ICMonster is a new dessert spot that opened in San Diego this past weekend, specializing in Thai-style ice cream rolls and other trendy desserts and drinks like butterfly pea tea drinks, Hong Kong egg waffles and more.
With my sweet tooth, of course I had to go try it out immediately.
The cafe has cute monster characters and is decorated in shades of light blue to fit its ice theme.
ICMonster offers ten flavors of rolled ice cream and four mix-it-up options where toppings are mixed directly into the ice cream batter. For the regular flavors, you can also get the rolls placed inside a donut or in a Hong Kong egg waffle. They also have various boba milk tea drinks and color-changing butterfly pea tea drinks. For the grand opening, the drinks were served in adorable glass bottles which customers also got to keep.
The cafe has three specialty rolled ice cream machines to help reduce the wait time.
For those unfamiliar, rolled ice cream is originally from Thailand. Using special equipment, ice cream batter is spread in a thin layer over a chilled metal grill chilled, where it solidifies in seconds. Next, it’s carefully scraped off the metal with a spatula, which makes it curl into rolls.
Here is a video I took with my phone (with time lapse):
They also offer a series of butterfly pea tea drinks, which I’ve seen popping up quite a bit. You can learn more about butterfly pea tea and how to make your own here. It’s a tea derived from the leaves of the butterfly pea plant that is common to South East Asia. When the tea is brewed, it’s a deep indigo blue color. But when you add acidic ingredients, it changes the pH level and also changes the color of the drink.
Lemonade Butterfly and Rose Blossom
I enjoyed the Lemonade Butterfly because it wasn’t too sweet and found the rose blossom too syrupy for my personal preference. However, I think they are still fiddling with the drink recipes. Someone else I talked to ordered the same two drinks and thought the lemonade butterfly was far too sweet and the rose blossom was just right.
Black Tea with Sea Salt & Cheese Foam, Milky Butterfly, Matcha Latte
The cheese foam addition is something we tried recently in the Bay Area. It sounds really unusual but it’s basically just adding a slightly salty foam on top which enhances the sweetness of the tea drink.
I enjoyed the matcha latte and also the black tea. Normally, I always ask for reduced sugar in milk tea drinks but found these to be just right.
Open Sesame (black sesame ice cream, wafer roll, mochi, whipped cream, graham cracker bear)
Matcha Heaven (matcha ice cream, lychee, red beans, whipped cream, chocolate syrup, angry panda bear cookies)
Thai it Up (thai tea ice cream, vanilla wafers, rolled wafers, whipped cream, mini boba)
I enjoyed all the ice creams we had. The flavors were good, the texture was creamy. I also liked that the ice creams weren’t too sweet.
Overall, we had a good first few visits here. Since they just opened, they are still working out the kinks. While the ice cream rolls came out surprisingly fast, the drinks came out much slower which I didn’t quite understand since the milk tea drinks are not made to order. On our first visit, we got all our ice creams and drinks within about 15 minutes. On our second visit, we waited over half an hour just for two drinks. Several people have asked how this place compares to Bing Haus (posts here and here), the first place in San Diego to offer ice cream rolls. I like both places and think the quality is about the same and I would continue to visit both, though I do like that ICMonster has more flavors as well as the mix-ins (something I’ve seen in NYC but not as much here).
8945 Mira Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92126