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First look: See inside Aberdeen’s new Instagrammable ice cream parlour

16 Below.
16 Below.

Aberdeen food and drink group Watermelon Catering has opened a new “Instagrammable ice cream parlour” in the city centre.

Known as 16 Below, the 30 square metre parlour launched this afternoon and will be open from 2pm to 9pm daily, with plans to extend these hours over the summer.

Located on Whitehall Road, customers will not only be able to tuck into a series of Mackie’s ice cream flavours but also sundaes, cookies and cheesecakes.

The six-strong team, which may increase to as many as 10 in summer, has been working around the clock to bring the venue to life since Watermelon Catering’s director, Martin McAuley, picked up the keys to the premises just weeks ago.

The parlour is based on Whitehall Road.
Mackie’s of Scotland ice cream is available.

They have also been developing a number of recipes.

Coco Pops milkshakes and ice cream cookies

Ice cream cookies and handmade cheesecakes are among the food and drink offering. But Martin, from Old Aberdeen, believes the venue’s Coco Pops milkshake will prove incredibly popular.

He says: “16 Below is going to have a range of handmade cheesecakes with the option to pick your flavour, top with your choice of hot sauce and toppings to, basically, make your cheesecake customisable.

“We will also be making our signature ice cream cookie sandwiches which will be loaded with hot sauce and toppings, too.

“These are a must. I would say though, the Coco Pops milkshake is one of my favourite things on the menu.

“It’s like the leftover chocolate milk from your breakfast cereal but thick and creamy, with crunchy Coco Pops.”

All ice cream is being sourced from Mackie’s of Scotland.

This will not only include their core range, but also custom flavours that are not generally available.

Orders can also be made for collection and delivery on Deliveroo.

Why ice cream?

When questioned on why he decided to join the ice cream market, Martin felt there was a gap in the market for a homemade dessert offering in the area.

He has also sold ice cream in all of his cafes for “a long time” but has always wanted to open a standalone ice cream parlour.

One of the murals inside 16 Below.
An ice cream cone.

Martin’s other cafes include:

  • Corner Tree Cafe, opened May 2016
  • Forest Cafe, opened December 2016
  • The Pier, opened March 2016
  • Bridge House Cafe, opened October 2018
  • Cafe Ahoy, opened April 2019

He continued: “We feel like this gives us an opportunity to fully focus on not only the ice cream but the dessert offering, too.

“The premises is next door to our Corner Tree Cafe.

Homemade cheesecakes are among the offering.

“The previous tenants decided to close that branch and the space became available, so we jumped at the chance to take it over and come up with a brand new concept as an addition to our group.”


In terms of the interior, 16 Below is sure to prove a hot spot for foodies as well as people who love capturing the perfect snap of their food and drink for social media.

The space has been given a “white, clean-cut and super cool” style.

“In total contrast to this, we have a huge mural on one of our main walls,” Martin went on to say.

“This awesome feature was created by Craig Fisher of Fisher Paint Co. He has taken a concept that was in our heads and ran with it. We are super excited for people to see the finished product.”

Martin McAuley.
The treat cabinet.

The parlour also has an Instagrammable space in its vestibule area, boasting a spray paint design that is “perfect for Insta selfies”.

“Our main goals are to provide dessert lovers with something different,” Martin said.

“We love serving in the local community in our Corner Tree Cafe, and are excited to extend that to our ice cream shop.

“We’ve already had local businesses approach us for pop-up scenarios so if that was an option, we’d love to look further into that.”

For more ice cream content…