When it comes to ice cream concepts, we’re always game for testing.
Most recently, this took us to Pelham, where the new Cream and Cones Ice Cream Lounge offers rolled ice cream. It’s the first brick and mortar rolled ice cream in the Birmingham Metro area. (There is a pop up with a similar concept, but we haven’t tried that yet.)
So on a recent Wednesday afternoon we (Editor E and Foodie Jr.) drove down Highway 31 to the new shop. Located in a strip mall with a personal trainer (look away, personal trainer) and a cake shop/Italian takeaway (note for next visit) Cream and Cones opened its doors last month.
A derivation of Thai style ice cream, rolled ice cream made by pouring a mixture that freezes when it hits a frozen, stainless steel surface. The rolls are made by using a spatula to shape the freezing mixture. Toppings are mixed in and the flat ice cream is shaped into a roll.
Thai style rolled ice cream has taken off around the U.S. (Both Hunstville and Atlanta have offerings.) So Kash Rojani and his sister Kim, seeing an opportunity, jumped on it. The Los Angeles natives who have called Birmingham home for more than a decade opened the 2,000 square foot shop, which is designed to be more than a shop, but a lounge. But more on that in a moment.
First, the offerings: Cream and Cones offers 36 flavors of traditional scooped ice cream, milkshakes, mocktails, and specialty sundaes. Kash said he intentionally created a large menu so there’s something for everyone (aka: even if rolled ice cream isn’t your thing, something else on the menu might be).
And though Kash, whose family runs gas stations, looked at various franchises he felt strongly about opening an independent store so he could have more control over the offerings. Kash experiments with recipes himself, testing them on his family and friends. “They will tell me when something doesn’t work,” he says.
We, like the other people in the shop that day, were there for the rolls. This is how it works: you pick from one of five base flavors: vanilla, chocolate, mixed berry, black charcoal (like a dark chocolate) and rose (made with rose syrup). Then you choose your mix in. There are about 30 combinations. Think: LaLa Land (Twinkies mixed in), Pieology (Pecan Pie mix in), Peanut Butter (made with Reese’s or Butter Finger) or Wake up (Fruit Loops mix in).
Staff pour the base on to the stainless steel surface, adding in ingredients and then shaping the freezing mixture into rolls. The whole process takes about three to five minutes and is mesmerizing.
Foodie Jr. ordered the Cookie Monster, made with regular and mini Oreos, with a vanilla base. Editor E ordered Love in Paris, made with Ferrero Rocher and Nutella or Kit Kat and with a chocolate base. Obviously Nutella was chosen because it’s the best substance known to man. (And a key ingredient in many of the rolled ice cream mixes at Cream and Cones. We approve.)
Rolls are gently placed into a cup — five to a cup. You can order toppings to finish the deal.
One of us (the adult) was very excited about the step and repeat backdrop in the shop, which allowed us to photograph ourselves like we were on the red carpet with rolled ice cream. It was in that process we realized that the rolls, though they look like bread or pastery folded in that cup, are ice cream and do melt. So pro tip: shoot your ice cream quickly!
The flavors are robust and fun. Kash said he intentionally chose recognizable favorites as ingredients, including candy and cookies people know and love. The ice cream-sweet ratio was delightful, and both of us loved digging into this new form of the frozen treat. Portions are large: two people could easily split one cup.
Kash says that he’s constantly experimenting with new combinations and flavors, and not just for the rolled ice cream. They recently debuted a doughnut ice cream burger, which features scoops of ice cream between two glazed doughnuts. The cotton candy ice cream burrito is exactly what it sounds like: a burrito of ice cream. Dreams do come true.
Photos of the creations line the walls at the lounge. “Many ice cream shops don’t have much of a seating area,” Kash says. “I intentionally wanted to create a place where families could come and hang out. There aren’t a lot of places locally for families to go at night and just spend time together. So I decided to make a lounge.” To that, Cream and Cones has ample seating, a leather couch, and stacks of board games. Here the goal is for people to stay.
We like that. For us, having another local destination where we can share an experience as a family is a plus. We can see Cream and Cones being the kind of place where our friends from across the Birmingham area head for the experience too.
Just don’t spend too much time standing on that red carpet. Ice cream, in any form, does melt.
Cream and Cones Ice Cream Lounge is located at 2152B Pelham Parkway, Pelham, 35124. They are open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (205) 848-8383