We have had a sudden influx of dessert places in Ilford. After much moaning about Afters being the closest dessert parlour to us, the Dessert Parlour owners finally listened. Within the space of one year we had not one, but three dessert parlours open up! Finally spoilt for choice in the dessert department, we actually feel like there are now a few options for the after meal often overlooked portion, by our regular restaurants.
Okay, I’m not going to pretend I actually have space for dessert after a meal (I always promise myself I’ll go easy on starters and main course just so I’ll have space for dessert but I regularly overeat and dessert doesn’t look as tempting on a full stomach). I prefer to visit dessert parlours on an empty stomach, or at least a partially empty stomach so I can actually enjoy the vast menus they have on offer. Honestly, these desserts are a meal in themselves, as the portions are large and plentiful and most definitely filling.
Swirly’s, which opened quite recently, is located in an obscure old bank building. If it wasn’t for the banner on the outside you would most probably miss it all together. The interior is not as show stopping as we have come to expect from recent dessert parlours/ burger bars, but it is clean and simple with American diner style benches in place. It does have a restored bank vault on the lower floor which makes it quite unique.
Glancing at the menu, the selection was varied and quite large. There were milkshakes, waffles, crepes, flowering teas (yes this was a new offering in a dessert parlour), cookie dough and plenty more. Being the glutton that I was (yes I’m being sarcastic), I opted for a cookie dough, passion fruit mojito and my husband, the mint milkshake.
Whilst we were waiting (trust me we were waiting a while), I observed that for a nearly empty dessert parlour, the service was incredibly slow. I put this down to possibly being a new establishment (they always tend to have teething problems). When the milkshake and mojito finally arrived, I was impressed at the presentation of the milkshake and also the taste. It had the perfect balance of milk and ice cream, and managed to give the flavour of mint aero without being overpoweringly minty. Needless to say this milkshake finished pretty quickly and we ordered another (a good sign of course).
The cookie dough was extremely slow to come, and the flavour was underwhelming to say in the least. As it was baked, it felt mostly too doughy and sweet. The husband gladly took it off my hands and finished it off. Luckily my passion fruit mojito was sour enough to balance the sweetness of the cookie dough. The gelato served with the cookie dough was creamy and soft and enjoyed by my two year old daughter.
All in all, we would probably give Swirly’s a 5/10 for a first time visit. The mint milkshake was outstanding and although the cookie dough was slightly cloying and too sweet, I think with a few tweaks I can definitely see the parlour improving. There is definite room for improvement in the speed of service as I dread to think when I would have got my desserts if there were more customers in the store. Although there is nothing specifically unique about Swirly’s especially amid the plethora of dessert parlours that have opened recently, the friendly service and decent desserts mean I will most definitely be a returning customer (I have yet to try those flowering teas!). Also, Swirly’s deliver, which is amazing considering most of our takeaways don’t even deliver in Ilford! Have you been here? Write in the comments below as I’d love to hear about it.