SINGAPORE - Dairy-free ice cream has been on the market for a while now. But none of the options ever seem to capture the decadence, creaminess and texture of the original.
That is, until I had ice cream from Kind Kones, which opened at the basement of The Forum Shopping Mall earlier this year.
The 20 flavours on offer - ranging from the popular Black Forest and Almond Brittle Fudge, to Purple Sweet Potato and Lemon Lime Sorbet - are vegan and mostly gluten-free. Single scoops cost $4.90 (standard flavours)/$6.90 (premium flavours) while double scoops cost $6.50 (standard)/ $8 (premium).
The colours may not be as vivid as they are not artificial, but I go for the prettiest and most Instagrammable option called Blue Planet.
Meant to look like the Earth, it is a creamy pastel blue with flecks of green - a combination of French vanilla bean ice cream made with coconut milk, cashew milk and almond milk, coloured blue with butterfly pea flower, and with bits of fluffy, green matcha cake folded in.
It is not all style over substance, as the different nut milks work together to create a superbly creamy ice cream that is not overly sweet or cloying. The generous bits of matcha cake add great texture as well.
I sample other flavours like Pandan Gula Melaka, which tastes like chendol in ice cream form, but made with high-quality ingredients.
I appreciate the incorporation of distinctly Asian flavours by Kind Kones, which first launched in Malaysia in 2017. Its ice cream uses nut milks instead of regular cow's milk as a base. They also avoid the use of refined sugar, preservatives, additives, artificial colours or flavours. For instance, the Sea Salt Caramel is made with dates instead of toffee.
The label for each item, be it ice cream or baked goods on offer, also helpfully highlights main ingredients and possible allergens.
Even the cones come in healthier options: you can choose between a light, crispy vegan wholemeal cone (additional $0.60) or the slightly sweeter, gluten-free cone made from almond and flax seed (additional $1).
I find my gluten-free cone slightly brittle, not as solid as regular wafer cones made with flour. It threatens to break, but thankfully stays intact.
There is also the delightful surprise of the chocolate-filled pointy end of the cone, just like the Cornetto cones from my childhood.
Befitting the kid-friendly mall it is located in, the ice cream parlour even has a dedicated activity space outside for kids to play and colour.
Child or not, a guilt-free midday ice cream cone on a sweltering afternoon is sure to hit the spot.
B1-27, Forum The Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Rd; open daily from 10am to 10pm; tel: 9010-8557 or go to facebook.com/kindkonesSG or instagram.com/kindkones_sg
Rating: 4 stars