Unframed ice cream shop, with branches on Kloof Street, the Food Market in the Waterfront, and in Woodstock, has been named by Big 7 Travel as the world’s ‘Best Ice Cream Parlour’! It beat 49 other ice cream shops from around the world to win this title, proving yet again that Cape Town is the gourmet capital of our country, as well as of Africa, Unframed being the only ice cream shop in Africa making the list of top 50.
At the time of the first branch opening in 2016, in Kloof Street, I wrote in the headline that Unframed serves the best ice cream in Cape Town:
In its accolade to Unframed, Big 7 Travel wrote:
’Unframed is an artisanal ice cream maker, which means they make healthy ice cream from scratch, in small batches, from real and sustainable food. There’s always vegan flavours available and the “Blue Coconut” made with Blue Spirulina is famous for good reason.
Their ice creams are extraordinary, made with passion and truly unique in their flavour and just how rich they taste. When it comes to the best ice cream parlours in the world, it truly doesn’t get much better than this’.
The Top 50 Best Ice Cream Parlour in the World list includes a wide spread of cities across the globe. The USA leads the list, with four ice cream shops on the list; followed by India, the UK, and Italy, with three ice cream shops each; and Japan, Canada, Hong Kong, and Australia having two ice cream parlours each on the list. Some of the ice creams these ice cream shops create are works of art, Milkcow Café in Vancouver in Canada being the most unique in serving ice cream on a slice of watermelon, while the colossal squid ice cream must be the most bizarre one on the list, offered at Giapo in Auckland in New Zealand.
Unframed was founded by Yannick Rey, a Frenchman traveling between Cape Town, New York, and France. This is what I wrote after visiting the ice cream shop on Kloof Street after it opened and followed up by a subsequent visit to meet owner Yann, and of course by many subsequent visits when I am at the bottom end of Kloof Street, being in close walking distance from the Labia cinema.
‘Cape Town has just upped its food game, with the opening of the new artisanal Unframed Ice Cream Parlour on Kloof Street. The taste of the twelve flavours is sensational, and the unique flavour range is impressive!
Unframed is owned by Frenchman Yann Rey, who has brought his ice cream artistry to Cape Town. Yann fell in love with Cape Town when he visited our city, and left his investment banking job in New York to invest locally by following his dream. Unfortunately he was out, attending a meeting elsewhere, when I visited yesterday. Friendly Mazvita explained the ice cream flavours, and filled me in on those that were not labelled.
Four of the flavours are vegan, made with coconut cream and coconut milk. Vegan options are Matcha Tea (photograph), Jasmine Rice Lemongrass, Chocolate, and Lime and Banana.
Other Unframed flavours are Sea Salt Chocolate (photograph left), Burnt White Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Nuttikrust (my favourite, tasting like the biscuit it is named after and like Spekulaas), Lime Lemon Basil sorbet, Tahini Chocolate, Banana, and Vanilla.
The ice creams are made in-house, in a ‘kitchen’ (the Lab, Yann corrected me telephonically) behind the serving station. Only the waffle cones are not made in-house, but are vegan. One can order toppings, of superfoods, caramelised cashews, cookie crunch, and caramel macadamia, each costing R12. Sauces currently are Dirty Sea Salt Caramel, and Pink Praline, each costing R8.
One (generous) scoop costs R32, two costs R54, three costs R65, and a Tasting Flight of five flavours costs R75. I tried the Tasting Flight, and chose the flavours Vegan Matcha Tea, Vanilla (these two flavours in the photograph on the right), Nuttikrust, Tahini Chocolate, and Sea Salt Chocolate (these three flavours in the photograph on the left). I had to take the Flight home as a take-away, it being so filling.
I hope to meet Yann, and will add feedback to this blogpost when I have done so.
Exterior branding is non-existent. Unframed is next to Molten coffee shop, and opposite Spar on Kloof Street. There is no seating, and I felt bad sitting at a Molten table outside, although the two businesses appear to have a good relatrionship.
Interview with Yann
After posting this review, I was able to contact Yann, and arrange
an interview with him for early this afternoon. We chatted in the Lab (and not the ‘kitchen’ as I had referred to it above), to reflect the scientific manner of their artisanal ice cream production.
Yann is only 32 years old, and grew up in Lyon. He wanted to become a chef initially, he told me. He studied Engineering and Finance in Lyon and in Paris, and moved to New York, where he became an investment banker. He gave up on the career, quit his job, and went on a long trip around the world, which included in its second year Cape Town, at the beginning of last year. The kitesurfing attracted him to the city, but he also saw the opportunity to make his dream of an artisanal Ice Cream Parlour come true, being a lover of ice cream.
He teamed up with Stephane Auge, an ice cream craftsman who has won an award for best ice cream craftsmanship in France, with whom Yann creates the exciting flavours, engineering recipes, which are then applied in Cape Town, with the recipes and temperatures tweaked locally. He explained that the science of ice cream consists of air, water, fat (milk and cream), and sugar, and finding the right balance between these four elements creates the perfect ice cream. Yann says that Unframed’s ice cream is superior to any other local ice cream, for a number of reasons:
# The ice cream is created more scientifically
# No eggs are used, as they tend to make ice cream heavier, and influence the flavours of the ice cream
# They use the best equipment, a Carpigiani machine from Italy. The ice cream is temperature controlled in the serving units, at -13C.
# They source the best ingredients, for example their cream is Elle & Vire from France, and they use imported Valrhona chocolate, creating higher input costs, and therefore their prices are higher compared to other local artisanal ice cream. I was impressed that the tasting cups and flight tasting ‘plates’ are biodegradable, made from sugar cane pulp, while their spoons are made from compostable plastic.
# Unframed offers the most diverse and unusual elegant flavours.
Michael Chandler from Chandler House with Laura Kawitsky did the interior design, with a partner. Next week the words ‘Ice Cream Artistry’ will go up above their outlet. Then Yann will work on seating a little higher up on their block. His plan is to grow the Unframed brand slowly, through word of mouth.
Yann’s management style is one of delegation and empowerment, and he is planning to appoint a local management team, which will enable him to travel between New York, Cape Town, and France. But he is adamant that he is not planning to become the ‘Haagen Dazs of the world‘.
We tasted the newest flavours created this morning, the Lime Lemon and Basil sorbet, which had a more pronounced basil taste compared to the version which I had tried yesterday; and then a hazelnut and almond ice cream, tasting deliciously like Nutella and Ferrero Rocher chocolates.
I asked Yann about the origin of the brand name, and he explained that they had initially thought of opening an art gallery with an ice cream parlour. This led to the Unframed name, denoting that they do things differently, Yann bringing a different angle to the business, its products, and its marketing. Interesting news is that Yann is talking to local restaurants, for them to use his ice creams in their dishes!’
Unframed Ice Cream Parlour, 45C Kloof Street, Cape Town. Tel 063 601 0287. Facebook. Instagram: @lifeunframed Monday – Sunday 11h00 – 23h00
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chrissy_ Ulmenstein