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The Market SE1: Artisan ice cream on the Shonan coast

by Robbie Swinnerton

We surely haven’t been the only ones thirsting for ice cream throughout this long, sultry summer. Those cravings have been assuaged by regular doses of the superb gelati made by Grom. As of last month, there are now three outlets in Tokyo for these outstanding (and pricey) Italian ices, which many people rate as the finest in the world.

But, wonderful though they are, Grom’s super-premium scoops have not been our absolute favorite this year. That accolade goes to The Market SE1, a brilliant little gelateria close to the Shonan coast in Enoshima. Open since last summer, this tiny place redefines the very meaning of hands-on artisan quality.

Working solo in a tiny kitchen little bigger than a closet, owner Yasuo Atarashi makes every single batch of the 10 different ice creams he sells, producing them fresh each day in limited quantities. Using milk from free-range Brown Swiss cows in Oku-Izumo (Shimane Prefecture), he changes his lineup virtually every day — and they’re so popular they often sell out by early afternoon.

His seasonal specials are inventive and memorable. They are made from fresh produce sourced from around the country: Furano melons from Hokkaido; pineapples and mango, Okinawa; Kyoho grapes, Yamanashi; watermelons and blueberries, Kanagawa; and lemons from the islands of the Inland Sea. Other recent hits have included cherry tomato, fresh plum, kiwi and cucumber, and peach with cinnamon.

Alongside his gelato display case, Atarashi has also squeezed in a small counter where he serves espressos plus a small range of panini at lunch (we loved the chorizo and mozzarella; the Mediterranean veggies with hummus was also good). It didn’t take long for his cozy little parlor to become a focal point of the neighborhood.

About the name: As any London foodie would know, it’s the postal code for the famous Borough Market. Atarashi worked several years in Britain and he’s an out-and-out anglophile. You can tell from the decor — plus the fact that he serves Pimms No. 1 Cup, which he makes with mint he picks from the shop’s front garden.

The Market SE1, 1-6-6 Katase Kaigan, Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa-ken; (0467) 24-8499; www.themarketse1.com. Open daily 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; nearest station: Enoshima (Odakyu, Enoden and Shonan Monorail lines) For details of Grom’s Tokyo stores, visit jtimes.jp/grom