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“Definitely worth visiting” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Black Vanilla

Black Vanilla
32 Tranquil Vale | Blackheath, London SE3 0AX, England
+44 20 8852 0020
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Ranked #4,956 of 17,939 Restaurants in London
Price range: $5 - $9
Cuisines: Bakery, Italian, Ice Cream
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dessert
Description: At Black Vanilla we focus our passion and creativity to create our multi award winning, handcrafted gelato and sorbetto using the finest, fresh ingredients. Our dedicated team of chefs bring obsession and a wealth of experience to every spoonful, something evident from the first taste.
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
“Definitely worth visiting”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

I have only been to the branch of Black Vanilla in Blackheath village, but my goodness it is fantastic. The coffee is brilliant, whether you want a strong cup of black coffee or some sort of milky creation. It's all good. The gelato is always fantastic. The brownies are great. They even do a decent bowl of soup. Always make sure I stop here when I'm in the south east now.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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48 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“"We make the finest gelato outside Italy"”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2012

According to their website, that is. And to that I 'ice-cream' a wholehearted "YES" (excuse the pun; the gelato there was indeed so good and my brain has been on vacation since).

So, this was what happened: my friends and I went to Greenwich in early September, we had a fantastic lunch at a place on Nelson Road and was headed to the Greenwich Market - our stomachs were full and we weren't looking for dessert - when we walked past a window with a plaque beside it that not only boasts rave reviews by the Evening Standard and The Guardian but also claims that it is the winner of three awards at the Great Taste Awards 2012 (no, we have no idea what award that is). Why not, we said.

So, we stepped inside and were greeted by a couple of (cute) servers (dessert technicians?). There were either eight or ten flavours in the display case: your typical fares like Vanilla and Hazelnut as well as interesting concoctions like Chili Chocolate (decorated with a piece of giant chili) and Mojito. We each decided to go for single scoops in a cone; I can't remember if they were £3 or £4 each. Each scoop was abundantly-heaped with gelato (the size of two to three scoops back in Malaysia) but at about the same price (after conversion) so that already made us very pleased. One friend and I had the Lemon Meringue while another had Pistachio (that costs an extra 50p because the nuts came from Italy). We stepped outside to enjoy our gelato and we weren't able to move any further, so overwhelmed were we by the intense, wonderful flavours that flooded our taste-buds!

Seriously, we ended up sitting on the base of a lamppost right outside the shop, licking and slurping and making near-obscene yummy noises while pointing inwards, not-so-subtly recommending the place to passersby (we sent in 14 people; I counted). And, get this - after we were finished, we unanimously agreed to go for seconds!

So, back in we went and this time I chose the Coconut (decorated with half a coconut still in its shell - it was fantastic and full of coconut shavings), one friend had the Hazelnut (which turned out to be so delicious and laden with whole hazelnuts) while the other had TWO scoops of Pistachio. This time when we left, one of the servers cheekily bid as farewell with a "see you guys later".

Three things to highlight:

The choice of flavours may differ from day to day (we found out because we went back again a day later - yes, we travelled from our apartment on Judd Street near Russell Square and took the train for half an hour all the way to Greenwich just to eat their gelato once more before our flight home).

Don't even think about settling for the Bambino cone, figuring you could get some gelato cheaply - the cone is so tiny you need to hold it delicately between your thumb and forefinger or you'd crush it to smithereens. I mention this because we encountered three separate people who were shown (and advised against ordering) the cones.

Do not - I repeat, DO NOT - go for the Chili Chocolate flavour. I tried it. I was intrigued but can you blame me? I'm from South-East Asia, used to murderously-spicy cuisine, and this tub of gelato with the Hulk-sized chili was just begging me to meet its challenge and give it a smackdown. It was gooey and coco-ey and awesome until 30 seconds later WHEN YOUR THROAT IS ON FIRE. I was completely dished, put in my place. Okay, fine, I'm exaggerating a bit but, unless you are used to and/or enjoy spicy food, skip this.

Another thing: I highly recommend the service at this place. I was traveling with my Muslim friends and we were sampling the flavours. One friend wanted to try a strawberry concoction whereupon the server informed her that it contains Amaretto. That was savvy of him; we appreciate that.

I'd say "spread the word on this gelato gem" but I selfishly wish this place would remain not-too-famous - too many visitors means there'd be longer queues the next time I come. And yes, I do plan to come again, many more times until I die or this place shuts down, whichever comes first.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melaka
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Exquisitely wonderful gelato!Spread the word!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2012

During my recent trip to the UK! I tried lots of icre- creams and gelatos to the point I can put an ice cream/gelato experience into a certain category. The gelato served in Black Vanilla falls into the category of being an exquisitely wonderful experience. Hands down the best gelato I had during the entire trip. My first gelato here was Lemon Meringue which is one of their best sellers. I could taste the lemon on the gelato! My friend had pistachio which cost slightly a bit more but it made up in its taste. Imagine a sinfully decadent taste that melts in your mouth and leaves you wanting for more! I quickly finished my lemon meringue and went back again on the shop and ordered 2 SCOOPS of the pistachio!

Please have a go at this place. It beats those gelato shops at Covent Garden anytime and judging from the queue and crowds at this shop it is a secret which people already know about.Just want to spread the word in TA.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“Real ice cream in the Italian tradition”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2012

Great flavours, good texture, slightly dear price but not unreasonable.

  • Visited May 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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