I once had a dinner party where one of the guests turned up very sweetly bearing a tub of ice cream. It was only as I went to serve it that I realised she’d snaffled a good part of the tub on the way there. I’m not sure if this is particularly good manners, but if it had been ice cream from Ruby Violet then I might have forgiven her, because the stuff they make at this little ice cream parlour in north London is quite irresistible.
Handmade, using local ingredients wherever possible, the ice creams (from £3 for a 100ml scoop, first picture) come in a panoply of grown-up (and a few deliciously childish) flavours that change by the week, giving one a good excuse to return on a regular basis. In fact, they’re so good I’ve virtually given up making puddings altogether – the other night I rounded off a dinner by serving a smorgasbord of fragrant lemon & basil, a deliciously tart rhubarb & verjuice and an aromatic ice cream made with local honey. Oh and a little tub of rosewater and peach sorbet. And a Campari and blood orange sorbet, too. As I write, the flavours of the day include elderflower and Prosecco sorbet, Earl Grey ice cream and, intriguingly, a variety made with horseradish, which I’ll make it my business to go and sample this weekend.
But if sticking a few tubs on the dinner table feels a bit infra dig (although, it should be said, they are very pretty tubs), Ruby Violet also does some tantalising ice cream bombes (from £30, second picture), layer cakes (from £35) and tartlets (from £22 for four, third picture), as well as little ice cream-filled petits fours in all sorts of shapes, from chrysanthemums (from £20 for 10) to lollies (from £36 for 12). And if you want to learn the art for yourself, there are two-hour ice cream-making masterclasses (from £65 per person).
The shop is tiny – there are just a few chairs and a table or two – so this is no place to hang about (particularly at chucking out time on a school day, when the place is overrun), but for a spot of indulgence at home, or an epicurean pit stop after dinner (it’s open until 10pm Tuesday to Sunday), this place is pure delight. What’s more, a second Ruby Violet parlour has just opened in King’s Cross, off Granary Square.