Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 July 2019

What does charcoal and 23-carat gold-flavoured ice cream taste like?

At Dh99 it's an indulgent treat, but one that will look great on your Instagram

A blend of charcoal and 23-carat gold sounds like an unlikely combination, especially as an ice cream flavour, but one that I'm very eager to try when offered a scoop.

You will find the unusual frozen blend in question at Scoopi Cafe on Dubai's Jumeirah Street. Jet-black activated charcoal ice cream, topped with 23-carat gold leaf. It certainly makes for a picture-perfect sweet treat.

Watch us try it out in the video above.

Edible Charcoal with 23 carat Gold ice cream from Scoopi. Courtesy Scoopi
Edible Charcoal with 23 carat Gold ice cream from Scoopi. Courtesy Scoopi

But what does it taste like?

A solitary scoop is presented to me, and I have zero taste expectations. I mean, what do charcoal and gold taste like?

Despite not knowing what I was in for, the flavour still comes as a surprise. Perhaps because of the colour, which I think my brain may have subconsciously associated with a burnt taste, I was expecting something almost savoury. Instead, my taste buds are greeted by a very fruity, citrus combination.

"That will be the lemon and blueberry flavours," we are told by Zubin Doshi, the founder of Scoopi.

The spoon breaks up the gold leaf, resulting in glistening flakes on every bite. While the gold adds nothing to the taste, it certainly makes a visual impact.

Founder of Scoopi Ice cream cafe, Jumeirah Beach road, Dubai, Zubin Doshi . Anna Nielsen for the National
Scoopi Cafe was founded in 2014 by Zubin Doshi. He describes himself as 'Founder and Scoop Master'. Anna Nielsen / The National

I was also expecting the charcoal to give the ice cream a gritty texture, but that is far from the case. It is in fact incredibly smooth, the result of three months' worth of research and flavour experiments, Doshi tells us.

I should add, it's not a dessert to have on a first, second or third date, as it left us with black teeth that would make a cartoon pirate proud. It's also worth noting that activated charcoal has a lot of health benefits; it's detoxifying and offers digestive relief, as well as improved heart health – to name just three.

At Dh99 per scoop, it isn't a cheap after dinner treat, but it will certainly look great on your Instagram feed, if you do try it.

An experimental cafe

Every scoop served at Scoopi is made to order, using liquid nitrogen. There is a freezer full of flavours to sample, and when you have made your selection, your ice cream will be frozen before your eyes in a cloud of white smoke.

Doshi estimates that the cafe goes through 70 to 80 litres of liquid nitrogen a day.

Scoopi Ice cream cafe, Jumeirah Beach road, Dubai. Founded in 2014. Here a member of staff: Azad Sonu prepares an ice cream with the owner Zunin Doshi. Anna Nielsen for the National
Azad Sonu prepares an ice cream with the owner Zunin Doshi at Scoopi Cafe. Anna Nielsen / The National

Some of the more experimental flavours include pistachio and saffron, paan, olive oil, rose and chilli, black truffle and kacha keri. Future flavour ideas include a guacamole ice cream, with chocolate nachos.

They aren't all left-field options, however. The menu also features Nutella, lemon sorbet, strawberry cheesecake and mango passion fruit.

Scoopi is the same cafe that made headlines in 2015 for serving Dubai's most expensive ice cream, a Dh2,999 sundae called the Black Diamond.

The dessert is made with Madagascan vanilla bean ice cream, saffron, Italian black truffles and, you guessed it, edible 23-carat gold, and is served in a Versace bowl (which you get to keep).

The menu seems to be constantly evolving. New additions, which come in at around Dh2,969 less than the Black Diamond, include a range of waffles to serve with scoops of ice cream.

Scoopi Ice cream cafe, Jumeirah Beach road, Dubai. Founded in 2014 by Zubin Doshi. Anna Nielsen for the National
The Oreo blast from Scoopi Cafe on Jumeirah Road, Dubai. Anna Nielsen / The National

Having tasted a good few of the sweets, the bubble waffle topped with scoops of ice cream, and the Oreo blast – liquid nitrogen-frozen marshmallow with Oreo atop vanilla ice cream – are two of the menu's highlights.

Other new menu items are the mini pancakes, waffle fries, crepes, waffle lollies, and a low-fat yoghurt and berry recipe.

Updated: April 7, 2019 04:30 PM

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