Hot weather and cold, creamy scoops of ice cream make the perfect remedy. Any Singaporean who’s been subject to walk about our gruelling national hotbed in the middle of an afternoon will understand why ice cream is such a beloved treat here, to the point where homegrown artisanal ice cream parlours are popping up across the city more frequently than ever.
This wave of ice cream boutiques promises small-batch, handcrafted scoops with innovative flavours that set themselves apart from the conventional offerings on supermarket aisles. Sure, you get the usual combinations like chocolate, caramel and the like, but these local makers are also pushing boundaries, successfully creating wacky ice creams flavoured like chee cheong fun, salted egg yolk and more.
To help you satiate your sweet tooth on a sweltering day, here is our line-up of the best ice cream parlours in Singapore.
If you ever find yourself along Beach Road, then pop into Shaw Tower for a scoop at Tom’s Palette. The clandestine ice cream store is a trove of some of the most inventive flavour combinations we’ve seen, like butterbeer, mala chocolate ice cream, and chee cheong fun. They also release seasonal flavours in accordance with the festive seasons — for Chinese New Year, Tom’s Palette is serving up pineapple tart and kueh bangkit scoops if you’d like your traditional CNY treats in ice cream form.
Birds of Paradise is an eastside gelato and sorbet haunt that’s a frequent presence on Instagram for its charming decor and equally appealing flavours. The boutique focuses on botanical-inspired ice cream made with healthy ingredients like herbs, fruits and flowers to keep things fresh, so you don’t have to feel guilty about ordering a double scoop.
Parked in Clarke Quay is Dopa Dopa, an adorable little gelato haunt that serves one of the best pistachio ice creams we’ve ever had outside of Italy (bold claim, but we’re staking ourselves on it). Aside from getting your ice cream in cone or cup form, Dopa Dopa also has a spin on the ice cream sandwich but using hot, buttery croissants to blanket your flavour of choice. You’re lucky they don’t open for breakfast.
Quirky cakes and gelatos are the name of the game at Butterknife Folk, a café along River Valley Road that’s been around for a few years. They’ve been delivering consistently delicious, crowd-pleasing flavours throughout, with some catering to the more adventurous palates, like their shoyu ice cream inspired by the ubiquitous Japanese sauce.
Neil Road might be a nightlife destination for many, but Apiary makes the street well worth popping by in the day time. The ice cream parlour sticks to the classics for the most part, with flavours like cookies and cream, pistachio and the likes that are heavenly when enjoyed with their crisp waffles, on top of the unusual renditions. Blue Milk is a popular flavour, especially because the combination of blue pea flower, milk and sea salt makes for such Instagram fodder.
The heartlands of Toa Payoh isn’t the first place one would venture to when thinking of quality ice cream, but Creamier has made the neighbourhood a destination since 2011. The café has a rotation of 12 flavours, with some inspired by local desserts like sea salt gula Melaka. So popular has Creamier become that it has since opened two new outlets, one in Gillman Barracks and one in Tiong Bahru should those be more convenient for you.
Merely Ice Cream is a quick respite from the heat should you ever find yourself trawling Bras Basah in the afternoon. The small nook twists classic ice cream flavours into combinations like earl grey, lavender and milk chocolate or lemon yoghurt berry that intrigue, so visitors can always find something unexpected in their display counter when they arrive.