Watch| Ice cream in Chennai gets creative this summer with torched popsicles and retro flavours

What’s the scoop
| Video Credit: Shiva Raj

From bun-butter-jam ice cream scoops to lemon and cheese popsicles, Chennai’s frozen dessert makers are at their most creative in the sweltering summer. We explore the latest launches

April 25, 2024 11:54 am | Updated April 29, 2024 05:45 pm IST

The Nakku popsicles

At The Nakku popsicles in Anna Nagar, sales begin only at 7pm and go on beyond 1am. Tapping into nostalgia, this bright and colourful ice cream cart has become a popular spot. It is run by Gorikapudi Surya, who worked in the port as a crane operator, then discovered his passion for making frozen desserts last year. After several trials, he launched in September. “When you think of ice creams, it is always a scoop over a cone or in a cup. If not this, you have popsicles that are water-based. I saw this gap in the market as a great opportunity to become an entrepreneur. I wanted it to be a cart rather than a dine-in so found this design online,” shares Surya. He adds that he wanted a direct name and didn’t have anything other than ‘Nakku’ (Lick) in mind. 

Gorikapudi Surya

Gorikapudi Surya

We try their popular favourites, lemon cheese and triple choco. They come in an edgy design, vibrant even without the use of colourants. While the lemon flavoured stick is bright, creamy and subtly sour, the triple chocolate is a smooth delight made with Belgian dark chocolate. These desserts are stored at -22 degrees celcius and are torched before they are served. “This torching is not a gimmick although that is something our customers enjoy filming. When it is too cold, you can’t taste anything. We bring the temperature down a bit so that you get a burst of flavour in the first lick itself,” Surya says. 

People wait to enjoy Nakku popsicles

People wait to enjoy Nakku popsicles | Photo Credit: Shiva Raj

Toppings are sold separately and the crevices on the surface of the treat improve the cling factor. We give into temptation and take a bite, and the temperature is just right as the dessert slowly melts.

The Nakku popsicles is at 10th Main Road, Anna Nagar. They are priced between ₹70 and ₹150

Strictly desserts

Snehithi Jambulingam at Strictly desserts

Snehithi Jambulingam at Strictly desserts | Photo Credit: Shiva Raj

Not too far away, Snehithi Jambulingam who is the chef and owner of Strictly Desserts waits for her mango trees to be ready for harvest. “We started this business because of these two trees. One is of the Banganapalle variant and the other is Senthura. I used to be a marketing professional who loved to cook, eat and watch cooking programmes on TV. During the pandemic, I gave ice cream-making a shot and four years later, I have a restaurant,” Snehithi shares. 

Mango sticky rice pudding ice cream

Mango sticky rice pudding ice cream | Photo Credit: Shiva Raj

She believes that nostalgia makes products sell better. “Our mango sticky rice pudding ice cream with coconut is based on my travels to Thailand. The kamarkattu ice cream is a tribute to my mother who made sure we enjoyed the things she loved to eat as a child. She was absolutely thrilled when I made this for her and decided to add it to the menu,” she shares.

Strictly desserts

Strictly desserts | Photo Credit: Shiva Raj

Sneha picks popular local flavours to appeal to a wide range of customers of all ages. Her bun butter jam ice cream made with caramelised brioche buns, browned butter and mixed fruit jam is the top seller and has remained the reigning champion. The smooth texture of the ice cream adds to the buttery flavour as the sharp and sweet old-school jam cuts through. 

She reveals that she has always taken her time to add a new product to her line up. “Lots of summer specials are in the pipeline now but I am more excited about a pet-friendly product that is almost ready. Soon our pawed-friends can enjoy these treats too!,” she says. 

Strictly Desserts is at D16, 8th Street, 2nd Avenue Extension, Annanagar East. A single serve tub is priced between ₹130 and ₹150

Shraddha Lulla Gourmet desserts

Shreaddha Lulla Gourmet desserts

Shreaddha Lulla Gourmet desserts | Photo Credit: Shiva Raj

Shraddha Lulla also developed her product and business during the pandemic. But from the first ice cream cake she made for her mother in law’s birthday back in 2019 to now, she has not had the chance to taste her creations. As her staff layer the mango ice cream cakes in 500 ml tubs, Shradhha inspects her personal churner where a sugar-free creation is in the making. “As a diabetic, I gave up sugar eight years back. I like desserts though. So for me and others like me, I am working on this sugar-free range,” she shares. 

Although she started the business with her double chocolate, her biggest hits have been lotus biscoff and ecstasy ice cream cake, made with chocolate, caramel and nuts. “Ice cream cakes were popular dine-in desserts but selling them in boxes was unheard of. This novelty helped us along with the quality of ingredients we use and the consistency of our product,” says Shraddha. We try her saffron and khawa ice cream, which is a tribute to her recent trips to Kashmir. It is subtly sweet with bold notes of saffron and refreshing khawa.“

Ice cream cake by Shraddha Lulla

Ice cream cake by Shraddha Lulla | Photo Credit: Shiva Raj

She currently makes ice cream cakes in 11 flavours and this season is brimming with the prospect of new launches. Her frozen desserts can currently be enjoyed through online orders or from the cart stationed at Phoenix MarketCity where scoops of ice cream are served on buttery brown cones. “Cones are a fun way to enjoy the ice cream but they have to be eaten at once. Now, the ice creams can be ordered on Swiggy or Zomato or as a take away in these baubles. They are reminiscent of the ball shaped ice cream containers we used to have back in the day,” she says. 

