Ice cream parlours are booming – and it’s not only because of Instagram and teetotalism

Offering everything from liquid nitrogen-frozen creations to vegan sundaes, a new breed of dessert bars are changing the way people socialise – and date

Built in the Victorian era and now a sedate enclave of independent cafes and shops, Cardiff’s Castle Arcade does not look like a crucible of radical innovation. Enter Science Cream, however, and you step into a world of Heston Blumenthal-style theatre. Stood behind a Perspex screen, dressed in white lab coats and protective goggles, this ice-cream parlour’s “laboratrists” use great billowing flasks of liquid nitrogen to instantly freeze what is – thanks to LN2 creating such tiny ice-crystals – some of the smoothest, most thickly luxurious ice-cream you will ever taste.

It is a spectacle at which, not just children, but even the most cynical adults cannot help but marvel. “Today, it’s all about doing what Amazon can’t and giving customers an experience,” says the owner, Carly Karran, who is hunting for a second site in Bristol. “We’re already nostalgic about ice-cream, it brings people joy, but throw in the liquid nitrogen vapour and it’s a double-whammy, a very Instagrammable one. It ticks all the boxes.”

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