Stop press! Ice cream lovers can sleep easy once more. Following widespread reports earlier in the week that iconic ice cream parlour Marine Ices in Chalk Farm was about to close after a takeover by the Italian restaurant chain Ponti’s, we spoke to Paul Myatt, the managing director of the gelateria, who put us straight. ‘Ponti’s haven’t bought anything. They now rent and run the restaurant space from us. Since last May, the ice cream has been produced by Criterion Ices from their farm in Suffolk, but the quality is so good, most customers have not even noticed the change. They are continuing to serve up the original recipes that were developed by Gaetano Mansi [the founder of the business] years ago.’
Myatt said the name will remain unchanged and forwarded us a letter from Dante Mansi, grandson of Gaetano, who wrote: ‘With regard to Ponti’s, they have simply taken over the restaurant at Chalk Farm and will still be selling Marine Ices there as it has been for the last 82 years, along with their own food offering, as they wanted a presence in north London, and we as a family were ready to retire from the restaurant business.’
The restaurant can trace its roots back to Geatano Mansi who arrived in England in 1898 at the tender age of twelve, from Ravello on Italy’s Amalfi coast. In 1931 he started a small shop at No.8 Haverstock Hill in Chalk Farm, making ice creams and sorbets. In 1947, the place was given the name Marine Ices and remodelled to resemble a ship. Thankfully the story of Marine Ices sudden demise looks to be nothing more than a storm in an ice cream cone. Rebecca Taylor
Read our review of the former Marine Ices.