Authentic Italian gelato in Malaysia? Not something I expected to find, but on a recent trip I visited an outpost of the expanding global empire of Morelli’s Gelato, and sampled some excellent gelato.
There is a back story (of course). Morelli’s was founded in England in 1907, when Giuseppe Morelli, a recent Italian immigrant, started selling home-made gelato from his bicycle.
Morelli’s first ice cream parlour opened in 1932, in Broadstairs, Kent. It is still there, and is recognised as one of Britain’s iconic shops. It even featured in the seaside episode of Mary Berry’s Absolute Favourites.
Fast forward more than 85 years and with a modern franchising business model Morelli’s now has outposts in far flung places, from Europe to the United States, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, including two outlets in Malaysia.
I visited Morelli’s Gelato in Bangsar – an up-market Kuala Lumpur suburb – where it is bang in the middle of the Bangsar Shopping Center. It’s easy to spot with its purple and white décor (and the huge bunch of balloons). Morelli’s can get mighty crowded on weekends, but when I visited first thing on a Sunday morning it was still quiet and the tables were empty. The friendly gelatiere (gelato maker) had just finished the day’s preparations and I was the only customer.
All the gelato is made fresh every day – from 7am to 11am the gelato is churned out according to the Morelli recipes. Around 18 flavours, from the Italian classics, to some with a local twist (like teh tarik – based on the milky tea found everywhere in Malaysia).
Surprisingly, there was no pistachio or hazelnut – classic gelato flavours – when I visited. The friendly gelatiere apologised – he was waiting on a new shipment of nuts being imported from Italy. Now that is a promising sign of gelato excellence. No artificial flavourings or colourings are used – all the gelati are based on quality natural ingredients.
Morelli’s is known for its sundaes – extravagant creations of gelato, fruit, luscious sauces and lashings of cream, served in stylish glasses. Very retro.
Instead, I plumped for unadorned gelato, pairing a classic chocolate with one of the local specialties, pandan. Served with a flourish in one of the fancy glasses – I felt like I was a little kid again – both flavours were excellent.
Along the way, I sampled several of Morelli’s other flavours: rose and white chocolate, lychee, and wildberry. Great gelato, beautiful texture.
Recognised as one of the best places for gelato in Kuala Lumpur, Morelli’s Gelato delivers an excellent quality product. The friendly service and comfortable surrounds make it a great place to relax with friends.
June 2018 update: Morelli’s Gelato has closed its two outlets in Malaysia.
Bangsar Shopping Center
285 Jalan Maarof
59000 Kuala Lumpur
T: +60 3 2282 0455