Baskin Robbins.

It’s hot these days – I don’t mean Colombo’s normal tropical heat – as drought rages in the north and east and reservoirs run dry a relentless and seemingly swollen sun seems determined to extract every bit of moisture from your rapidly perspiring body.

After enduring a fair solar pummelling earlier today the YAMU crew sought refuge at a Baskin Robbins ice cream parlour. Enclosed, air-conditioned and full of ice cream it’s a pretty effective sanctuary from the sun. Still, I’ve never been a fan of this particular international chain. Wherever in the world I’ve encountered Baskin Robbins it has struck me as overpriced and the quality of the ice cream just doesn’t justify the prices.

Today looking at the display board – Rs 180 for a kid’s scoop, Rs 280 for a regular scoop – I felt my usual scepticism returning but it was hot and we needed to justify sitting in their air-conditioned interior so we got one scoop of the figs and honey flavour and another of the cookies and cream. While making our choices we noticed that the selection of flavours was somewhat limited as Baskin Robins internationally promises 31 flavours but we had a choice of just six different types of ice cream.

Our order was dutifully doled into cups – the cones are even more expensive and we set to work shovelling those little plastic spoons into our mouths.

The verdict: as expected or maybe slightly above expectations. The ice cream was pretty tasty. Creamy not overly synthetic- the fig flavour had the satisfying stickiness of real dried figs and while the cookies and cream didn’t taste exactly like a cookie it was a good ice-creamy impersonation. I still think Baskin Robbins lacks something when compared to say Ben and Jerry’s, Haagen Dasz and in Colombo terms is a grade below Il Gelato’s.

Also leaving imported luxuries aside, our local ice cream brands are pretty good. Crucially, for the price of a scoop at Baskin Robins you can get a litre tub of local ice cream. The difference in quality isn’t all that large I remember Kotmale (I think) had a fig flavour that was almost exactly like the fig and honey we tried today.

A tub of Highland or Elephant house on a hot day definitely represents better value for money but for an ice cream parlour experience Baskin Robbins was honestly not bad. Worth popping into when the sun is trying to melt you and you feel the cash in your wallet is weighing you down.

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