Marine Ices – Camden Town/Chalk Farm

Reviewed on August 22nd, 2014 by Dina

For all you gelato enthusiasts, such as ourselves, it is a relief to know that the institution that is Marine Ices is not closing down. Instead it is moving to a new location, just down the road, with the shop front marked by the beautiful wisteria tree!

The new branch of Marine Ices is concentrating on what it does best: gelato, sorbets, sundaes, milkshakes, sauces and toppings! Coming to Marine Ices makes you feel like a kid in a sweet shop! The range of ice cream flavours displayed in the front counter makes you spoilt for choice. So much so that the only solution that worked for myself is by letting the staff choose.

Marine Ices CounterMarine Ices DisplayMarine Ices Counter 2Marine IcesMarine Ices InteriorMarine Ices Cones and Tubs

Creamy gelatos and fruity sorbets make a good combination. It is difficult to choose a favourite but there a few that do stand out. Dark Chocolate with Pieces is not too rich and has the right level of sweetness. The Mint Choc Chip gives that intense hit of fresh mint. The simple Coffee and Strawberry flavours are done perfectly. These are just a snapshot of what Marine Ices has to offer and from past experience, other flavours that have been had have always impressed.

As for sorbets, the ones that stand out are the Mango and the Raspberry. The Raspberry is not too sour or tart and come to think of it, it would go well with the Dark Chocolate gelato. The Mango is delicious and the reason for this is that the king of mangoes, the Alphonso, is used to make it!

Marine Ices is proud to source local ingredients and to support other local businesses. Hence, the coffee that they serve is from Black Sheep from Camden High Street.

Something that has made me look forward to return to Marine Ices (not that I need an excuse) is to try the cakes and cookies. These are supplied from the artisan bakery Galeta. The one that I am looking forward to trying is the fruit Pastel de Nata; the Portuguese egg custard tart.

Friendly staff at Marine Ices greet you and allow you the time to choose your order. They are happy to make flavour suggestions and combinations too. It is refreshing to know that hygiene is top of the list with Marine Ices. All of their products, including the cakes and cookies will be displayed covered in transparent containers.

Marine Ices has some seating area at the back of the cafe or you can have your gelato delights to take away. In our eyes, we are happy that Marine Ices is staying in Camden to serve its customers with its sweet treats. It has been around for 83 years and let’s hope that it continues for many more!

To end the post, in Fabiano’s (the manager) own words:

“All our gelati and sorbets are made to the original recipes that Gaetano Mansi brought with him from Italy as a young man. Those same recipes that have been passed down through the generations, we don’t let any artificial ingredients near them. Everything is completely natural and free from any animal products ensuring that all our produce today have a mouth wateringly authentic flavour”.

Marine Ices, Old Dairy Farm, 61A Chalk Farm Road, Camden, London, NW1 8AN

Rating: ★★★★★

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Spice and Rice – Chalk Farm

Reviewed on August 22nd, 2012 by Dina

Spice and Rice is about a ten minute walk from Chalk Farm tube station, but don’t let that put you off! This restaurant is nicely decorated, clean and has friendly staff. There are a couple of cosy seats by the entrance as well as the regular dining area.

Both the starters of spring rolls and corn cakes came as a portion of two, with some salad, a few prawn crackers and a dipping sauce. The spring rolls were served piping hot and were generously filled with vegetables and noodles. They were real tasty and went well with the sweet chilli dip.

The corn cakes were slightly dry but still tasted good. These came with sweet chilli sauce and ground peanuts.

Spice and RiceSpice and Rice Spring RollsSpice and Rice InteriorSpice and Rice Corn CakesSpice and Rice Keaw Wan Green CurrySpice and Rice Bananas in Coconut Cream

On the menu at Spice and Rice, the Keaw Wan Curry was described as a creamy green curry with eggplant. This green curry did have lots of vegetables which was great! The more vegetables, the better in my opinion! There were plenty of carrots, bamboo shoots, green beans, red and yellow peppers and broccoli but unfortunately there was no eggplant. It also had good sized chucks of tofu as I had the vegetarian option.

The Keaw Wan curry was lovely and creamy due to the coconut milk. It was slightly spicier than I thought it would be, as I had asked for it to be made mild. But it was still delicious!

The Kang Ped red curry that my friend had was exactly the same as the green curry in terms of the vegetables, portion size and presentation. But as expected, the red curry was spicier as it was made with red curry paste. Both curries came in a separate bowl with a dome of rice on the side!

There was room for some dessert and some fruit was in order! We chose the banana in coconut cream. After we ordered this, our waitress went out of the restaurant. I jokingly said to my friend, “Do you think the waitress has gone out to buy the bananas for our dessert”. This actually turned out to be true; the waitress came back with the bananas! It was good to know that the fruit was fresh.

There were big pieces of banana in warm coconut cream. It went perfectly together and made a change to ice cream. Looking at the menu later, it stated that this dessert could have been served with ice cream but the waitress did not give us this option. The whole dish could have been even nicer with the ice cream, with the contrast of the hot and cold!

All in all, Spice and Rice is a great Thai restaurant. The staff are lovely and do give service with a smile. One thing to note is that if you try to make a reservation, then it is best to call them in the evening as the restaurant is closed during the day. I had tried several times to call in the daytime but couldn’t get through. I’m glad that we were able to get a table that evening without a reservation.

Spice and Rice was quiet when we first arrived but that was due to it being early evening. The place did get a lot busier as the evening went on! Again, we were the last diners to leave, even though we had been the first to arrive. The staff did not rush us at any point and a nice touch was when we were given mint chocolates at the end of our evening!

Spice and Rice, 20 Malden Road, Chalk Farm, London, NW5 3HN

Rating: ★★★★½

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Square Meal

La Porchetta – Camden Town/Chalk Farm

Reviewed on September 24th, 2010 by Dina

La Porchetta is a great Italian restaurant! I have always just had pizza at this restaurant, but this time, as I was with my brother, we also decided to sample some of their starter dishes!

The Funghi Ripieni reminded me of a Spanish tapas dish, just because it was served in a little clay pot! This starter of stuffed mushrooms was lovely and it was in a rich tomato sauce. I’m not too sure what the mushrooms were stuffed with but they were very tasty!

The deep fried calamari was another good starter. The rings of calamari were not greasy and went well with the tartare sauce and the sweet chilli sauce!

Now onto La Porchetta’s pizzas! The Vegetariana pizza was a tomato based pizza. It said on the menu that it had mixed vegetables for the topping, so I wasn’t sure which vegetables I would be getting! The pizza did not disappoint. It was generously topped with spinach, olives, artichokes, and peppers.