The counter at Gelato Sole.
Texture is a big thing for me.
Some of my favorite foods I love because of their texture, the meaty crunch of pork cheek, the chewiness of squid and the buttery mouthfeel of escolar/white tuna/poopy fish.
I’m extremely appreciative of thoughtful chefs who play with texture, contrasting different textural elements on a plate, bringing them deliciously into sharp relief. It gives their food an additional dimension and makes it a joy to eat.
If you look at the “about” section in this blog, you’d see that ice cream is my other joy-to-eat. And nothing showcases taste and texture quite like ice cream.
I’ve been all over sunny Singapore, looking for that perfect scoop. You name it and I’ve probably been there. Something that is distressingly prevalent is that even though the flavors are usually good, the textures wouldn’t match up. It sometimes boggles me that we won’t put up with bad flavors, but we will tolerate bad texture. Nothing irks me more than having rough ice crystals in my ice cream.
Mecroche and coffee.
So what makes good ice cream? I’m looking for texture that is either light, airy and delicate (think liquid nitrogen frozen espumas and paco-jetted ice cream) or chewy, dense and luscious. Nothing in between please (although I have a weakness for soft-serve.) Which is why I love gelato. But I haven’t found anything in Singapore that approximates that authentic lush density. Then a few months ago, K-Dubs and I stumbled across Gelato Sole, hidden in the basement of United Square.
Gianduia and mango.
I was so taken with my first mouthful of their gelato, it was the chocolate-hazelnut gianduia, and it felt like I’d finally found something that I ‘d lost. It was superb. Definitely the best gelato in Singapore. But I say that with reservations.
Reservations because not all the flavors there taste as good. The cioccolato (chocolate), mecroche; which taste and feel like a Ferrero Rocher, nocciola (hazelnut), cookies and coffee are all excellent. But the pistachio and anything strawberry are surprisingly not so good. Their tiramisu and whisky cream, normally slam dunks, are disappointingly a little off and to the sweet side. Of their fruit based flavors stick to the limetta (lime), which is always good and their mango, which strangely can range from good to very good, because the intensity of flavor varies. Which brings me to my other point on why I have reservations on them having the best ice cream in town.
The newly made gelato (full tubs) usually have better texture than those lying out.
Consistency. They have what could be, and should be the best durian ice cream I’ve tried. The first few times I had it, it was truly phenomenal, intensely flavorful, luscious yet airy (seems to be a contradiction, but when they work their magic they seem to defy physics.) It was like they whipped up a whole bunch of durians and combined it with whipped cream. Yet lately, the D24 durian ice cream just doesn’t have that same oomph. Maybe it’s because I tried it the first time during the peak of durian season.
D24 durian gelato. When they get it right, it’s phenomenal. The best durian ice cream around.
It’s also really unfortunate that sometimes I can get lush, decadent gelato with that chewy, dense mouthfeel I love, yet other times, even with the same flavor, I don’t get that texture.
I hope it’s not because of poor quality control. Once when I got a chunk of pure ice in my gelato, I told the young Italian man on a laptop behind the counter, he had a shaved head and glasses. It wasn’t a complaint; I didn’t want a refund or another scoop, I just wanted him to know so maybe he could avoid it in the future. He just shrugged his shoulders and went back to his computer.
But I love the place. It’s one of two of my favorites, the other being Tom’s Palette. When they get it right, it is the only place in Singapore to get authentic gelato.
Strawberries and strawberries with yogurt.
Pistachio and cookies.
United Square #B1-K4
101 Thomson Road
Open Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Gianduia, mecroche, nocciola, cioccolato, cookies, limetta, mango and durian.
One scoop cone, $3.80; two scoops cone, $6.80; two scoops cup, $5.60; three scoops cup $7.20; four scoops cup $8.10; take away ½ liter, $14.80; take away one liter, $28.80