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Ice Ice Baby

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tried & Tested Food Review

Just as summer draws to a close, Purva Indulkar visits Pop-Up Hut at Kemps Corner to try out their handmade ice cream

Tucked into an alley at Kemps Corner, Pop-Up Hut is a cosy space, especially for people who like to experiment with food. The unique concept, featuring a new product, brand or home baker every month, allows foodies across South Mumbai to try something different (and affordable) on a regular basis. Intrigued by their idea, I visited on a hot Tuesday evening and asked around, looking for the two mega-stores that it’s squeezed between. The entrance is small and unassuming, adorned with a slate that welcomes you in. This leads to a small alley (with walls covered in interesting, food-inspired quotes) and finally, into a tiny, triangular space. There’s a small counter for chefs to work at, while the rest of the space allows seating for around five people. But, there’s enough space outside for a queue and judging by the amount of people who walked in while I was there, they will need it.

This month, they featured handmade ice cream from the brand iFruit, with a handful of items on their June menu. You can order a rollie (Rs 70), where chefs take fresh fruit or chocolate, add a milk-vanilla base and put it on a -30ºC stone slab, which helps it freeze faster. The chef then uses two spatulas to crush the fruit and chocolate (yes even for their Ferrero Rocher ice cream, two blobs of that dreamy chocolate are crushed into your ice cream, not simply placed on top as garnish) till the mixture forms a paste. This is then flattened on the slab and rolled out with a spatula. For a swirlie (Rs 70), they follow the same process, but instead of flattening it, the chef puts the mixture into a machine that turns it into a gooey pulp (like a softy). You can also order their large rollie or swirlie (Rs 130 each), milkshakes (Rs 140) and sundaes (Rs 250) that are big enough to feed three ice cream lovers.

I began with their Nutella rollie, but while I didn’t taste too much Nutella, I did bite into some indiscernible particles that I didn’t particularly enjoy. Their Kiwi rollie was my favourite, and because it’s made with fresh fruit and retains the black seeds (which I love). The mild kiwi taste isn’t too sour or too sweet. Their pineapple rollie was a blob of plain white ice cream that tasted too bland, while their mango rollie was delicious and light. If you want to end your summer with a treat for your taste buds, their mango ice cream is the best pick. I ended my day at Pop-Up Hut with an Oreo Milkshake (Rs 140), but I was slightly disappointed, because it looked brown (like a heavily mixed version), while I prefer my Oreo milkshakes lightly stirred into a black and white concoction.

The pop up failed on only two counts in my book. First, the ice cream melts quicker than most, so while it still tastes delicious, it loses its shape quickly. Second, their dishes lack great presentation; even someone who is a disaster in the kitchen (like I am) can think of a million ways to decorate an Oreo milkshake or a Ferrero Rocher and Nutella Sundae. In an era of social media creations, theirs just weren’t Instagram-worthy.

My favourite aspect was the handmade quality, which ensured that the ice cream didn’t have machine-made, mundane uniformity. Some of the rollies are small, some slightly broken — it all adds a rustic touch to what they have on offer, making up (slightly) for the lack of presentation. Overall, Pop-Up Hut is a cool place for a monthly rendezvous, and we can’t wait to taste what they have on offer next (spoiler alert: Gourmet Burgers).

Where Pop-Up Hut, Kwality House, Near Crossword, Below Kemps Corner Bridge, Kemps Corner
Meal for two Rs 300
Alcohol served No
Contact 9819334698/ 23820887

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