In the culturally-rich streets of Katong lies a hidden gem, Ice Ke Lim, with the dream of bringing back gelato flavours reminiscent of the good old days. A mouthwatering harmony topped with a touch of nostalgia, Ice Ke Lim’s Asian flavours are perfectly fused with the smoothness of Italian gelato-making, standing out from the other dessert joints in the area.
Opened in November 2020, this new, underrated gelato joint may be unfamiliar to most. It may also be quite hard to find Ice Ke Lim if you don’t look hard enough. Nestled in a hidden coffee shop next to Ah Lim Jalan Tua Kong Mee Pok, Ice Ke Lim is a great place if you’re looking for a dessert after a good bowl of mee pok next door, or if you just want a break from the regular heat.
The founders of Ice Ke Lim may have come from different backgrounds, but they all had the same goal of creating a perfect chemistry of flavours, even spending countless hours of trial and error in the lab to elevate the chemistry of taste-blends to an art form. If the gelato does not pass their fussy tastebuds, they refuse to serve it. If that isn’t dedication, I don’t know what is!
Wanting to pay tribute to traditional Italian gelato making, only all-natural ingredients are used in Ice Ke Lim’s labs. They are adamant against using eggs and preservatives. They also have a range of gelato which is lactose-free (hint: check out their sorbets!). If that isn’t enough, their gelato is also gluten-free and does not contain nuts. With less fat content compared to the regular ice cream, their gelato is definitely more flavourful and less sinful than most ice creams out there.
Their gelato flavours come in two parts: Walau (signature flavours) and Tok Kong (premium flavours). Walau flavours are cheaper ($3.90) as only one ingredient is used. Pineapple Crush is one of their popular Walau flavours, a seasonal creation sold specifically during the Lunar New Year season.
If you’re feeling bolder, a Tok Kong flavour might be more your style. The price is a little higher, going at $5 for each flavour as two ingredients are usually used. With unique flavours like Bak Kwa, Milo Kopi, and Thai Milk Tea (which is blended with bergamot and earl grey tea), you’re bound to be spoilt for choices here. Personally, my favourite was the Tropico Tango, a special sorbet made bursting with the refreshing flavours of passionfruit, mango, and lemon.
Gayle Leong, who is one of the founders, teases new and unique flavours after the Lunar New Year is over. Be sure to keep a lookout for quirky flavours like salted strawberry and sakura!
To make their gelato taste even better, why not pair it with their fried or steamed mantou? “Every time I fry them up, the coffee shop smells so good,” chuckles Gayle. When I was served the gelato wrapped in a fried mantou, it reminded me of the ice cream sandwiches the uncles used to sell on their carts. Except, these mantous are better as they’re homemade using rice flour!
With standout flavours such as pandan, bandung, and blue pea kaffir lime, their delicious fried mantou is crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, with a cold centre. Definitely a must-try. If you purchase a fried mantou with a Walau flavour, it goes at $5.50. If you purchase it with a Tok Kong flavour, the price is $7.
Now, you may be wondering why the founders decided to open up at a coffee shop. With the immense heat, Gayle admitted that they faced quite a few challenges, such as the gelato flavours melting in the chiller on extremely hot days. And yet, despite these shortcomings, the founders wanted to stay true to their goals.
“We wanted to honour the local hawker culture, and serve traditional Asian flavours in a humble setting,” Gayle explains, “with our old-school flavours, both the young and old are welcome to reminisce about the good old days while reveling in the heritage of Katong.”
Address: 64 Joo Chiat Pl, Singapore 427786
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 12pm–10.30pm
Contact: 9685 4220