by name and looked after well.
And gelato is not the only draw. The owners are meticulous with the sourcing of coffee, and their brews are consistently good. In fact, this was the first place I drank espresso, and still the place I would choose to return to for it.
The clientele is pretty varied, reflecting the range of activities which attract people to Richmond. Families out for walks along the river, couples taking a break from shopping, dog walkers with their canine friends in tow, and locals like myself can all be found, jostling for space on the average afternoon, with stools at a table becoming somewhat scarce. The frenecity can occasionally feel a little overwhelming, and escaping to a bench looking onto the nearby Green becomes an attractive proposition.
Braving the busy ness to reach the counter, or coming back later if it seems to much, is rewarded with some absolutely amazing ice cream. The cherry flavours are, in my view, particularly outstanding, as was the wonderful granita they featured for a short time last summer. The concoctions are apparently all made on site, and many of them incorporate ingredients imported from afar, such as Italian pistachios or Indian mango.
Save slightly cramped seating area the only thing I would really change about the shop are the napkins used to mop up spillages and wipe sticky fingers. It may seem like a small thing, but just try keeping things clean and tidy with these tiny squares of (apparently genuine Italian ) tissue and see if you change your mind! At least the paper is distributed generously, so one can at least make an attempt at clearing up, however inelegant it seems.
So, in conclusion, if you're like me and despair at the quality of mass produced ice cream in this country, or who fail to see how chocolate, strawberry and vanilla could ever be introduced with a straight face as "a choice " then this place is. Definitely for you. If you're a Mister Softie aficionado however, you might wish to look elsewhere.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.