Newest Review: ... bearing the Joe's sign, but they probably won't carry all the flavours. Joe's Ice cream parlours (as per dooyoo heading) are fair... more
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Joe's Ice Cream Parlour (Swansea)
Member Name: Dryad
Joe's Ice Cream Parlour (Swansea)
Advantages: Takes ice cream to another dimension
Disadvantages: High calorie and only available freshly churned in Swansea
Joe's is sold pre-packed and beats the socks of most other similar brands. However it is not a patch on the ice cream served fresh from the churners at their parlours. So that is what I'll be reviewing, with a nod below to the pre-packed yumminess.
The pre packed tubs come in several flavours and sizes, from individual 120ml size, (with the ubiquitous too small plastic shovel in the top) to family sized tubs of 500mls, 1ltr and 2ltr (prices are £1.05, £2.50/75, £4.25 and £7.95 respectively). The flavour choice is widest in the individual pots and consists of: vanilla, strawberry, cappuccino, caramel swirl, strawberry swirl, chocolate swirl and mint choc swirl. The litre size includes such treats as Welsh cake!? That sounds like something Heston Blumenthal might cook up. These can be bought at retailers bearing the Joe's sign, but they probably won't carry all the flavours.
Joe's Ice cream parlours (as per dooyoo heading) are fairly insignificant pieces of architecture, what is important and wonderful about Joe's is its own ice cream, and that is what the review will primarily cover.
At the parlours they only serve vanilla flavoured ice cream, which is made on the premises and produced all day. The ice cream itself is so heavenly that I'm sure no one would mind the vanilla base being the only option on site. There are a huge range of excellent toppings and sauces on offer. Unlike most toppings I have sampled elsewhere, which have been a bit like those tasteless sugar candy things you sprinkle on top of cakes, with any fruit being fairly bland, doused in syrup and pretty unrecognisable, Joe's are magnificent, fresh and delicious.
You won't find any little flecks of vanilla seed or pod in this ice cream, the vanilla flavour is apparent but subtle and doesn't overpower the creaminess of the product. It is sweet but again subtly so and you aren't left with a sugary after taste, to say this is creamy is an understatement. To me this is something that tastes quite unlike any other ice cream I have ever tried. It isn't heavy and rich like some, nor light and insubstantial like others, it is soft but more dense than a 'Mr. Wippy' style ice cream. Hell it is just perfect. There may be a suspicion amongst you that this is a simple bland vanilla, it is anything but. It seems to have a component that sets the taste buds alight, and shoots straight to the pleasure centres of the brain. Never before have I eaten something and done the eyes closed orgasmic 'mmmm' thing, I've always seen that as visual poetic licence used by soft porn cooks like Nigella, try Joe's and you might see what I mean.
We live about ten miles from Swansea so going to Joe's is an occasional eagerly anticipated treat. Being extremely skint at the moment we couldn't afford to do anything much for our recent anniversary (23 cold stony steps towards the grave - or years if you prefer), so what we decided on was a visit to Joe's and a DVD at home later, and to be honest I couldn't have enjoyed it more if we had gone to a good restaurant.
My favourite delight from Joe's is the Cherry Temptation, which is vanilla ice cream, generously layered with plump, sweet and mouth wateringly gorgeous black cherries, and topped with chocolate or nuts (which I ask them not to add), oh and they usually add a couple of wafers too. This costs £2.50, £3.30 or £4.95. I usually have the middle size which is quite generous, with about 3 scoops of ice cream, and to be honest I would happily eat the larger size and not feel guilty about the calories for one second. Joe's serves many different concoctions and they vary in price starting at £1.05 for a one scoop cone. This may seem a little pricey, but for the quality of product you are getting, and the pleasure which is honestly better than sex it is worth every penny. I don't have a tub of Joe's at the moment to check if it shows the calorie content, as it is a luxury ice cream I'm sure the numbers would be frightening, but I don't care Joe's is just that good.
Joe's has only two parlours and a stall, they are all in Swansea. One at 85 St. Helens Road, it is not a particularly salubrious area but is only a short stroll from the seafront and just on the cusp of being in the 'posh' seafront village of Mumbles.. The other is in Mumbles itself, and the stall is at 'The Piazza' in Parc Tawe in central Swansea.
I can only describe the St. Helens parlour as it's the one I use. On entering there is a long counter, where you are greeted by banks of happy(ish) staff ready to serve your take away, and the queue when there is one moves quickly. To the left is the parlour which seats approximately 30 people, they also serve a few bits and bobs of other milk based produce such as milk shakes and coffee. I think that they serve other snack foods too at the Mumbles parlour. The area is clean and spacious with a slight retro ice cream parlour feel, I think it has waitress service, but as we usually take out I may not have remembered that correctly. Just across the road is Swansea's Guild Hall where a lot of local government types while away their days, a few decent pubs and little down at heel shops litter the area too. The Guild Hall has lots of parking areas around it -which is why I mention it - as there is no dedicated parking for Joe's, (there is a small stretch of road literally around the corner where about 5 cars can be parked for a limited period). You are also quite near the Patti Pavilion and St Helen's Stadium, so if you are visiting them it may be worth popping into Joe's while you are in the area.
The other parlour in the centre of Mumbles itself is very near the sea front but doesn't have a sea view. I never use this one as it's further away and always bursting at the seams, often with queues out of the door. Again there is no dedicated parking, but there are many car parks along Mumbles front and the cliff top. However trying to find a space there in holiday season often leads to bloodshed and swearing gaskets being blown. The small takeaway at Parc Tawe is centrally located near a cinema complex, bowling alley, shops etc.
If I were ever in the position of having to choose a last meal Joe's would most certainly form a major part of it. Their advertising says 'everything else is just ice cream' and they are right, every time I taste another quality ice cream I comment (to the husbands irritation at my repetitiveness) it's lovely but it's not Joe's.
Summary: An epiphany for your taste buds