Sunil Indurti and Vinay Raghu Raj put the cream back in ice cream at the Hazzel Ice Cream Café
Everybody loves a good ice cream; be it from an uptown café or an ice cream cart, on a hot afternoon or late at night, ice cream has been the standard go-to item for Hyderabadis who are otherwise constantly looking for new options when it comes to eating out. Ice cream parlours were the ‘coffee shops’ of the Nineties, where birthday treats were given and where a couple can share a seemingly bottomless glass of milkshake for hours on end. Today, the milkshakes have been replaced by frappes and chocolate sundaes by the sizzling brownie; ice creams have essentially become a take-away, eat-in-the-car specialty. All this considered it may look like Sunil Indurti and Vinay Raghu Prasad took a risk by opening up Hazzel Ice Cream Café, a sit-down ‘café’ in Netaji Plaza, Gachibowli, where the menu is dominated by ice cream but the two did have a plan. “We are simply not a coffee drinking nation,” begins Sunil. “Vinay and I have been friends since school and we knew we wanted to do something in the food space so we did some travelling and found that this will work as a concept.” Asked about why they chose to stick with ice creams and Sunil emphasises on the quality of their product, suggesting that it is not just any other ice cream. “What’s special about our product is that we use absolutely no synthetic ingredients. We make all the ice cream ourselves and use only milk, butter and flavour. Our ice creams are also pure vegetarian,” he says. The engineering graduate from Anna University, Chennai also takes a moment to dispel a common myth about locally available ice cream; that it is technically not ‘ice cream’ at all but frozen desserts. What’s the difference? Ice cream is all dairy and generally has more than ten percentage of dairy fat like cream or butter while a frozen dessert contains vegetable oils and other supplementary ingredients to make up for the lack of dairy fat. Naturally, while the latter is far cheaper to produce, the former is creamier and more indulgent. The popularity of frozen desserts can be attributed to their competitive price and the cost saved in production and pumped into marketing. There are also people who genuinely prefer less cream in their frozen treats.
“Most of the big players here make frozen dessert or blended ice cream, which is somewhere in between the two,” points out Sunil, “that’s why we chose to make our own ice cream for our sundaes and milkshakes.”
The menu at Hazzel ice Cream Café does include a few short eats and signature coffees but most of it is ice cream based desserts. Their signature coffees, which Sunil says is a hit with customers, are blended with ice cream. The ‘Ho ho pepper mint cappuccino’, for instance, is a blend of their mint choco chip ice cream, steamed milk and espresso. The ice cream menu is divided according to taste. Chocolate lovers can pick from an array of concoctions while those that go for vanilla can try it with a twist involving peanuts or white chocolate. Caramel lovers have options too and the fruity flavours include black current, strawberry and orange.