Licky Chan And The Poke Guy Is An Ice Cream And Tattoo Parlour Rolled Into One
Sit-down speciality cafés and posh patisseries have become something of the norm, so when boozy ice cream parlour Licky Chan invited us over to scribble on their furniture, we were more than thrilled. It doesn't take long for us to find out that we're not the only ones who enjoy the novelty of licking boozy cones while lounging in an indoor playground.
As we make our way through the repurposed 20th century shophouse in Chow Kit, two tattooists slinging ink catch our eye. But what are tattoo artists doing at an ice cream parlour, you might ask? Or vice versa: why is there ice cream at a tattoo parlour?
Co-owner Kit Chan answers our queries: "Because of the stigma surrounding tattoos, it’s always scary for first-timers. We wanted to make it more accessible, and there's nothing more accessible than an ice cream shop."
Who says tattoo parlours are only to be found in abandoned buildings, or via back alley staircases?
Neon lights and '90s music on loop lend Licky Chan its grungy vibe. Adding to the indoor playground theme is a bright orange staircase that leads to an orange maze. Inside, we come face to face with a vintage collection of flickering televisions and a colourful ball pit. The latter beckons to our inner child, tempting us to jump in, cone in hand.
A single taste of Licky Chan's Piña Colada soft serve will instantly transport you to a sunny day by the beach in the Caribbean. Coconut milk and pineapple are key ingredients in this scoop laced with tonka beans and Bacardi's 4 Años, a rum aged for four years. We do not regret spicing up our cone with additional rum syrup, pineapple and toasted coconut that brings a crunchy candy-like texture to the smooth soft serve.
Ice cream or yogurt? Boozy or virgin? Vegan? Gluten-free?
With more than 20 "cone-tails" to choose from, it's hard to decide what to have next. All of Licky Chan's ice creams are crafted the same way cocktails are: beginning with a base ingredient that is layered with different tastes and textures. It must be mentioned that Licky Chan's cones are made fresh everyday, boast vegan ingredients, and don't cost extra—which is just how things should be!
We decide to go with co-owner Rick Joore’s suggestion of double sorbet in a cone. The Beach, Please! flavour combines watermelon, cucumber and Maraschino liqueur to create a refreshing mouthfeel with a rich, jammy texture. Meanwhile, Lickin’ on Gin & Juice, a tangy gin-based sorbet churned with olive oil, calamansi and tonic, is so creamy that most would mistake it for ice cream.
See also: The Best Gins In Asia
Our next scoops come from the alcohol-free section of the menu.
The Avocado Cartel is velvety with crunchy bits of sesame brittle that feel as healthy as they are delicious.
Meanwhile, five different types of cheese, blueberries and honey make up the Sweet Dreams Are Made of Cheese, a crowd favourite. Bits of gorgonzola sneak up on us, but tangy blueberries and chunks of honeycomb give the scoop good balance. A fortune cookie (vegan, of course) tops the two scoops and we can't help but feel like we're having a dessert version of avocado toast.
In addition to a plethora of boozy ice cream, Licky Chan also offers boozy cakes; these are available both by the slice and whole. Much like Licky Chan's "cone-tails," each cake has its own personality.
You Can’t Have No Yin Without The Yang (our favourite) sees a crispy biscuit base with rich layers of black sesame cream and white chocolate fortified with Dewar’s 12 year old Scotch. This "east meets west" cake is definitely one of their richer creations but the yin and yang are well-balanced, making us crave more.
The next boozy cake boasts a rich roasted chestnut cream coupled with blonde chocolate drunk on Martell VSOP Cognac. Can you make out why it's called the Dato’s Dream? Reminiscent of a Mont Blanc but with a much richer mouthfeel, this gâteau is really everyone’s fantasy.
TATLER TIP: Book dinner at Joloko, which was founded by the same creatives behind Licky Chan, before heading to the latter for dessert.
- ImagesKhairul Imran