Although Kuchice stays true to making gourmet desserts accessible and affordable, its promise to deliver popsicles largely remains unkept.
In the 1990s, the sound of a high-frequency bell from the streets on sultry Sunday afternoons meant nothing but sheer joy. It entailed running to the nearest window to double-check the bell’s source and begging for money at home. It entailed rushing to the road with money and exchanging smiles with the familiar ice cream anna (brother) standing tall next to his tricycle. It meant staring at the menu board but always settling for the five rupees worth of orange kuchice (popsicle) and eventually checking if the tongue was adorned with the orange colour.
One look at Kuchice’s motored tricycle (on Reels) was enough to knock at that nostalgic door. Thanks to Instagram, this two-month-old business has managed to occupy an integral part of Chennai’s street food scene.
Hence, much like most Chennaiites, I came to know of Kuchice’s existence through their social media handle. Upon visiting their page, I was stunned at their menu which has gourmet flavours such as caramel popcorn and cheesecake popsicles. It was also interesting to see gourmet desserts being sold on the streets for under 200 rupees. Naturally (sarcasm intended), I decided to convince a couple of friends to drive 28 kilometres and experience this new and impressive crossover with me.
Under a neem tree at Chennai’s Besant Nagar, outside Arignar Anna School, stands a white Vespa, remodelled with a matching white freezer and an umbrella towering over it. The contrasting black logo on it reads ‘Kuchice-Gourmet POPSICLES’. Spotting this motored tricycle (en route to Elliot’s Beach) wasn’t difficult, given the crowd that swamped around it at 6 pm on a Wednesday. Three youngsters in all-black outfits were busy at work as the moving crowd didn’t seem to end. One of them handed their menu and announced that the fresh fruit sorbet-based popsicles weren’t available. Hence, I settled for Chocolate and Rum while my friends chose Mango Cheesecake and Theobroma.
Our popsicles were pulled out from the freezer and caramelised with a blow torch.
Although our orders looked like cakes on sticks, we hoped that their taste would do justice to what icy popsicles traditionally stand for. To our dismay, there was no child-like joy in them. Instead of tasting icy, they were creamy and rich in dairy. “These are cakesicles and not popsicles,” I told my friend (we realised that the term ‘cakesicles’ is legitimate after a quick Google search).
The Chocolate and Rum cakesicle was rich in milk chocolate and left the aftertaste of rum. Its alcoholic but milky sweetness reminded me of Baileys Irish Cream (minus the cocoa). It was a thoroughly enjoyable portion that only cost us 110 rupees.
Secondly, the Mango Cheesecake cakesicle visually resembled an off-white cheesecake for the most part with hints of yellow. Upon tasting, the fresh notes of Banganapalli mango balanced the cheesiness well. It had the right amount of sweet notes, making it a well-balanced dessert.
Finally, I tasted the Theobroma cakesicle. It had a crumbly tart at the bottom with layers of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate with caramelised chocolate on the top. Every bite was rich and creamy. Owing to the layers, it left us feeling heavy and full.
Both the Mango Cheesecake and Theobroma cakesicle cost us Rs 140 and Rs 180, respectively. My friends and I agreed that such generous portions would cost anywhere between Rs 400 and Rs 600 at a gourmet dessert store.
As we continued to enjoy our desserts, the crowd was multiplying. An hour later, their best sellers were sold out for the day.
Around 7 pm, we decided to walk to the beach. An hour later, on my way back home, I noticed that the crowd was absent around the motored tricycle. Its freezer looked lighter, with no more cakesicles to offer. However, the logo shone bright and still read, ‘Gourmet POPSICLES’.
Overall rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Max: 5 stars)
Food a.k.a. cakesicles: 9/10
One dish that we loved: Chocolate and Rum