As Melbourne finally heats up (temporarily), the call for ice cream grows louder and louder. I can’t say no to ice cream so let’s not waste anymore time and I will share some more hotspots, following on from my last post Gelato in Melbourne.
The Lab: 188 Bourke St, Melbourne
The Lab shares a similar concept to N2 Extreme Gelato, with large machines full of nitrogen and clouds of smoke engulfing their scientific-looking employees.
Their location is more convenient, located in the heart of the city on Bourke St and so I eagerly joined a long queue. Their flavours don’t sound as exciting as N2, but that’s not what matters. We ended up with a banana honey crunch and salted caramel popcorn ($6 each).
The banana was nice and sweet with some added texture of muesli on top and the salted caramel matched well with the popcorn pieces scattered on top.
The problem is I found N2 flavours a lot more smooth and wholesome. They seem to find a way to cohesively mix flavours together whilst adding innovative things such as a creme brulee layer on top, whereas The Lab just put pieces of things on top. So if you’re in the city, it should satisfy your ice cream cravings but if you have time I’d suggest venturing out.
The Lab is open Mon-Thurs and Sun 12pm-11.30pm and Fri-Sat 12pm-1am.
Gelato Messina: 237 Smith St, Fitzroy
Another new and well-anticipated shop is Gelato Messina. Heralding from Sydney with great popularity, winner of this year’s Australian stage of the Gelato World Tour, and voted the best gelato in Australia by the Good Food Guide, there’s every reason for the hype surrounding them.
A great queue greeted us on a Friday night, but they even have takeaway menus for you to look at whilst you wait. In addition to that, they have a Specials board, which makes the decision of what flavour to get that much harder.
In addition to your everyday flavours (above), I tried to avoid the generic salted caramel that was also on show and instead my eyes lit up at my other true love, white chocolate. I was also interested by the apple pie flavour so I got a scoop of that and their special, nicciolino, which was described as white chocolate and hazelnut gelato with frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) soaked sponge and gianduia (sweet chocolate containing hazelnut) ganache (2 scoops, $6). Phew.
Until now, I didn’t even realise what those ingredients were and now I realise the abundance of hazelnut. There were some chunks of all these things, sponge, ganache and apple pie, that made the gelato quite tasty and full of surprises. We couldn’t quite put out finger on what it was, but we’re 90% sure it was the frangelico sponge that was the tastiest addition to the gelato.
The apple pie also uncannily resembled the actual taste of apple pie quite well, with pies of pie throughout it. Finally getting to try it, I can understand the hype and the queue, however you will see where my heart lies at the end of this post.
Their outfit is also very funky, located on Smith St it’s a must. There’s quite a few spots to sit on the curvy benches inside and enjoy your gelato as well, and if you’re up for it you can even order tubs of ice cream or the misto plate ($12), a plate of five flavours.
Gelato Messina is open Mon-Thurs and Sun 12pm-11pm and Fri-Sat 12pm-11.30pm.
Il Dolce Freddo: 116 Lygon St, Carlton
If anyone ever refers to “Freddo’s” for short, this is where they mean. Located on Lygon St, there’s plenty of competition from other gelato shops yet on a Saturday night, this place still managed to be constantly busy.
Even glancing at the flavours, most of them were close to finished. They have a wide range of flavours but are not as experimental, with Asian nuances. Flavours such as durian, green tea and lychee demonstrate this.
This time, I couldn’t resist their version of the salted caramel, and now I’ve realised my liking for bits and pieces in my gelato, I also tried the vanilla crunch. My friend went for a green theme, with green tea and pistachio. I think they were about $5-6, and the waffle cone was a nice touch.
They have limited tables to sit inside and some outside to enjoy the lively Lygon St atmosphere. I enjoyed the combination of my flavours and the crunchy bits of my gelato. My friend’s green tea was also good but not too strong. If I’m ever in the mood for ice cream that I know will be good, I can usually rely on Freddo’s. They are more traditional and no frills except for a few of their exotic flavours.
Il Dolce Freddo is open Tue-Sun 12.30pm-11pm.
Cones: 141A Station St, Fairfield
Cones is a local gelato shop in Fairfield, located on the busy Station St near Fairfield Station. After a brunch session at the amazing Fifteen Pounds, we took advantage of the hot day and walked over for our gelato fix.
Their flavours range from the classic bubblegum to the comforting and rich nutella. I was immensely tempted by the tim tam flavour (bottom left), but it looked too rich and full of chocolate for me to stomach in ice cream form.
Instead, I ended up with a honeycomb flavour, which seems to look like all the other flavours I get from other shops (salted caramel, hazelnut etc)! It wasn’t mind-blowing, but subtle and enjoyable. They had decent prices and we were really happy with how full they pack your cone/cup with ice cream as it’s rare for local places to be so generous.
Cones is open everyday 9.30am-9.30pm.
Cold Rock Ice Creamery: Shop 21, Janefield Drive, University Hill
University Hill is generally a very quiet and empty ghost town in the northern suburbs. However, Cold Rock seems to be full of people looking for a good dose of late night ice cream, who don’t want to venture towards the city. If you’ve never been, you get to choose various toppings for them to smash into your ice cream.
Their flavours aren’t that extensive, but at least they had white chocolate to satisfy me. When I realised I could get two flavours, I also got the mango sorbet as mango is my favourite fruit.
I got them to put in tim tams, a favourite chocolate snack of mine, and as I didn’t want it overflowing with hard chocolate pieces, I also got marshmallows to balance it out. It may not look pretty, but I think I created a pretty good combination.
I guess the only problem is customer service is a tad slow for perhaps one of the the only busy places at University Hill, and the person who served me didn’t seem too enthusiastic. To top that, he charged me the wrong price and had to come over to get more money off me. The toppings are also a bit expensive, all up it was about $8.90 or so.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t finish my filling serve of smashed ice cream as I was so full and if I’m ever feeling particularly lazy, I wouldn’t have to venture far to visit here.
Cold Rock is open Mon-Wed and Sun 10am-9pm, Thurs 10am-10pm and Fri-Sat 10am-11pm.
N2 Extreme Gelato: 329 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
It is evident from this post, that I eat way too much ice cream. No matter how much I like the other ones, I have decided N2 still wins in my heart but it most certainly depends on which flavours. Their popular French Earl Grey dulce de leche is a winner and third time around, this lemon meringue pie ($8) was also amazing.
The meringue swirl was warm and full of flavour, whilst it contrasted with the cold gelato below. The added shortbread to the serving made it an overall taste sensation and now the next on my list to try one day would be their ferrero reveal, considering how much I love ferrero rochers!
N2 Extreme Gelato is open everyday 1pm-11pm.