Ok…so as I may have mentioned in my ‘about me‘ blurb, this blog is prone to a bit of randomness; and I bet, based on some of the posts, you may have thought it was pretty random anyway! The Octopus Diaries is first and foremost about dining out, however sometimes I come across (yes…ok so I go out of my way to seek out) dining or drinking experiences that I really can’t categorise but have to write about, simply because they are so damn weird, wonderful or uniquely random.
First things first though – and it’s more of a confession…but I hated chemistry at school. My 16 year old self, seriously couldn’t get her head around the subject matter…literally! The whole existence of atoms, elements, compounds and molecules (let alone anything else) was beyond the capacity of my more art-focused brain.
But yet I find a strange attraction to the appliance of science when it comes to food. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for authenticity and not mucking around with dishes when it really isn’t necessary or doesn’t bring anything to a plate…but why shouldn’t food be fun? The use of liquid nitrogen (henceforth known as LN₂, as I can’t be bothered to write it!) for culinary purposes, is certainly not a new concept. It was even mentioned in a 1890 recipe book! However, in more recent years its use has clearly gained momentum in the culinary world, due to Chef’s such as René Redzepi and Heston Blumenthal. I mean bacon and egg ice cream…who knew?
While there are a few Chef’s in Cardiff who are known to be partial to a dewar of LN₂ in their restaurant, it’s pretty rare that you find a eatery where the use of it is their prime focus. Located in Castle Arcade in Cardiff, Science Cream is currently Wales’ only liquid nitrogen ice cream parlour. And it’s for this reason, that I feel it deserves a spot in my ‘foodie randomness’ blog section.
At the moment, there appears to be a bit of an ice cream/dessert revolution going on in Cardiff, with parlours randomly appearing throughout the city – so what makes Science Cream different?
Well to start with, it’s like walking into a Science lab (as she goes weak at the knees from memories of school experiments gone wrong!). Yet this is no ordinary lab – for starters the ‘technician’ appears much friendlier and is there to deliver a delicious array of amazing desserts, as opposed to giving you a mouthful for (accidently) spilling Hydrochloric acid on a worktop (it never happened…it wasn’t me!).
The menu, which changes on a weekly basis, is droolworthy with flavour combinations that could leave you debating for half an hour on which amalgamation to opt for. At £3.95 for a small tub and up to £5.95 for a large, it is a little on the pricier side. However purely for the spectacle of seeing the mixers in action (let alone the ice cream), it’s a fun treat.
Salted Caramel Ice Cream with Butter Chocolate Sauce and Honeycomb | £4.95
Double Chocolate Shot with Salted Caramel Sauce and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough | £4.95
Now pay attention, here comes the Science bit…the idea of using LN₂ to make ice cream is that the faster you freeze it, the creamier it is. The moment ice cream starts to freeze, ice crystals start to grow. The longer it takes to freeze, the larger they grow, and the more grainy the ice cream is. However, rapid freezing from the liquid nitrogen results in smaller ice crystals and consequently a smoother textured ice cream.
Ok glad that’s over…let’s put it the Welsh way – the ice cream was lush! Ha ha! It was beautifully smooth, with almost a silken texture to it. The different combinations of ice creams, sauces and toppings were delicious and very moreish.
However, ending the post on this note seems a little too ‘normal’ – so in the true style of ‘foodie randomness’, I am just going to add that Science Cream does like a spot of experimentation and previous flavours have included…
- Christmas Tree; which apparently smells and tastes just like a Christmas tree (please do this again in 2017, I so want to try this out!)
- Bacon & Egg; which included custard ice cream, candied prosciutto, maple syrup and sea salt flakes (okaaaay…this may have pushed the randomness score up to at least a 7!)
- Elvis, The Fat Years; which included peanut butter ice cream, banana jam and butter fried brioche (I have an affliction to banana, but I am sure this would taste amazing!)
Secretly I’m kind of hoping one of their experimentation sessions may lead to some kind of LN₂ gin-inspired goodness – possibly with lemon whipped cream or a glossy, tart blackcurrant sauce or crystalised blood oranges…ok time to stop. It could even be called ‘You’re The Gin to My Tonic’ or ‘When Life Gives You Lemons’ or Let the cream beGIN’ – argh ok I need to stop now!! That wasn’t a subliminal hint by the way…as she keeps her fingers crossed!
- They have dairy-free and Vegan options – on my visit they were offering a Black Coconut Ash ice cream made with charcoal. I have to personally say it didn’t look that appealing, but I am assured it tasted out of this world!
- If the small(er) people in your life are budding Scientists, Science Cream offers one of the ‘coolest’ …sorry!, parties ever. Catering from ages 4-14, you can actually have your birthday celebration there. It looks and sounds awesome. Although based on experience best to also take a years supply of wet wipes with you. I promise, you will need every single one of them!
- Science Cream don’t just offer tubs – make sure you turn the menu over and you’ll be greeted with an array of dessert delights including s’mores, ice cream cookie sandwiches, sundaes and shakes.
Rating on the Foodie Randomness Scale*
Why did I not think of this first!
*please refer to Foodie Randomness ratings
Would I recommend a visit to Science Cream?
No! Ok, I am clearly joking! By far and away some of the best ice cream I have tasted and whether you are a local or visiting the city of Cardiff, it is well worth checking out for a unique foodie experience.
Address | 28 Castle Arcade, Cardiff, CF10 1BW
Web | www.sciencecream.co.uk