Thursday, 5 September 2013

Tried & tested: Morelli's ice cream parlour

Becoming self-employed this year has led me to neglect a few important things - like days off. I was always so organised scheduling these kind of things before, somehow, being self employed, every day has a habit of turning into a work day. So, other than a few weekend days here and there, Owen and I enjoyed our first official 'holiday' time this year, in the form of a long weekend, which we filled with day trips. We decided to visit Morelli's ice cream parlour in Broadstairs (Kent), (or as Owen described it 'that ice cream parlour you talk about every summer').

Peach melba with vanilla ice cream, fresh whipped cream and
strawberry sauce
I used to visit Morelli's as a child - I remember ordering the 'DaVinci', an artist's palette of ice cream scoops, with a cigarello paintbrush. In recent years, Morelli's has expanded to become an international brand, with a shop in Harrods and stores popping up globally. It actually all started back in 1907, with Giuseppe Morelli emigrating from Italy and selling ice cream from his bicycle (you can read more about the Morelli story here). Morelli's ice cream parlour has existed in Broadstairs since 1932 - in fact, my Dad used to visit there as a child. I remembered Morelli's as a slightly run-down 50s-style ice cream parlour and fully expected it to have evolved in line with the company expansion. I am delighted to discover that it did not.

Rows & rows of beautiful tinted sundae glasses
The same salmon leatherette booths, formica tops and white painted raffia chairs accompany a kitsch backlit picture menu behind the bar, with various other slightly naff (but absolutely brilliant) decorative touches here and there. So, we fired up the juke box (which is packed full of music from the 50s to present day) with Blondie (heart of glass) and ordered our ice creams.

Contrary to modern day marketing, our ice creams actually looked significantly better than those pictured behind the bar.

Illuminated fountain with plastic flowers!

I'm sure these backlit menus are the same ones I used to stare at as a child:
Note the Da Vinci to the far left - still on the menu :)


  1. Weird as it may seem, your pictures actually remind me of many summers spent in Italian seaside locations as a child.

    I can recall looking at many backlit wall menus like those, secretly wondering what on earth "Peach Melba" and "Banana Split" meant - while knowing full well that I'd never find out, because I don't like the taste of banana. And those glass and ceramic cups, all taking me back to what the '90s back home looked like: you don't get served those in my hometown anymore, not in the newest, fanciest places.

    My 9-year-old self could be sitting there with a younger version of my Grandma, and I wouldn't be surprised at all. In fact, I'd be delighted to see them.

    1. Thank you for sharing such lovely memories Iris :) ice cream is one of those wonderfully nostalgic things which will always remind me of being a child - but especially Morelli's! Your childhood sounds idyllic...