Life & Style

This Chennai ice cream place brings back old-school soft serves, with a twist

Cereal milk ice cream at Soft Serve Co, Chennai

Cereal milk ice cream at Soft Serve Co, Chennai | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Even borrowed ideas can be brilliant. The most popular flavour so far, at newly-opened Soft Serve Company in Alwarpet, is the cereal milk ice cream.

“After you’ve finished eating a bowl of cereal, think of the sweet bit of milk left behind that you sip. That is the taste we are going for,” says Anush Rajasekaran, co-founder. He adds, “The idea came from something we tasted at Christina Tosi’s famous Milk Bar in New York. My wife Swetha [Rengasamy, head chef at Mexe] suggested it, saying cereal milk would make for a good ice cream flavour.”

It ties right in with the outlet’s nostalgic aspirations, while other flavours like lotus biscoff and salted butter caramel add a touch of the modern. The ice cream place offers six base flavours, poured directly out of one of three “softie” machines reminiscent of the simpler 1990s. The only difference is that these ice creams, creamier and richer than their original counterparts, form thicker swirls. “We cannot give it three good turns on our old-school sugar cones, the cones are just not big enough. So we swirl the ice creams out on a bowl and upturn a cone on top while serving,” says Anush.

Soft Serve Co, Chennai

Soft Serve Co, Chennai | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

This results in a dessert that looks like it is wearing a party hat, sprinkled in confetti that differs from flavour to flavour — chocolate dust and sprinkles for the chocolate ice cream, crushed cornflakes for cereal milk and so on. Diners also have three two-in-one flavour combinations to pick from, besides sundaes created from the separate base flavours, such as a gooey butter cake sundae made from their deceptively simple vanilla ice cream, and a smores sundae made with chocolate.

Based on how quickly tables fill up at this clear glass 20-seater space right outside Mexe, these options are more than enough. So far, a majority of Soft Serve Co’s clientele are either diners who come from Mexe, or walk-ins from around the neighbourhood. “It helps that we close the restaurant at 10 pm, because we can use that space to seat our after-dinner ice cream crowd till midnight,” says Anush, adding that though Soft Serve Co is operational from 4.30 pm for now, they hope to make it an all-day operation soon.

“Growing up, places like Freeze Zone and Milky Way were our go-to options for ice cream. That feeling is what we are trying to recreate here, albeit as a premium experience,” Anush smiles.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 12:16:31 pm |