One of the many benefits of the summer months? Longer evenings spent sipping a cocktail or two. So when we were invited to try Fornata’s new ice cream cocktails menu, it seemed like the best way to welcome in the new season after this year’s seemingly endless winter. Tucked away on Kingly Street just off the hustle and bustle of Carnaby, the restaurant exudes the cosy air of one of those local bars you might find on holiday – expect a traditional, typically Italian décor and cheerful, chatty staff.
After a busy day at work, we were delighted to wind down under the auspices of tasting Fornata’s summer cocktails, starting with the Vanilla White Russian. Made with vodka, Kahlua and vanilla ice cream, it delivered a pleasantly boozy, sugary high that only something so terrifically and shamelessly indulgent could bestow. On one of London’s warmer evenings, we’d recommend the summery Campari Sorbet or the zingy Affogato al Limoncello – cocktails combining two of Italy’s most famous spirits with refreshing homemade lemon sorbet. Finally, there’s the Sottobosco – a grown-up riff on the strawberry milkshake, with vodka, Chambord, cranberry juice and strawberry ice cream. The cocktails are a world away from American diner-type shakes, thanks to the excellent quality of the handmade Italian-style ice creams and sorbets.
Fornata’s year-round speciality (the restaurant’s name comes from the Italian for oven) is oven-baked food, so there’s no excuse for doing the British thing and forgetting to eat while you’re drinking. Go for the mouth-watering mozzarella baked in pizza dough (utter bliss, take it from me) and baked aubergine with melted cheese (a hearty staple of Italian cuisine) together with a board (a whole board!) of tasty cured meats. Probably not the perfect match for ice cream and sorbet, but everything’s so tasty that it seems to work all the same.
The new ice cream cocktails have been created in conjunction with Fornata’s pop-up ice cream cart which will stay on the terrace until the autumn. So if you’re looking for an alternative to the British afternoon tea, you could do a lot worse than to swing by Fornata for a summery sweet treat…
For more information, see Fornata’s website. Fornata, 15 Kingly Street, London W1B 5PS, +44 (0) 20 8181 8887.