Dining Review – Gelato Messina Gelateria Melbourne

I think it’s fair to say Melbourne’s excitement for gelato has just increased at least 3 fold. I feel I can justify this because as a city we’ve recently been introduced to nitrogen gelato, we hosted the Gelato World Tour last month and this past week we finally reached the anticipated opening of Sydney gelateria, Gelato Messina which opened its doors on Thursday, 14th November.

The shop façade on Smith Street, Collingwood features a very modern, sleek and minimalistic design, with dark tinted windows and its name gilded in thin gold lines above the door, it would be easy to not notice this place if there weren’t such a long line of people stretching out from its front doors. I visited on Friday night, the day after it opened and the line wrapped down the outside of the store to the next door front, so were quick to snap up a spot in line before actually deliberating whether or not we were willing to wait in such a long line. However, it didn’t take long for us to notice the helpful implementation of crowd control that Gelato Messina had in place. That’s right, this gelato bar needed crowd control. Gelato Messina would be no stranger to long lines and eager crowds, I have heard that the enthusiastic masses that flock to their Sydney stores can almost be compared to the level of hysteria that would normally be saved for tween girls at a One Direction concert. However, their highly organised method of handling the line was great. There was one gentlemen who had the task of who working his way down the line, handing out menus and pointing out the flavour ‘specials’ of the day as well as guide the flow of traffic into the store at a reasonable time.

Gelato Messina Store Exterior

Gelato Messina Store Exterior

I applaud Gelato Messina for their well organised crowd control outside their store, but once I made it to the front of the line (I am going to say it took about 10 minutes maximum) I was shocked at how quickly the atmosphere turned to a manic free-for-all where waiting to be served became an entirely different story. I was directly in front of the window encasing the high pillowed mountains of gelato where behind it stood a dozen employees in cute Breton striped tops. I was patiently waiting to be served but ended up being numerously ignored as ice-cream servers gravitated towards the most pushy, forceful, demanding customers first, despite order of arrival or length of time spent patiently waiting. So, after my experience, take this lesson from me; once it’s your turn to order, speak up, smile and be quick to lock eyes with the next available server to rein in their attention like a lasso wielding cowboy before you get trampled on or pushed back by overly brazen folk.

Gelato Messina Interior

Gelato Messina Interior

You are certainly spoiled for choice when it comes to flavours at Gelato Messina which gets another favourable tick for the number of variety and level of creativity when it comes to their flavour assortment. A full listing on the regular flavours on offer can be viewed online, as well as their top 10 flavour combinations. They also Gelato Messina won first prize in the Gelato World Tour with their ‘Cremino’ flavour – salted caramel gelato with Italian meringue, gianduia fudge, fresh meringue and crushed amaretti biscuits. Once I spotted this the Specials menu, I was sold. I also tried the ‘Pannacotta with Fig Jam and Amaretti Biscuit’ and what I learnt to be another extremely popular flavour, their ‘Gianduia Bianca’ – white chocolate & hazelnut gelato with hazelnut praline, pictured below.

3 scoop gelato cup at Gelato Messina

3 scoop gelato cup at Gelato Messina

Gelato Messina were thoughtful in their approach to cater to a variety of customers and specific dietary requirements. The menu’s helpful addition of the allergy checklist ensures to state which flavours contains nuts, gluten, egg, or alcohol and in addition to their indulgent ice cream selections, the menu also feature a large selection of refreshing, dairy free sorbets. They are not shy to promote their use of high-quality, fresh ingredients and this was further promoted though the design of a glass window through to their kitchen where you can watch the gelato masters churn their confectionary creations. Also look out for their cabinet of gelato cakes. I did not get to try one but they look incredible! You can see their full range of cakes online.

