01 May 2007

F-Stop Cafe


I haven't been making much ice-cream lately, the last excuse being the inability to get hold of my usual 1 litre carton of whipping cream. But 4 litres of whipping cream later, my ice-cream production is still nought, zilch, nada.

I have, however, been dreaming up of different flavours and presentation. Between two slices of shortbread, as pseudo-popsicles or simply in a pretty little glass with plenty of childhood toppings. (Thinking up of dinner or lunch menus has become a great digression to keep me awake during terribly boring talks that I've had to attend in the past few weeks.)

Yet, an experience at a little-known cafe along South Bridge Road managed to humble me with just one spoonful of ice-cream. While I had been mentally putting together unique flavours, I had gotten sidetracked from the fundamentals - texture. On my flight back from Hanoi (another entry on that another time soon), I managed to catch an episode of Heston Blumenthal's teevee debut - In Search of Perfection. In it, not only did he went in hunt of great tasting milk for the base of his ice cream, he also emphasised the importance of (ironically) icy-free ice cream. He waxed lyrical about how using nitrogen helped him turn creme anglaise into flawlessly creamy and smooth ice cream.

But at F-Stop Cafe, the ice-cream was not just smooth, it was 'chewy'. So 'chewy' that it resembled pizza. It was deliciously dense, and like a rose bud, took its time to blossom. It lingered in my mouth, leaving behind the lightest layer of chocolate perfume. The grape flavour had tiny bits of grape, was similarly 'chewy' and not at all like the other artificially sweetened fruit ice creams I've tried. The texture of Rum and Raisin was slightly different, most probably due to the addition of rum, which is resistant to freezing. Perhaps using 'chewy' to describe ice cream is a little baffling, but I'm pretty sure that if you try it yourself, you'll agree with me that 'chewy' is an apt description.

I have not spoken to the ice-cream maker himself to find out the secret, nor have I been able to re-create the texture, but rest assured it is on my list of things to do before I die. As far as I know, the ice-cream is only available in that shop. The F-Stop Cafe is a photography-cafe, where photographers can gather and talk all things technical without feeling like nobody understands. Apparently, Singaporean Canonians and Olympians gather there regularly discussing photographs, new upgrades etc...... My motivation for now is purely limited to the ice-cream, and I fully intend to conquer each flavour.

Cafe F'Stop

17/19 South Bridge Road.

Walk down along Jazz@South Bridge

10 comments:

valentinA said...

IS that You on the pic!?! Was it a cute photographer who took your pic!?!?
What a HUGE bite man hahahaha. but looks so good man... phew... I wish you could send me some ice creeaaammm, did you try the recipe I sent you? The lavender pear one, I bet you lost it!

Su-Lin said...

I know exactly what you're talking about when you say chewy. When I have homemade ice creams at Middle Eastern restaurants, they too have a chewy texture...

Chang said...

The price at the Fat Duck has gone up :(

Anonymous said...

stella> Don't you recognise Fel?! I don't look one bit like her! That's her big mouth, do you see? I haven't tried that lavender pear ice cream, but I swear I will! It's somewhere in my hotmail =) *sheepish grin*

Su-lin> Oh do they? I shall keep a lookout for them. Not very many good middle-eastern restaurants around here...

Chang> Have they? By how much? How do you know? Did you GO WITHOUT ME? I thought you were supposed to wait for me, until I saved up enough to return to London!

valentinA said...

HAHAHAHAHA IS THAT REALLY HER?? I didn't recognise her coz I thought she looked more feminine than usual:P:P
But then, I was wondering about the mouth ahahahahaha

Anonymous said...

Yes that's her! Unbelievable that she looks feminine now I know. Must be my influence =) Yes, that is her signature mouth. Heh heh.

Chang said...

No I haven't gone yet..I checked their website..I think the sampler menu is now like GBP115 or something like that...

Faster come back lah then we can go visit Heston!

thecoffeesnob said...

Is that gelato you were having? Apparently they use cornstarch to achieve the chewy texture. Gotta love gelato.

Anonymous said...

You know when it's excellent ice cream when it's elastic, "chewy" and still has substance while it's melting...that's what I think.

Anonymous said...

stella> Fel? Feminine?? =) Her head is going to explode. But yeah, isn't that her signature big mouth? =)

Chang> I might just take you up on that offer year end! Though it'd be winter and miserable. How about next mid-year, will you still be around??? Lets go soon, before Heston decides that 115gbp is still too cheap!

Coffeesnob>Is that right? I was wondering why and I thought it might be addition of eggwhite. Thanks for the heads up!

Anon> Couldn't agree more!