London has no shortage of great ice cream, but that doesn’t always guarantee a great sundae.
Sometimes the best gelaterias are just too purist about their ice cream to properly sully it with wild excess the way a good sundae demands you do.
Lightness of touch and delicacy of flavour's a great thing when you’re after an unadorned scoop of artisan fennel-seed gelato.
For a sundae, though, you need a lavishness of spirit and a No-Tomorrows attitude to how much dairy, chocolate or sugar one person can handle.
With that in mind, here's a guide to London's best ice cream sundaes on offer right now.
The Hot Paklava Meltdown at Persepolis
This Persian grocery shop has a tiny, vegetarian café set up in between the shelves of Middle Eastern spices.
Resist the call of the Saffron Banana Split, although it's hard to do. Shun the Turkish Delight Sundae — layers of ice cream, pistachio and rose Turkish delight, topped with rose petals.
The real star of the menu is the Hot Paklava Meltdown. 'Evil in a sundae glass', as described by owner Sally Butcher, this is layers of hot baklava, kaymak (a clotted Turkish yoghurt) and ice cream — the challenge being to get through the sundae before the baklava melt it to a creamy syrup. Like all the food at Persepolis these are ridiculously good-value — the sundaes are £3.50 each, and the Knickerbocker Glory and Hot Paklava Meltdown can both be vegan on request.
Persepolis, 28-30 Peckham High Street, SE15 5DT.
The Honeycomb Sundae at Bird
Better known for their doughnuts, Bird do offer one sundae as well. Just one, but you can see why they thought that was enough — it’s a honeycomb-laced, sweet and crunchy crowd-pleaser.
Bird, 42-44 Kingsland Road, E2 8DA. See website for other locations.
The Oreo Cookie Chocolate Sundae at Creams Café
It's a universal truth that all Oreo cookie spin-offs are much, much better than actual Oreo cookies.
The Creams Oreo sundae is no exception, starting with an Oreo cookie base and layering cookies-and-cream ice cream, vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup on top. Laced with crumbled Oreo cookie. Topped with sprinklings of crushed Oreo cookie. Garnished with? An Oreo cookie. They know how to stick to a theme at Creams.
Creams Café, 560-564 Kingsland Road, E8 4AH. See website for other locations.
The Peanut Butter & Toffee Sundae at the Draft House
This is a self-explanatory sundae, as rich and dense as it sounds. Also, roughly the size of the EU dairy mountain; the menu says, defeatistly, "you might need two spoons". We can confirm: not if you really apply yourself.
Open all day, it’s still better to hit the Draft House for an evening sundae so that you can fall asleep in an acceptable place when the sugar crash hits two hours later.
For those two hours in between, you'll essentially be Lord Flashheart from Blackadder: an exuberant, charismatic god with a suspiciously sticky face and zero awareness of social boundaries.
The Draft House, Mews Unit, The Bower, 211 Old Street, EC1V 9NR. See website for other locations.
The Knickerbocker Glory at Morelli's Gelato
The Knickerbocker Glory at Morelli's is as retro as you'd hope for from an ice cream dynasty reaching back to 1907 — the Morelli family has been selling homemade gelato for more than a century, and opened their first seaside parlour in 1932.
Their sundae menu is long and elaborate, but for an old-school, seaside classic you can’t beat the Glory. Hard to tell if what you’re feeling when you scrape up the last spoonfuls is the weight of tradition, or the kilo of cream, strawberries and syrup you've just eaten.
Morelli’s Gelato, 20A The Market, The Piazza, Covent Garden, WC2E 8RB.
The Matcha Sundae at Tombo Café
This is a divisive entry. A mash-up of matcha ice cream, azuki paste, date syrup and granola sounds less like a sundae than it does like a Prêt breakfast pot, despite a token amount of (matcha) brownie in there.
It doesn’t taste spartan though. And the nu-rave green of the ice cream’s appealingly weird, like snacking on cartoon ectoplasm.
Whether or not you can get past the fact that it might actually be doing you some good, we leave up to the individual conscience.
Tombo Café, 29 Thurloe Place, SW7 2HQ.
Endless Love at Motown
Most of the sundaes on the menu at this small dessert bar are ornate and chocolatey — there’s more Ferrero Rocher in The Temptations sundae than at one of the Ambassador’s parties.
But for something as simple and lovely as its name go for the Endless Love, a red velvet cake, ice cream and cream combination.
Motown, 157 Bethnal Green Road, E2 7DG. See website for other locations.
The Warm Apple Pie Sundae at the Electric Diner
The Electric's hit peak Americana with this Notting Hill diner, all red leather booths and late-night desserts.
Bring your Best Guy or Girl here after a night at the pictures, tell them how swell you think they are and order the Warm Apple Pie Sundae to split. Nothing says ‘I want a white picket fence with you someday’ like layers of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, hot apple and cinnamon.
Electric Diner, 191 Portobello Road, W11 2ED.
Afters in Tooting (and other locations) for the sheer size of their sundae menu — 24 as standard, and the option to bespoke your own.