A street vendor churning a long stretchy mass was someone we encountered in Shinsaibashi in Osaka during 2011. The signage suggested the mass was Turkish ice cream, or dondurma, but none of the hoards of people walking past were interested in what he was selling, and so neither were we.
I’d forgotten all about this encounter until four and a half years, later, when Hakiki Turkish Ice Cream popped up in Newtown as being the new place for trying chewy ice cream, or dondurma.
They specialise in dondurma and baklava. I first visited on a 40 degree day back in January — the kind where you sweat just by being outside — so only the dondurma was on my mind.
They have many Turkish influenced flavours with pomegranate, baklava, grape molasses and tahini, turkish delight, as well as your more standard flavours like cacao, raspberry and strawberry, watermelon and strawberry.
On my first visit with H and K, I get the baklava and watermelon and strawberry in a medium cup ($6). I’d heard good things about the baklava and was suitably impressed. It’s a honey based ice cream with bits of filo pastry and nuts throughout. The layers of filo pastry give an addictive crispness to the chewiness of the ice cream. Even on a hot day, I found the creaminess of the ice cream refreshing and not too heavy. But perhaps that was helped by the refreshing watermelon and strawberry gelato. Compared to the baklava, the watermelon and strawberry was chewier — the chewiness is addictive!
On my second visit with D, N, T and DT, we get the bowl with five flavours ($13). It was the better option with 5 of us, with a small cup being $4.50.
Our five flavours were turkish delight, watermelon and strawberry, burnt caramel, tahini and grape molasses and baklava. I’ve already tried the watermelon and strawberry and baklava so –
- Turkish delight (top) is a beautiful pastel pink with a subtle, but genuine and pleasant rose flavour. They sell rose water at the store, so I can only imagine that they achieve this flavour with it.
- Burnt caramel (bottom left) is a vanilla based ice cream with ribbons of burnt caramel throughout. It was recommended as a flavour you can’t go past and while nice, it was the least interesting of the flavours.
- Tahini and grape molasses (bottom right) is a sesame based ice cream with ribbons of grape molasses throughout. It has a beautiful nutty flavour with hints of sweet grape flavour akin to the taste of balsamic vinegar. H and I don’t usually see eye to eye on foods, but we both agree that this is a winner.
Without the heat clouding my brain during my second visit, I remembered to try their baklava. This is the pistachio baklava. It was generous with nuts but tasted a bit too dense with the filo.
And, of course, N and I try their turkish apple tea. It’s a tea that’s equal parts sour and sweet in its apple flavour and its sourness is intensified here by the accompanying ice cream.
D and T opt instead for a Turkish coffee. We were a bit confused as to how to drink this coffee, so the waitress kindly explains that you drink water to cleanse your palate, then sip the coffee, and take bites of the turkish delight to sweeten the taste of the coffee. Importantly (although T does not heed to this part), it’s an unfiltered coffee so you don’t drink the sludge at the bottom.
The first sips of the coffee weren’t all that pleasant — it was intensely gritty, like muddy water. But after letting it settle for a few minutes, it was a pleasant black coffee. That said, though, we’d still prefer it filtered.
Hakiki could easily become a regular haunt if it weren’t so far away. But, dondurma may be just the ice cream for hot Australian summers with its a higher resistance to melting than ordinary ice creams that do not use salep and mastic.
Haiki Turkish Ice Cream is at 1/63 – 71 Enmore Rd, Newtown NSW 2042