Malai’s Brooklyn-Made, Globally-Inspired Ice Cream Pop-Up At Gotham Market

Malai’s Brooklyn-Made, Globally-Inspired Ice Cream Pop-Up At Gotham Market
The Malai pop-up outpost at Gotham Market at The Ashland (Photo by Pamela Wong/BKLYNER)

Gotham Market at The Ashland (590 Fulton Street at Ashland Place) welcomed Malai Ice Cream Monday evening, the second vendor for the food hall’s rotating pop-up space.

Founded in 2015 by NYU Stern School of Business graduate, Pooja Bavishi, Malai is a small-batch artisanal ice cream company handcrafted in Brooklyn. Malai, which figuratively means “cream of the crop,” is inspired by Bavishi’s “memories” of growing up in an Indian household in North Carolina as well as her “nostalgia for food.”

“It’s all about flavors and smells and creating twists on those classics,” Bavishi told BKLYNER at the Gotham Market opening celebration. “It’s global—global ingredients, aromatic spices, and the influences from my point of view.”

Malai currently has 18 unique and sophisticated flavors available, with subtle notes of ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, or saffron incorporated into its offerings. Rose with Cinnamon Roasted Almonds is one of the brand’s first, and most popular, options. New flavors include Mango and Cream and Fig on Fig—created exclusively for the new Gotham Market pop-up outpost.

Malai’s Founder Pooja Bavishi (Photo by Morgan Ione Yeager)

“I always knew that I wanted my own dessert business,” Bavishi recalls. “I made this connection very early on that desserts make people happy. I made my first dessert (a white chocolate cheesecake) all by myself when I was ten, and ever since then I knew that I wanted to be in the business to make people happy.”

While Bavishi knew at an early age that she wanted a business model that brings customers joy, it wasn’t until years later that she discovered how she would achieve this. For Thanksgiving one year, she dusted off a housewarming present from her parents that she had never used before—an ice cream maker.

“I had a Friendsgiving [dinner] where I made ice cream for the first time, a ginger and star anise [flavor], and my friends were like, ‘We’ve never had this before.’ After that, during my last semester, I started recipe-testing for my bases and flavors,” she remembers.

A cup of Malai’s Fig on Fig and Ginger Root flavors at Gotham Market at The Ashland (Photo by Pamela Wong/BKLYNER)

BKLYNER had a taste of the new Fig on Fig flavor paired with a scoop of the Ginger Root. The Fig on Fig was subtly sweet and summery while the Ginger Root had the perfect amount of spiciness and kick. Both had a rich and dense consistency—a divine treat on a warm, summer evening!

Previously only available on weekends at Smorgasburg (Saturdays in Williamsburg and Sundays in Prospect Park), or online, fans of Malai’s delicious, aromatic ice cream can now get their fix during the week as well at Gotham Market where the pop-up will be open until November 1.

Gotham Market at The Ashland
590 Fulton Street (at Ashland Place), Fort Greene