Does that post title sound a bit rude? It just seemed right. Maybe that's because I was exposed to porn this week, which doesn't happen often: some poor gentleman's account was hacked and a very explicit photo was posted in his name onto Oman Restaurant Review (and no doubt also on his family's and employer's newsfeeds. Shame). The picture was there a good 45 minutes or so and I was scrolling through as often as usual - you know, because I write a food blog - so I'm probably corrupted, and the hapless chap has likely been lynched.
Anyway, there's nothing sexy about this post, you'll be pleased to know. The rule I'm referring to in the title is, no ice cream from shops or restaurants unless it is made on the premises and the chef can come out and convince me that there have been no power outages or storage issues since the most recent batch was made. He has to look me in the eye while he says it, and you can't fool FatSu. I've had salmonella twice, both times from bad ice cream. It's not snobbishness! It's just that I have to look after my weary belly. Feckless retailers have turned me into this nightmare of a gelato consumer and robbed me of countless moments full of spontaneity and joy and creamy goodness. It fills me with rage. Well not rage exactly. It's too hot for that. (Just about right for ice cream though.)
So, I do break my rule for Mister Softy. Mister Softy is the ice cream place in Wattayah (Hamriya? I don't know). It's not even called Mister Softy. It's got some random sign outside; Gulf Parts Trading or similar. I realise this is not very helpful if you want to go and find it, but there is a giant flashing neon cone outside it, easily visible even from the flyover. Mister Softy has been there long enough that just about everyone who grew up in Oman has fond memories of it from their childhood: this place has its own humble place in the country's heart and history. The laminated posters on the wall have clearly been their since it opened and pull on my heartstrings. Have you ever been to Ghalya's Museum of Modern Art, on the Corniche? They had a very cool exhibit there when I went, rooms filled with the stuff that made up a typical Omani household in the 70s and 80s - Tang, Vimto, and lots of other products I didn't recognise. Having a Mister Softy is a bit like experiencing part of that.
To the ice cream itself. I don't know what this stuff is made of. I don't normally eat food that is squeezed through a metal tube. But it tastes good. A cone comes swirled up high and proud, service was friendly, and I didn't get food poisoning. Mine was a strawberry and that flavour only machine ice-cream has - if you're going to go for childhood-reminiscent treats, you should go all the way. They didn't have a Flake to put in it but that would have been good too. Can you hear that? It's the distant tinny jingle of the ice-cream van and you're going to ride your BMX over to its source.
If you are an adult and want an excuse to go and try this, may I suggest you finally get that chip on your windshield fixed? There's a shop where you can get it done for a fiver right behind the garage a few blocks down from Mister Softy.