For Shraddha, transportation of her ice cream has been a key problem. A Fine Arts graduate, Shradhha has used her design thinking abilities to perfect temperature controlled boxes that can keep the ice creams cake cold for up to 12 hours. “Ice cream is prone to melt, especially in our country. The moment it melts, it loses its consistency and it is not nice to eat after, even if it is refrozen. I want to ensure it stays good when it reaches my customers,” she adds. 

Ice cream baubles

Ice cream baubles | Photo Credit: Shiva Raj

With efficient packing methods, Shraddha hopes her desserts can soon be enjoyed throughout the country. “The next ice cream cart will be at Express Avenue in Royapettah. This is how I plan to expand my business too. I can’t wait to place these carts in every city,” she says. 

Shradhha Lulla’s ice cream cart is at Phoenix MarketCity or can be ordered on 9884087089. The 500ml tubs cost ₹715 per unit

Ciclo cafe

While Ciclo cafe is a name Chennaites are already familiar with, Scoops by Ciclo is a brand new. Sanjana Ramesh, the brand’s production head has now doubled up as an ice cream maker. “When I hired Sanjana back in 2019, I saw she had gone to Italy to learn to make ice creams and gelato. I have wanted to put this expertise of hers to good use. Just as temperatures began to rise in Chennai, we finally launched our ice cream range in March this year,” shares Ashish Thadani, MD and director of Ciclo cafe. 

Sanjana Ramesh

Sanjana Ramesh | Photo Credit: Shiva Raj

There are 12 flavours that can be enjoyed in the Kotturpuram outlet and they will soon be available across other venues too. “I had almost 55 flavours to begin with and after multiple trials, reached here. To our surprise, the cookie dough ice cream, which was the last flavour we added has already become our best seller,” shares Sanjana. It is creamy with chunks of chocolate and buttery dough, which has a pinch of salt that makes the ice cream addictive. 

“We have masala chai, coffee, and tiramisu flavours, all of which are Ciclo classics. The tiramisu is one of our most popular desserts here so it was a no brainer to include it,” she adds. The masala chai ice cream is bold and has a punch which is doused by the crumbly Parle G biscuits that have been mixed in.  

Ice creams by Ciclo cafe

Ice creams by Ciclo cafe | Photo Credit: Shiva Raj

“We make our ice creams in small batches to keep things fresh. The ingredients we use to make the ice cream are of very good quality. The churner we use is from an Italian company called Carpigiani which gives a product with very small ice crystals that gives us a smoother and creamier mouth feel,” shares Sanjana. 

Scoops at ciclo cafe

Scoops at ciclo cafe | Photo Credit: Shiva Raj

Although all the flavours at Ciclo are brand new, Sanjana is already thinking about another new addition. “Strawberry and cream is currently our only fruit ice cream. We will soon be coming up with a few mango-based products, maybe a decadent mango sorbet,” she adds. 

Ciclo cafe is at 32, 47, Gandhi Mandapam Road, Chitra Nagar, Kotturpuram. Here a scoop of ice cream costs ₹175


At Shmoozies in Kilpauk and Anna Nagar, fruit ice creams are the trend this season. At the Anna Nagar outlet, store manager Kante Sudhir is busy adding orange jam to their new orange and vanilla ice cream. “Jackfruit and coconut ice cream and this orange and vanilla are new products and we already got a lot of rave reviews for this,” shares Sudhir. Jackfruit lends itself well to the product while the coconut cuts through its overall sweetness making it a delight. The banoffee ice cream is made with Nendran bananas and is layered with pie crust and caramel. It is better on the cone as the buttery sweetness of the wafer compliments the fruity dessert.

Ice cream scoop at Shmoozies

Ice cream scoop at Shmoozies | Photo Credit: Shiva Raj

Newly launched orange and Vanilla ice cream at Shmoozies

Newly launched orange and Vanilla ice cream at Shmoozies | Photo Credit: Shiva Raj

While Sudhir runs the stores and Nalini Ravi Shankar, partner and manager oversees the operations, it is her daughter-in-law Kshama Adka who started the business and has been curating the recipes. “Kshama began making ice creams in 2015 and we came to this shop only in 2022. But she currently is in Melbourne and remotely makes sure everything goes on seamlessly. She visits India twice a year and introduces two new flavours every time,” says Nalini.

Kshama testing new flavours

Kshama testing new flavours | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

“Ice creams have been a part of my family’s meals throughout my life. So naturally the quality of the ice cream I serve has to be perfect. We produce a Philadelphia-style ice cream where we don’t add egg yolks. I am keen on using fresh raw materials which are locally sourced. We also make it in small quantities so even if there is a long shelf life, we don’t store our ice creams for long,”

Ice cream taco at Shmoozies

Ice cream taco at Shmoozies | Photo Credit: Shiva Raj

Watermelon sorbets, available in the form of a popsicle, are a popular option at Shmoozies. But we find the backyard mint made with fresh mint leaves to be a more refreshing option. Here ice creams can also be enjoyed in the form of tacos where a taco-shaped cone is filled with cake, sealed with ice cream and served with toppings. 

Shmoozies is at  F’ Block, F-200, 1st St, Block F, Annanagar East and Old No 17, New No 49, Kellys Road, Sylvan Lodge Colony, Kilpauk. Here ice cream scoops start at ₹200

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.