If there was a business that could be known by a single moniker, Messina would certainly be one of them. The popular Sydney gelateria is known for its uniquely creative flavours combination and true to form flavours. The queues stretch down the street even during the depths of Winter when numb fingers grasp a cup of frozen temptation. Customers await the weekly special flavours but now this past week they have added something new at their Victoria Street branch - a dessert bar.
Located at the lab where the cakes and monoporziones were created, the dessert bar is where customers can mix and match a range of combinations to create their own unique sundae. The combinations start with either a cup, waffle cone, raspberry waffle cone, choux puff, crepe or donut. Then the choice is which one of the three gelatos to fill the sundae: burnt vanilla and Fanta and a mix of the two. A final flourish is a choice of 23 mix ins that include items such as smoked honey mousse, coconut sable, mandarin tuile and other Messina made goodies.
Messina's Nick Palumbo says, "The inspiration for the dessert bar was for a) customer to become more involved and create their own flavour combinations and b) to give our customers different eating experiences as many of the additions in the dessert bar can not be incorporated in a finished gelato." The dessert bar will be exclusive to the Victoria Street store and soft serve flavours and additions will change monthly.
There's a slight crush as everyone decides on what to order. Like us, many squint at the possible combinations offered in the custom sundaes but the amount of combinations make us feel like deer in the headlights and we don't know what to do but stare. Perhaps it is best to settle for some of the suggested combinations. All of the sundae suggestions are $9.90 each and a custom combo starts at $7.50 and depends on the number of mix ins added at a price of 80c each.
The most popular when we get there seems to be the Carni Candi as we see three go past us, held by wide eyed punters. The Carni Candi is a waffle cone filled with Fanta sorbet, redskin custard and Messina-made strawberries & cream jellies. The whole thing is then dipped in dark chocolate and topped with freshly made fairy floss. Whilst none of us are particular fans of Fanta, the sorbet is really quite refreshing. Digging further into the cone we get some of the Redskin custard that is frozen and tastes just like the childhood sweet and the strawberries and cream jellies are soft and melt in the mouth.
All of the sundaes have creative names and the Trailer Trash Brunch is a crepe lined cup filled with a Fanta sorbet and burnt vanilla gelato swirl, Cointreau set custard that becomes frozen once served, mandarin tuile & mandarin gel. The crepe is delicate and thin and it's one of the more refreshing options on offer despite the name and each bite ends with a mouthful of crunchy tuile.
Whilst it sounded intriguing the Honey I Burnt the Kids is surprisingly mild and all we can taste is a bit of sweetness. The burnt vanilla gelato isn't a favourite and it is served with a burnt honey mousse, smoked butter popcorn and smoked chocolate fudge sauce. There is a slightly burnt smokey flavour but overall this is our least favourite sundae.
It's probably not wise to create your own based on shouting out additions when you come across them. We decided to start with a donut because none of our other choices did. We decide on a mix of the two gelato and then it comes to the mix ins where we are truly befuddled. There is a choice of hot fudges, choc top dip, foams, jellies, gels, creamies, bits and bobs and crunchy bits. We add smoked chocolate fudge, coconut foam, and smoked popcorn. Like the Honey I Burnt the Kids, it's really mild tasting and the coconut foam is really missing the coconut flavour but of course as it is our creation, we have nobody to blame but ourselves!
So tell me Dear Reader, would you go for a custom creation or would you go for a suggested sundae? Would you choose the burnt vanilla gelato, Fanta sorbet or the combo? And which base would you prefer? The cup, waffle cone, raspberry waffle cone, choux puff, crepe or donut?
Shop 1/241 Victoria St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Dessert Bar opening hours:
Monday to Thursday from 5pm to 11pm
Friday: 5pm to 11.30pm
Saturday: 12pm to 11.30pm
Sunday: 12pm to 11pm