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.