Cream Circle

Voltaire once said, “ice-cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”. For me, ice-cream is one of those things that would make life incomplete, if it didn’t exist.

I remember as a kid, my Mom making ice-cream at home using a manual churning machine that was packed on the outside with salt and ice. My sister and I would take turns turning the handle of the churner and a few hours later we would have some amazing bone-chilling ice-cream ready. The best part was that you could make your own flavors; the one we made the most was “sitafal”, with whole chunky pieces of the fruit adding a nice “meaty” feel to the experience.

Our home-made ice-cream used to find its parallels in the Dimple ice-cream that was sold from an outlet opposite Don Bosco High School. Years after the outlet shut down, Dimple ice-cream was still available within Classic, the restaurant that replaced Dimple. A couple of years ago, a new Dimple ice-cream outlet opened where Student’s Book Centre used to be, selling exotic, elaborate flavors including “peru” but this too shut down eventually and Classic now sells Apsara ice-cream, the roast almond perhaps being the most popular.

While we would occasionally actually “go out” for ice-cream, it was a trip to Rajkot a few years ago that opened my eyes to what “going out for ice-cream” in Gujarat means. We were having dinner at a colleague’s place and around midnight, just when I was hoping to get back to the hotel and sleep, everyone decided to “go out” for ice-cream. Apparently the local family would do this every single day and dinner was considered incomplete without that one post-dinner outing for ice-cream.

Well, guess what! King’s Circle is slowly becoming Gujarat Ice-Cream circle anyway. Notwithstanding the failure of Baskin Robbins in the shop where Abbas Library used to be (and if you still want Baskin Robbins, you can get tubs at Sahakari Bhandari which also sells London Dairy tubs), a bunch of new parlors has mushroomed in the last few years, two of them in the last few weeks.

Among the longer-term survivors have been Natural, located just off the Circle in the lane towards Khalsa College, and the softy ice-cream served from a shop between Anand Bhuvan and Mysore Café, which is quite popular, especially in the evenings and on weekends as a post Udipi meal sweetener.

A couple of months back, I had mentioned Dairy Don, a chain from Surat that sells interestingly different ice-cream sandwiches and paan ice-creams. The newest entrant is an outlet of Havmor, an Ahmedabad based chain that sells regular ice-creams, situated where Himanshu Electricals used to be. On the far end of the Circle, next to Fu-Yong is a Gelato Italiana outlet as well, serving (obviously) gelatos and sorbets.

Pankaj Juice Centre sells kulfis and its own brand of “home-made” ice-creams. Rasna Panjab and other restaurants around the Circle also sell commercial ice-cream. And if you still want the standard family pack ice-creams to use at home, the Amul vanilla and butter-scotch packs are also available at the Shri Krishna store just next to Natural.

King’s Circle can officially now change its name to Cream Circle (thanks Ashish Ajmera for introducing me to that term) with some form of ice-cream available virtually throughout the day to satisfy all kinds of cravings and desires. At least for this one thing, the Circle is completely self-sufficient, obviating the need to go anywhere else, if all you want to do is to take care of your sweet (and cold) tooth.

20 Comments

  • Rohit Mohan wrote:

    Cream circle is definitely one of the best names one can give, to Kings Circle! 4 years of college at Matunga has given me a chance to go to each of these outlets atleast once. This post reminded me of all the great moments I’ve had in college with my friends, while we went out for ice-cream, when there was a cancelled class. I relived many of those moments.
    Thank you for this wonderful piece!

  • dr dolly wrote:

    very educating and informative.

  • Sriganesh wrote:

    My parents were in Ahmedabad in 1981. My sister delivered her first child, a girl in Ahmedabad. During her pregnancy, my sister’s evening walk included a visit to the ice cream shop on drive in road to have Mango Dolly at Havmor. This routine became well known within the family. The naming cermony ended with my niece being better known as Dolly rather than Gayatri! :-)

  • Pushpendra Shah wrote:

    You have wonderful choice of ice cream – the operative word being CREAM ! Now I can understand how you felt about our softee from Sno Cream…

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    Pushpendra – I quite liked the Sno Cream.

  • In the late sixties our family in matunga used to walk to the compund of a building near the bus stops in kings circle foe some fantastic kulfis.