Gelato Messina Cake Cabinet

Gelato Messina Cake Cabinet

I found the prices were reasonable, but for the length of effort it took to order my gelato I was not settling for one measly scoop or limiting myself to sampling only one flavour (by that I also mean I apologise I do not remember the price of 1 scoop!) but at $6 for 2 scoops and only one cheeky dollar extra at $7 for 3 scoops, you can easily be persuaded for going all out and you won’t regret it later. What really makes the gelato so special is not only the unique and hyperventilating level of exciting flavour combinations. Although the flavours sound decadent and rich to the possible point of being overpowering, the gelato has such a surprisingly delicate texture and incredibly soft, smooth, buttery consistency, juxtaposed to the luscious explosion of taste bud frenzy it produces. They could have been a little more generous with their servings and the ultra-soft consistency caused it to melt in rapid time, resulting in all the gelato combining into one soupy flavour surprise. That being said, it was one amazing treat, Gelato Messina really does serve a superior level of quality gelato and I dare say that if you decide to make the trip here, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Gelato Messina 

237 Smith Street, Fitzroy.

Sunday to Thursday 12pm-11pm
Friday to Saturday 12pm-11.30pm

Gelato Messina Fitzroy on Urbanspoon

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Melbourne Darling’s Top 5 Picks for the Queen Victoria Wednesday Night Market

The Queen Victoria Night Market is back to excite your Wednesday night plans from now until the end of Summer. But before you race on down and make a bee line for the spiral fries like everyone else, read my wrap up of the top  5 things to do at the Wednesday Night Market this season:

1. Hammer and Tong’s Soft Shell Crab Burger

Last week I reviewed Hammer and Tong and their ever popular contribution to Melbourne’s gourmet burger scene with the Soft Shell Crab Burger. Well firstly, I advise you make the first thing you do when you arrive at the Night Market is to pinch yourself a table early, while you still can. I find the Night Market only gets busier and busier each year and the later the night gets, the increasing number of people flock to the dining areas and begin their hunt for a seat.  So before you go exploring the market stalls, I suggest you find a table with your group first and eat early in the evening.

That being said, if you were looking forward to trying the Soft Shell Crab Burger for yourself, the Wednesday Night Market is a great opportunity to do so. Hammer and Tong’s market stall is especially dedicated to pumping out those delicious burgers all night, so you’re getting the same delicious meal as you would if you were to order it in their restaurant, but for a few dollars cheaper too!

Hammer and Tong Soft Shell Crab Burger at the Night Market

Hammer and Tong Soft Shell Crab Burger at the Night Market

2. Vintage Hub

Among the sea of regular market stalls at the Queen Victoria Night Market – cheap sunglasses, handmade soaps, band t-shirts and jewellery - coconut watches anyone? This year it was refreshing to see the addition of the ‘Vintage Hub‘. Hosted by Vintage Garage, The Vintage Hub is a cluster of stalls selling an assortment of all things vintage from pre-loved and reworked clothing to retro homewares. Check out Grandma-Funk for her one-of-a-kind collection of vintage European leather patch jumpers and Vonruby for a gorgeous Vintage hairdo and makeover.

Vonruby

Vonruby Vintage Hair and Makeup at The Night Market

 3. Live Music

Your perfect summer evenings at the Wednesday Night Market are made complete with festive tunes hosted by Multicultural Arts Victoria. Each week features a selection of the diverse mix of performers. From my experience, some bands are extremely funky and engaging and will invite the crowd to get up and dance. A couple of sangria’s later and you may just be more than eager to get up and join them! You can view the full program of gigs for the 2013-2014 season here.

4. Dessert

After all that walking and talking (and perhaps after the last point, some dancing too?) you would have most likely worked up your second (or third) appetite for the night, and with so many exciting and exotic variations of food on offer, you’d be glad you did! There are so many food stalls you are bound to find something to tickle your fancy, but if you are having trouble deciding, try the Creme Brulee or Lemon tart macaron from Macaron De Paris, the Dutch Pancakes or the French Crepes (just look out for the giant tubs of Nutella)

Macarons from Macaron De Paris at The Night Market

Macarons from Macaron De Paris at The Night Market

5. Sangria!

It just wouldn’t be right if you didn’t put Sangria on your list of things to do at the Night Market! Not only do Running Bull Sangria offer a red and white wine variety, but they now have a couple of stalls set up around the market space, so you can sip on your fruity wine mix whilst browsing the market stalls in delight until…

oh! Whats that? You’ve finished your cup already and you’re already on the other side of the market by now? Oh look! There’s another sangria stall conveniently located two stalls down! And on it goes…

(Or for a non alcoholic sipping treat, try the original Lemonade stands instead!)

