As a young and overweight child, nothing excited me more than the arrival of the local funfair. Not because I wanted to go on the rollercoasters, bumper cars or the bouncy castle (which my belly would probably have deflated anyway), but because I wanted to ransack all the stalls selling honeycomb, popcorn, and sticky candy floss. Much to my parents dismay, I would often go to the funfair in the shape of a small boulder, and come home resembling a small planet – (with the gravitational pull to prove it). But, as I’ve grown up (and slimmed down), I’ve developed a great dislike for all things “snacky”. Principally because I find it somewhat irritating to have to eat a tonne of popcorn or candy floss to feel as though I’ve eaten anything at all, and because personally, I’d much rather ruin my teeth with a big cheesecake or two.
Occasionally however, my inner-child rears its (literally) ugly head, and when Milk Train cafe began serving “candy floss cloud ice cream”, it burst through my stomach like the infamous Alien and demanded to be fed. After spending an entire summer watching the frenzy from afar, Steak and I finally made the illogical decision to stop by Milk Train on a chilly Autumn evening.
Milk Train serves up three different flavours of soft serve ice cream (vanilla, matcha, and black sesame), and a wide variety of toppings and special additions to go with them, (including the Insta-famous candy floss cloud). Given that our lives are already pretty vanilla, we opted for a matcha cone with oreo cookie crumbs, and a black sesame cone with salted caramel chips.
As a matcha-maniac, I was pleasantly surprised (and somewhat taken aback) by the incredibly strong, rich and deep flavour of the matcha soft serve, which also possessed a pungent, earthy essence. There had certainly been no skimping with the matcha powder when this soft serve was made, and this was greatly appreciated. However, it really needed a touch more sweetness to bring balance to its concentrated matcha flavour, and if you’re not a die-hard matcha fan, you should be weary, as this particular matcha soft serve can become a little overbearing towards the end of the cone.
Left: Black Sesame with salted caramel chips, Right: Matcha with Oreo
Fortunately, the black sesame was a little more easy-going, with a strong, smooth and slightly nutty flavour. Ultimately however, it was the collection of salted caramel chips that brought the cone to life. The scattered mess of chips provided short, sweet bursts of caramel in between mouthfuls of soft serve, and their crunchy yet sticky texture was truly delightful. As a dentist, I should probably tell you that they’re terrible for your teeth and that you should avoid them at all costs, but as a food-blogger, I cannot allow you to miss out on such a guilty pleasure. Eat them, and eat them now.
Black Sesame with salted caramel chips
Value For Money: 3.5/5
At around £4.50 each, we thought our cones were rather reasonably priced for a gimmicky dessert in Central London, and the size and quantity of soft serve was more than sufficient. (Though we must make a note of the hollow void that ran through the centre of our soft serve swirl. Sneaky, but smart).
The staff at Milk Train are both polite and patient, despite the clear and rather amusing signs that they are completely and utterly bored of everyone’s fascination with their candy floss cones. If you want to grab and go, you can expect to be in and out within a few short minutes, but be sure to grab a few wet wipes on your way out. Believe me, things will get messier than a massacre.
In a city filled with gimmicky, Instagrammable desserts, Milk Train’s soft serve candy floss cones are probably the most gimmicky of them all. They are, quite literally, soft serve candy floss cones, and if we all take a moment to be honest with ourselves, their aesthetic appeal is really the only thing that lures us in. But, beneath their ridiculous candy floss tutus, the actual soft serves are really rather good. Throw in the variety of available toppings and custom additions, and you have all the ammunition you need to make a real mess of your mouth. If you’re suffering from a soft-serve-craving, need a photo to fill your empty Instagram feed, or if you just have a moment to spare, grab a towel and a garden hose, and get your hands sticky at Milk Train cafe.
Milk Train Cafe
Address: 44 Bedford Street, London WC2E