Housed within The Red House Katong; an iconic and recently-restored shophouse in the Katong neighbourhood, Birds of Paradise Gelato Boutique adds on to the long list of eateries situated in the neighbourhood.
Decked out in a minimalist theme which displays modernity and tasteful style, the interior is generally painted white except those with nature-inspired wallpapers and the shop is well-lit with natural lighting from the large windows on the side with subtle wood and bronze hues on its furnishings. Birds of Paradise Gelato Boutique is not just any ice-cream parlour; taking a different approach to the usual gelato, Birds of Paradise Gelato Boutique serves interesting botany-themed gelato which involves local flavours such as Pandan as well as hard-to-find flavours such as Basil, Strawberry Basil and White Chrysanthemum, all of which using premium ingredients inspired by herbs and flora. Available only in cup and cone options, even the humble waffle cone sees its twist here with Thyme-infused cones being the only waffle cones served here. Do take note that there are no seats within the shop itself, though there is a standing bar area for patrons who wish to dine-in.
We visited them shortly after they are opened for the day, the gelato was just brought into the display cabinet for a short while and hence a little difficult to scoop out; this explains the slightly awkward aesthetics for the scoop of White Chrysanthemum that we decided to go for after trying most of the flavours available. On first taste, the White Chrysanthemum flavour exudes a floral aroma similar to having White Chrysanthemum Tea whilst carrying a good mix of creaminess to balance out the flavours. Subsequent spoonfuls on and the floral aroma seemed to be progressively overwhelmed by the milkiness of the gelato, though the Cacao Nibs did help to refresh the flavours of the White Chrysanthemum back to the palate as you chew on them. The cacao nibs are not to be mistaken as chocolate chips though gives a bittersweet flavour; instead, they seemed to taste similar to those often found in Acai Bowls. While the White Chrysanthemum scent fades out and is gradually overtaken by the milkiness of the Gelato, this is one of the few interesting and unique flavours offered that is worth trying here.
We could not decide on just having one gelato, so we gladly went for the second with the Thyme Cone and opted for the Spiced Pear flavour; the Thyme cone is a $1 add-on on top of the original price of a single or double scoop. Spiced Pears would be the one to order for those who might prefer fruity flavours but generally dislike sorbets due to the lack of cream in sorbet; this was akin to eating a creamy concoction of a naturally sweet fresh pear (they use William Pear for the Spiced Pear flavour here) and spices such as Star Anise and Cinnamon for a more well-rounded, spiced finish. Thyme Cone wafts of buttermilk aroma from its batter, while the Thyme gives it an interesting herb flavour that is often used in seasoning meats that work surprisingly well here and rather refreshing too. Admittedly, the Spiced Pear gelato may not make the best combination with the Thyme Cone for it is a tad heavier in flavour and tend to overwhelm the flavours of the cone; perhaps the Thyme Cone would work better with the more aromatic flavours here.
In the past years, there are a number of ice-cream/gelato speciality stores that have opened up around the island, though very few have managed to find a niche or a personality to their brand name. This is where Birds of Paradise Gelato Boutique does best; the emphasis of floral and herb-flavoured gelato is a concept that is pretty refreshing in the Singapore food scene. Sure, some of the flavours do need to be refined such as the White Chrysanthemum in order to provide for a better flavour profile, but Birds of Paradise Gelato Boutique have generally done well for the initial launch; all they would need to do is to collect more feedback and refine their recipes over time to improve on the strengths that they have on the unique concept. A spot that has quite a good potential, Birds of Paradise Gelato Boutique is probably one place worth visiting and looking out for in the future; would definitely be back to try the other flavours available on rotation. Here’s wishing the best for them in the days to come!
Birds of Paradise Gelato Boutique
The Red House Katong
63 East Coast Road
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/bopgelato