Put it this way – I was in desperate need of a coffee.

It had been an early start and the cafe I could just see in the distance had a cute front, painted in my favourite shade of soft pink.

As far as I was concerned, mission-caffeine (was soon to be) accomplished.

I had NO idea as I stepped into this quaint cafe in Kentish Town, that I was in a mini-Manila!

As I said somewhere up there, I was so DOG TIRED, it took a while for the peso to drop.

I must add here that I am half Filipino – my Mum was born in a village called Taal near Batangas, world famous for its embroidery, of which I blogged about here.

I’m very familiar with the cuisine and culture, having been brought up with it but not so much the language – Tagalog.

My Dad was Mauritian, so my parents spoke English to each other and neither parent seemed that intent on my brother and I learning the lingo of their Motherlands…

Anyways, back to the fact that I had nada idea that I had stepped into Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream and that:

a) it even existed!

b) it’s London’s first Flipino ice cream parlour

c) there’s a bit of a Filipino food movement going on – which is really farking exciting!!!

So when I spotted in big letters, ‘Halo-Halo‘ on the sign above me – I was like, WTF? 

Being both my daughter and my most favourite Filipino dessert, I quickly screeched at how awesome it was that they sold this slushy cooler shake that’s so mega popular in the Philippines.

Then, I noticed ‘Ube’ on the menu (a purple yam native to the Philippines) and then ‘Bilog’ – ice cream in a pandesal (milk bun) which is then toasted…

Soon after, my ears began to tune into the Tagalog-Pop on the radio and then the peso finally did smashed on the floor!

Duh FT! *face palm

And then, as I looked around, admiring the brilliant decor and detail – everything pointed to the Philippines.

Everything about Mamasons charm reminded me of the beautiful archipelagic country in Southeast Asia.

From the metal gate over the front door to the plants; the smells and the vibe – it really is a mini-Manila in Kentish Town.

You almost expect jeepneys and tricycles to whizz past – both ubiquitous forms of transport in the Philippines.

I can’t wait to visit again – next time definitely with my Mum! Especially, as I noticed on the menu that their house coffee beans are sourced from her home town of Batangas, too.

Oh and before you ask, the reason it’s called ‘dirty ice cream’ has nothing to do with the cafe’s hygiene!

In the Philippines, it’s a nickname and OMG do Filipinos LOVE a nickname! I don’t think any of my cousins, Titas (aunties) or Lolas (Grannies or female elders) are actually called by their real names!

I digress. ‘Dirty ice-cream’ is a nickname for the ice-cream vendors who’d sell their stuff on the streets.

As a kid, on holiday, I’d get so excited hearing the hand-rung bell of the ‘dirty ice cream’ seller coming down the road with his push-cart and metal urns full of home-churned ice-cream.

And until we can save up for the humungous air fares to fly our family back out there again for a holiday, I guess we’ll be making our way back to mini-Manila and Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream some more…

Who’s coming with me!?


Thanks for reading.

Have you tried Filipino food or desserts? If not – who wants to join me next time?



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