Running-Bull-Sangria-at-The-Night-Market

Running Bull Sangria at The Night Market

The Queen Victoria WednesdayNight Market

Every Wednesday night from 5pm-10pm

November 6th – February 26th (excluding December 25th & January 1st 2014)

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Roule Galette French Crêperie – Dining Review

It’s said that there is a little piece of Paris can be found in Melbourne if you were to head to the ‘Paris end‘ of Collins Street. Well I am here to debate that claim because I just had a wander down a little Melbourne laneway off Flinders Lane that I found to be très bohème and très Parisien. Scott Alley and the laneway across from it, Manchester Lane are fine examples of the cutest little laneways you can find hidden amongst the Melbourne CBD. Manchester Lane is where you will find hip new not-for-profit cafe Shebeen (which I can’t wait to try for myself!) and Lady Petrova, a store akin to a Polly Pocket pastel wonderland filled with one of a kind designer pieces handcrafted by fashion designer and store owner extraordinaire Petrova (whom you might recognise from the 2008 season of Project Runway Australia).

Across from this store is a quaint little French crêperie lined with colourful lights and a wooden facade called Roule Galette. Upon being seated we were greeted by a French gentleman who provided us with menus and water for the table. The menu was extremely extensive for a crêpe place and there was an extensive selection of sweet and savoury options in addition to a list of extra toppings you could add to your selection as well as a specials board. I will point out that it is worth reading the entire menu as we found it quite entertaining to see some of the names and descriptions of menu items possibly a little lost in translation… For example, goat’s cheese just doesn’t have the same appeal when it is translated literally from French to ‘goat dung’  and some descriptions in attempting to come across as poetically descriptive just ended up sounding a little odd, for example;  ‘where fresh strawberry prepared by my grandma flirts with the whip cream’, ‘where vanilla ice cream meet with melted chocolate under a rain of almonds’ or ‘where hot chocolate try to come in a pouch full of whip and ice cream’. But owners of Roule Galette, if you are reading this, please do not change these adorably funny descriptions in your menu, we loved it and felt it added to the authenticity to the foreign roots of the place, as though the crêpe store was freshly plonked here in a Melbourne laneway straight from the streets of Paris. To complete the romanticised European atmosphere, we could even hear the sounds of a jazz band floating through the night air. Well played Melbourne, very well played.

Roule Galette Exterior

Roule Galette Exterior

The staff we encountered at Roule Galette were entertaining and accommodating, happy to make alterations to the menu items. I ordered ‘The Piaf’ crêpe from the specials board with toppings including caramel sauce, bananas, almonds and ice cream. The waiter was friendly and jovial, serving my order but not before asking me if I knew who Piaf was and jokingly telling me I had to sing one of her songs before I could have my food (don’t worry, ears were saved that night and I was actually served my meal without having to belt out Non, je ne regrette rien). The crepe was beautifully presented and tasted delicious and decadent. The crepes were soft and with a nice, even consistency which I was thankful for after a recent visit to Breizoz French Creperie in Gertrude Street where the crepes looked fantastic but tasted what I imagined to be like eating paper thin crunchy autumn leaves through mouthfuls of air… not good.

Piaf Crepes Special at Roule Galette

Piaf Crepes Special at Roule Galette

On my visit I was dining with a large group of and staff had no problems when we had an extra few people join us later, and we didn’t feel any pressure to pay and leave right away. This is the cutest little place to wander to after dinner in the city for a scrumptious dessert. The crepes I had at Roule Galette were the closest thing I have so far found to the authentic French crêpes I encountered in France and I am so glad to now know of this sweet little spot. Collins Street can keep its ‘Paris End’; Manchester Lane and Scott Alley are my little pockets of Paris in Melbourne!

Roule Galette on Urbanspoon

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