Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream is a real Filipino treat
08 September, 2017 — By Tom Moggach
Florence Maglanoc helped to create the concept behind new ice cream parlour Mamasons
Whip out your smartphone before sampling the ice cream at Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream, a thrilling new opening on Kentish Town Road.
This is food for the Instagram generation, designed to be visually striking as well as bold in flavour. Scoops of purple ice cream, made with yam, are carefully placed on jet black cones. Ingredients are fresh and unusual, including kalamansi (a type of citrus fruit) and guyabano (a.k.a. soursop).
Mamasons – pronounced “Mamma-Suns” – is chef Omar Shah’s twist on Filipino ice cream culture.
His mum hails from the Philippines and his father from Bangladesh. “We always try to do something a bit different,” he says. “I don’t like the word fusion. I grew up in a multicultural environment.”
This new concept was created with the help of partner Florence Maglanoc, one of the young team that runs both Mamasons and Bintang restaurant next door.
Mamasons is a breath of fresh air in a city prone to flimsy food fads. What’s more, the idea was brought to life with great style on a modest budget – a far cry from more lavish, but soulless, West End openings.
Mamasons takes inspiration from the ice cream hawkers of the Philippines. The décor hints at this heritage – the counter is made of sheets of metal, reflecting the ad-hoc ice cream carts. There are a few seats arranged around marble-topped tables and the walls are decorated with reclaimed tiles and bespoke pink velour wallpaper, printed with tropical palms.
The menu includes around half a dozen flavours, all churned on site in small batches. Other treats include the Bilog, a milk bun filled with a scoop of ice cream then toasted and dusted with icing sugar, and kalamansi lemonade. You can also choose milkshakes such as the Halo Halo, made with shaved ice, and coffees brewed using the Barako bean, a rare variety from the Philippines.
Taken together, there is plenty to tempt. Just two months old, Mamasons is already buzzing and a favourite destination for London’s disparate Filipino community.
Plans for the winter include a range of baked goods, such as the Ensyemada, a sweet brioche with butter icing and cheese.
If you want a full meal, pop into Bintang next door. This much-loved restaurant is where Shah grew up and will celebrate its 30th birthday this year. The food defies easy categorization, but is reliably good. (Their best stab is Filipino-Pan-Asian.)
Back in Mamasons, I guarantee you’ll see customers taking pictures of their ice cream.
“Initially, I didn’t like it,” admits Shah. “I hated the fact that people just don’t get down to it and eat it. But it’s something you can’t stop. You have to embrace it.”
Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream
91 Kentish Town Road, NW1
Closed on Mondays