As “ice-cream” rolled off the imaginary tongue of my mind, thoughts of warm halcyon days arose, equipped with the generic flavoured frozen water we call gelato. Few understand the full potential that ice-cream can have within gastronomy, with notable names such as Heston Blumenthal being one, but it seems Mantovani 1946 also understand that this can truly be an art.
Category: Desserts, Cafe
Chef: Lorenzo Panattoni
Camera: Nikkon D80, Nikkor 50mm lens
Disclaimer: I was invited to review Mantovani 1946. Queue usual blah about how all the opinions are my own (as if anyone would ever admit otherwise).
This understanding of ice-cream as art is perhaps that is the reason for which Mantovani 1946 advertises itself as “artisan gelato”. The parlour is quite a recent addition to Tottenham Court Road, and I remember having seen builders inside in the previous few months.
Mantovani 1946 prides itself with having 90% of materials imported from Italy (even the furniture comes from there), and everything is made fresh downstairs in the kitchen. There is a variety of ice-cream and cakes to cater for all needs, some flavours are vegan (lemon and strawberry at the time), and everything is gluten free.
The queen flavour is certainly the Kingdom of Two Sicilies – pistachio and chocolate with a delicate orange flavour mixed in, crunchy nuts covered in chocolate swirling inside. It shouldn’t be surprising it won the Gelato Festival in Naples in 2015 (Mantovani is a branch of Gelatosita from Italy where they have 10 branches).
The Caramel & Gianduja cake was soft and light, with a chocolate sponge cake base and layers between the caramel cream and the gianduja cream. Elegant presentation, and once more the same delicate sort of flavour which are just perfect for titillating the taste buds without overpowering them.
There is also a selection of delicious biscuits and cannoli siciliani to rival the one at Princi – smaller in size, coated with bitter chocolate on the inside to perfectly balance the sweet, creamy ricotta (a type of sweet cheese). Anca said the coffee was delicious, and, what’s more, they are open until 10 PM!
There is more seating downstairs, and I am told on sunny days there will be tables set out on the pavement outside. The owners – a lovely elderly Italian couple, was sat just behind us at the corner table and were incredibly lovely, as was our host, Fabio, who had excellent knowledge of every flavour and dessert.