    Also my dad used take us kids in his jeep to JOY icecream factory in Worli. There was an icecream store just outside the factory. My favourite was the Mango duet on a stick.

  • As a Vegan and as someone who is concerned about India becoming the Diabetes Capital of the world, I shudder.

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    Some pleasures are worth it.

  • Armaity Surendra Patel wrote:

    Hi Bhavin, you have taken me down the memory lane! Home made ice-reams!!! Almost 67 years ago, when I was 5 years old, every sunday we had Dhanshak party at our place or at Dad’s sisters or Masis! Each home had the ice cream maker known as ice-cream mould! As you wrote, we waited with abetted breath for Dad to start the ceremony of making the ice-cream. My sis and I too would request to try our hands at turning the handle. We needed so much strength and Dad and Mom would laugh away! Those happy days!
    Well U have given us almost all the locations where we can rush for the ice-creams! Eating ice-cream after dinner and that too by going out was also one of our family traits! All the dear ones have gone, the joint families have dwindled and now more superfluous entertainments have given place to this innocent routin.

  • Made my mouth water. I think Mothers Dairy can also be added to the list. Amul packs are also available at mama foods and sahakari bhandar

  • V.Subramanian wrote:

    The cream circle cannot be complete without the mention of the sub-mix Kulfi served on a leaf especially at the nights, comprising pricipally of Badam,Pista,Kesar,Chikku Mango and Peru. Over the years, one has become very wary of the quality of the ingredients, including the water that goes into making of such kulfiand hence stopped frequenting the handcart fellows that sell such kulfi,next to the Baalya’s pav-bhaji cart at the circle just opposite Dena Bank. But the taste was unbeatable.Yet to come across a branded ice cream that better the taste of Kulfis.

  • When I was a teenager(about thirty years back),Iremember going to may aunt’s place in Bhavnagar,for exclusive icecream parties which used to be at Central Icecream.I can remember eating large sundaes,and coconut flavoured icecream which was not so popular in bombay at that time.We were allowed to eat unlimited icecream by my uncle,unlike in bombay.I travel to Vapi quite often,and the best icecream is Monica where icecream lovers gather till almost midnight almost everyday.

  • the icecream at cream centre chowpatty,Soam restaurant at Babulnath,and K.Rustom is mind blowing

  • Ranju Bhat wrote:

    In the 60s we used to go all the way from our IIT Powai campus to Rustom’s at Churchgate for the fantastic icecream sandwiches. Of course, this was generally clubbed with taking in a movie which we considered an aperitif to the main course!!

    And a few years back, on our 30th wedding anniversary I relived the pleasure by taking my wife to that place we loved so much. Surprised to find it still existed!!

  • nostalgia. all the old haunts at King Circle. I am feeling very homesick.

  • Ravi Gadiyar wrote:

    Sir,

    In your earlier blog ages ago you had written that …the area in and around king’s Circle were blessed with reputed people , truly so !!!!
    It is really the King’s Cream Circle.

  • Thanks Bhavin for the appreciation. Enjoyed reading it.

  • sadly havmor wont sell other food items … would love to have a bit of ahmedabad taste in my locality …. :)

  • There is still no match for the kulfi at the Kings Circle close to Sangam Photo Studio, which we used to enjoy (a ball)during the 60s&70s.
    You have revived all those pleasant memories.
    It is really The King Of Cream Circle.

  • The present Gandhi Market was on the circle.
    The trams took a U turn here to go back to Colaba.This was the last stop for trams.This particular circle was in front of Aurora Cinema.There was a Railway Crossing near Koliwada station.The old Harbour road started from the present Rationing office.There was no eastern express highway.
    Only the agra Road now LBS marg existed to go north upto Thane.The highway came up between the 50s or 60s.Though the road to chunnabhatti was there and exit to Kurla on the west side.In Sion there were no roads before beyond Sindhi COLONY.Wal to Sion Hospital from there was a nature walk during day where no one dared to go at Night.Contry liquor barons were known to brew the deadly intoxicant and ditributed in outlets manged by them.This is how vardarajan became famous and invincible.The current vegetable market was just outside the station where the current parking place is situated.

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