x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Sub Zero blasts frozen treats to new heights

Sub Zero is a new ice cream parlour that lets you customise your ice cream, then watch it quick-freeze under a blast of liquid nitrogen before slurping it up.

At Sub Zero, customers can pick ingredients and see them turn into ice cream when hit with liquid nitrogen. Courtesy Sub Zero
At Sub Zero, customers can pick ingredients and see them turn into ice cream when hit with liquid nitrogen. Courtesy Sub Zero

It is ice cream and a show.

Opening today in Abu Dhabi Mall, the new ice-cream parlour Sub Zero lets you customise your ice cream, then watch it quick-freeze under a blast of liquid nitrogen before slurping it up.

When Mohanad Hendi, The Gourmet Company’s general manager, who was born and raised in Abu Dhabi, discovered Sub Zero in the US, he knew it would be a hit in the UAE.

“Our aim is really to bring innovative concepts to the region,” he says. “We want to introduce concepts that do not exist here.”

Liquid nitrogen has a wide range of uses, including the protection of historical documents and the long-term freezing of human cells. And it could change the way ice-cream enthusiasts in the UAE think about their beloved frozen treat. With a temperature of -196 °C, it turns milk and sugar into ice cream in about 10 seconds.

When Hendi first tried it, it was “like love from the first sight”.

“It was unbelievable. I’d never tasted something like this before. The milk molecules stay small and the water molecules don’t have time to become ice. That’s why we’re unique. The ice cream is extremely smooth and creamy, unlike the other ice creams that you have on the market.”

There is no limit to what customers can create. First, pick a base – milk, soy, non-dairy, yogurt or custard. Then choose any combination from nearly 50 flavours – from banana and brownie batter to watermelon and white chocolate. Next, select from more than 30 mix-ins, such as almonds, cookie dough and peaches. Finally, watch as your unique creation is hit with a blast of liquid nitrogen and turned into ready-to-eat ice cream. The vapour that surrounds the bowl as the ice cream freezes adds to the show (although it’s only water condensing).

Hendi says Sub Zero welcomes customer input for new flavours and that new weekly and monthly flavours will ensure customers come back for more. “Every time you walk in, there’ll be something new you’ll want to try. We’re going to keep it exciting.”

This definitely is one for children (and the child in you) – the science lesson alone is worth the trip, never mind the ice cream they’ll get to eat afterwards.

• Sub Zero is on level three of Abu Dhabi Mall. A second location is planned for Deerfields Townsquare

* Stacie Overton Johnson

artslife@thenational.ae

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