Comedian and food fiend Jessica Fostekew puts her mouth where others fear to tread. A celebration of eating: from posh nosh to kebab shops to stuff that’s been on the floor. This week, Jess riskz gestational diabetes at Dessertz.
I had a date with my dear chum Caroline, to do some work near her gaff in Shepherd’s Bush. What better place for two adult women to meet than in an ice-cream parlour? I’ll tell you what better. An ice cream parlour called Dessertz.
A lot of tasteful people hate the substitution of an ‘s’ for a ‘z’ at a word’s end but I love it. I’ve had a soft spot for it ever since 1997. We named the five-a-side football team I was in Vibe Tribez. Three years I played for that team, every Thursday night. We scored at least twice a season. Every year we won a patronising trophy for being ‘the most neatly turned out’.
I was really in it for all the after-sport snogging-and-frotting. I look back on that grotty era of my teens with nothing but fondness. Okay, 90% fondness, 10% abject shame. But it was formative. I’ve blushed and smirked at any misplaced ‘z’ on the end of anything ever sinz.
First shock at Dessertz: there weren’t any children there. It turns out this is what other grown-ups do. They sit and have a coffee and a foot-high ‘bubblicious’ sundae, just after work, just for fun. Instead of dinner. MAYBE AS WELL AS DINNER. I’ve wasted my 31 years so far not knowing about this incredible part of my own culture. It was like finding out that all along I can actually fly or teleport.
It’s dark and imposing inside with stools at the bar. The sort of place you’d expect to order a bourbon on the rocks and make some enquiries about how to get a man killed. Instead you order a two scoop cone and maybe see about a clandestine sprinkle of toffees please.
There were 20 flavours of ice-cream to choose from. Whoever’s making up the list of stuff you get in the afterlife to recruit vulnerable young cretins to IS is missing a trick. This heaven has got ‘peanutella’ ice cream, no less. Not to mention ‘Ferrero’.
Caroline had a tasty looking cappuccino and I got a boring peppermint tea. It was sunny out and I needed something to clear my veins before this glorious onslaught.
Caroline had a Banoffee Crepe for £4.50. It comes with a scoop of ice cream and she chose passionfruit. What can I say? She’s a renegade. It looked like a fabulous party of yellow things but they turned out to not all get along.
The crepe was delicious but a touch too hefty for the sickly streaks of caramel and slices of banana atop it to bring much help to. Had it been a lonely thing, the passionfruit ice-cream might have been quite brilliant but it didn’t really fit in here. It was just a bit too fizzy and whizzy. It had turned up in fancy dress when no-one else had bothered. All together it was too sweet; it was some kittens on some babies on some pink satin on some unicorns. Too much for our mortal mouths.
I went for a ‘Gigantic Waffle’. I’d never had one before and my nose has always pepped up when walking past those stalls that do them on Oxford Street. I always assumed they were a bit of a ‘chestnut’ and do more for the nostrils than the tongue buds. No no no. They’re incredible.
I got the £4.50 ‘Crush Oreo’ one. A mighty, freshly made beast, covered in smashed biscuits and a fast-melting scoop of coffee ice-cream.
It was a beautiful thing. The waffle was maybe a touch too fresh, if that’s an option. It was a little bit eggy still in the middle. I cared not. That aside, it was mouth-dazzling. Crispy edged but molten middled, hot batter-y dough stuff. The Oreo dust was a melting, yet crunchy version of the creamy chocolate combination we all know and love. The coffee flavour was strong and clear without any unnecessary sugar-blasts. It was like all my pre-EU-standard ingredient labelling and E-number warning, 1980s childhood birthdays had come at once.
“It turns out this is what other grown-ups do. They sit and have a coffee and a foot-high ‘bubblicious’ sundae, just after work, just for fun. Instead of dinner. MAYBE AS WELL AS DINNER.”
Our brains bounded into our project we’d met to work on. We sparked ideas around, up and down and off the ceilings for a really good maximum of 10 minutes. Then we crashed hard and fast into glassy eyed, nauseous waking slumber.
Okay, so perhaps it’s not the best place to meet for work. But if you want to remember what it is to be alive, as long as you don’t mind actively shortening that life, it’s incredible. My poor, poor unborn child. I’m pretty sure I got gestational diabetes just looking at the menu.
I took my digestive system to a completely unregulated theme park and it was very exciting indeed.
BIG HEADS UP. THERE IS NO CUSTOMER TOILET.
Accessible: Not bad but not easily accessible. There’s outdoor seating but you have to go in to order. There’s one huge step up into the main seating area, which is both small and made up of four 50s diner-style booths, so nowhere comfortable for a wheelchair to park. The staff are very friendly, though and apparently there is a ramp available.988 Views
Jessica Fostekew is a writer, comedian, actor, law degree-waster, sister, daughter and beard-fan with an unabashed food infatuation.