For the soigné inhabitants of London’s Brompton Cross, Daphne’s has been an institution for almost half a century. Founded in 1964 by Daphne Rye, a top theatrical agent of her time, it has always attracted stars and socialites and, more recently, ladies who lunch while taking a break from a hard day’s retail therapy in the surrounding cluster of boutiques. In general, life in its chicly informal, open-roofed summer conservatory continues as it always has for fans of its seasonal, healthy Italian cooking. But it takes a new departure on Saturday June 29 for two weekends to celebrate the Wimbledon lawn tennis championships.
A prettily designed, startlingly bright, hot-pink cart will set up outside the restaurant to dispense homemade ice-cream cones in six interesting and unusual tennis-inspired flavours. The chefs seem to have had as much fun thinking up the names as the mix of ingredients. Strawberry and Shortbread Smash is a British classic, while a Chocolate Deuce di Latte Ripple is made from Italian Amedei chocolate and toffee sauce, and Pimm’s and Cucumber Sideline sorbet has a candied cucumber peel garnish. For the calorie conscious, “Lob? It was on the Lime” is an intriguing, grassy sorbet blend of lime juice and green tea, Peach and Prosecco Ace is an all-Italian sorbet, while Grand Slam Orange Barley Granita is a pure orange sorbet.
Two scoops in a homemade cone cost £4, but for those who don’t fancy eating in the street, the ices are also available on the summer à la carte menu in the restaurant, where a set lunch starts from £18.50 for two courses. The cart itself will operate on the weekends of June 29 and 30, and July 6 and 7, from 12 noon to 7pm. Let’s hope the weather is as sunny as the flavours.