What we were eating turned out to not, in fact, be soft serve ice cream at all!

Summer is in full swing and it feels hot enough out that we could poach eggs just by leaving them in the car, which makes us wanna eat some ice cream. Having a cool, sweet flavor on our tongues helps us forget that we’re sweating and looking ridiculous with our umbrella hats, so when we heard about an ice cream shop that makes soft serve cones as tall as your head, well, we had to try it.

Outside of this particular shop is a picture of said ice cream, showing its cold, creamy point reaching up to the sky as if it were pointing up to heaven itself. It looked at once difficult to eat and delicious, both eccentric and beautiful, so we were excited to go in and try it. But in actual fact, we had no idea what we were signing up to eat.

The home of this breathtaking ice cream is a small shop called Shiroichi, which is just a 10-minute walk from Shibuya Station in Tokyo. Their menu full of heaven-reaching ice creams of all flavors shocked us out of our summer languish and made us ready for something cold and sweet.

They sell original flavors like Milk Coffee and Brown Sugar Syrup, but we decided for a nice, basic, plain vanilla, in a cone and not a cup. It set us back 440 yen (US$4.14), but look at the majesty of what we received in exchange!

Upon seeing it, our hearts did a little happy jig of joy. This is it! It’s exactly what we wanted! It looks just like the picture, so there’s no disappointment in its presentation. Its smooth, velvety texture is offset by the sharpness of its angles, pointed and rigid like a dagger to be used in war. Visually, it’s a work of art.

As we gazed upon its artful exterior, we suddenly began to feel a strange sense of mystery. While looking at the pictures, our first thoughts had been, “It looks like it’ll topple over any minute!” and, “It looks difficult to eat!”. But holding it in our hands, we were surprised to find that it was oddly stable. It felt less like ice cream and more like a solid object.

Now pressed with a desire to know the secret of this mysteriously sword-like swirl of soft-serve ice cream, we determined that the only way to understand it was to eat it. And so, without a second thought, we opened our mouth to take a bite…and understood immediately how it could be so stiff.

This is not soft serve ice cream.

It looks like soft serve; it has the color, the texture, and the swirl, but it is not soft serve. It has a strangely crunchy texture. But if it’s not soft serve, then what is it? Searching for an answer, our eyes drifted around the room and fortunately landed on the explanation board hanging in the shop’s interior, which told us that it’s actually raw ice cream, an original recipe by the shop. Apparently, they wanted to create a new, fresh look on soft serve ice cream by making use of a naturally classy flavor profile. It’s a whole new, differently classified genre of ice cream!

Glancing at the signboard outside, we suddenly noticed that it did say “Gyuunyuu-sei Aisu (牛乳生アイス)” instead of “Soft Serve”, indicating that their particular ice cream is a different kind of soft serve, specially made from milk. We were so excited to go in that we didn’t even notice!

Newly aware of what, exactly, we were eating, we returned to our cone with a renewed anticipation. The raw ice cream was rich and heavy, but at the same time strangely refreshing. It’s like if milk-solid ice cream and soft serve had a baby: a little bit of the best things from each with a totally new flavor sensation. It was actually delicious.

It’s probably because of the solid constitution of the cream that they were able to make such an eye-catching design, but in spite of the rigidity, it still melts on your tongue, making it very pleasant to eat. Its sweetness doesn’t lag behind, either, so some might say that it’s actually easier to eat than soft serve. Rather than having to take your time with the richer flavors of soft serve, it’s easy to find yourself eating this raw ice cream steadily until it’s all gone.

Putting aside our initial surprise at the texture, we can safely say that we really enjoyed Shiroichi’s raw ice cream and were wholly satisfied with our experience. Even though it’s so tall and you do get a lot of ice cream, you don’t get tired of eating it, even to the very end, so we highly recommend it.

But if you’re in Kansai and can’t make it up to Tokyo, but still want some delectable cold snacks, we highly recommend these gorgeous (and delicious) Matcha parfaits. You really can’t go wrong with Japanese ice cream shops in summer!

Restaurant Information
Shiroichi Shibuya Shop / 白一 渋谷店
Address: Tokyo-to Shibuya-ku Jinnan 1-7-7
Opening Hours: Every day from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (10:00 p.m. in summer)

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