The temperature app on my phone reflects a horrific 40°C reading for the day with 70% humidity and 0% chance of rain. I don’t even bat an eye anymore because at this point, I am convinced we are all actually dead and already in hell. Nothing could make suffering through this heat worth it — except maybe a scoop of gelato (or two, or three).
Truth be told, I am not the kind of person that needs a reason to get some ice cream. Still, the Manila heat is always a good excuse to escape into cooler pastures with sweet treats.
(Related: 10 Ice Cream Spots That Will Keep You Cool)
Southern Dairy’s Donut Ice Cream sandwich (Php165)
If the heat is bothering you, too, check out Southern Dairy Homemade Gelato + Kitchen, whose specialty should be pretty obvious from the name alone. The range of frozen desserts on offer have all been meticulously created, then tried and tested to perfection by Southern Dairy’s resident gelato aficionado and owner herself. Whether you play it safe by trying a out scoop of vanilla cookie dough or taking a chance with their fire-toasted gelato, there’s no way to go wrong here.
Even seemingly simple themes like mint chocolate or caramel are transformed into subtly sublime flavours that dance on the tongue. Their chocochip and mint marries a dark chocolate base that’s just rich enough to balance the cool sweetness of the mint, while their caramel popcorn surprises with bitter undertones and a wonderfully contrasting crunch.
Southern Dairy’s gelato goes for Php90 per cup/cone
The velvety concoctions dreamed up in their kitchens are reminiscent of childhood favourites, only these are taken up a notch. Familiar iterations of strawberry and chocolate are revamped with the creaminess of fresh gelato and homemade sauces (their thick fudge holds a top spot in my list of guilty pleasures). Their striking parfaits are a play on ‘retro’ desserts like s’mores and banana cream pie, making them relevant once more.
(Related: 9 Places for Unique Dessert Option in BF Homes) from left to right: Banana Cream Pie parfait, Strawberry Sundae, S’mores Parfait (Php195 each)
While they do dessert so right, though, their savoury items are not to be discounted. I’ll admit: I came in because of the ice cream, but I stayed for the rest. Each dish we tried had us stuffing our mouths full, claiming each one to be our favourite until the next one was tasted and savoured.
from top left: Double Bacon Cheeseburger (Php265), Tapsilog (Php270), Parmesan Fries (Php100), Aglio Olio w/ Baked Salmon (Php 210), French Toast w/ Egg and Sausage (Php200), Kimchi Fried Rice w/ Egg and Spam cubes (Php205)
The addictive syrup served alongside their French toast had me hoarding the plate until the salty spam and spicy kick of the kimchi rice convinced me to trade. The understated pasta sauce paired with the perfectly baked salmon worked to highlight the best of each component and had me coming back for forkfuls throughout the meal.
The extra space in their second location on Aguirre means extra space on their menu, which means we needed to make extra space in our stomachs. Missing out on their double bacon cheese burger would be a travesty when their bacon is fried to crisped perfection and their patties are a delectable culmination of their own beef blend and spices. The tapsilog is the crowd favourite we all know and love, tempting your tastebuds until all traces are gone, while the parmesan fries vanish in an instant on the table.
The only problem we had with Southern Dairy was our self-control. Everything had our appetites so excited that it left us in a stupor, full to the point of bursting but still wishing we had room for more. I left the restaurant already planning a return trip and looking forward to trying everything else.