Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Birthday Weekend in Sydney Day 2 - Dessert at N2 Gelato

N2 Extreme Gelato
43/1 Dixon Street, Sydney CBD, NSW

I discovered something that I should've known all along. Like money, massages, jewellery and all those other things that you can't have TOO MUCH OF, gelato is something that I can eat indefinitely. Well, maybe until I explode.

After a supposed 'gelato fix' from Gelato Messina that sorted me out for barely one day, I was ready for MORE. Mochi had spoken of a gelato store that was very experimental and sciency. At first, I wasn't sold but we went there anyway and boy am I glad we did.

N2 Gelato is located in Chinatown. We got there at roughly 10pm and although it wasn't as insanely crowded as Gelato Messina had been, there was a healthy amount of dessert-goers making purchases throughout the time we were there.

The store is fascinating to watch. I'm sure this spectacle gets old for local Sydneysiders but as someone who's only watched liquid nitrogen tricks on TV, it was definitely a thrilling novelty. The decor is sort of hipster lab-like with the ice-cream making staff in long white labcoats, geek specs and the walls adorned with strange anatomical diagrams. Also, there's a helluva lot of smoke.

The premise is that you order your flavor and the N2 crowd churn it up in front of you, from liquidy ice-cream mixture to smooth, creamy gelato, with the help of a Kitchenaid and lots of liquid nitrogen.

Aside from that unique aspect of N2, the flavors are also left of centre. I mentioned in my previous gelato store critique that having unusual flavors is the new usual. Despite that, I still think there were some that stood out at N2.

Three Amigos (at the front) - with cocoa nibs, roasted brown rice and pretzels

I chose the Three Amigos as my flavor because I enjoyed the pretzel aspet of my gelato from Messina so much that I wanted more. Three Amigos had a very mild and milky base with a saltiness from the pretzels, bitter cocoa and crispy pops of brown rice. I loved this so much that after I finished, I went back for more... of the same flavor. Marc was shocked because I never order repeats of anything (so I have more to write about on this blog) but I was so hooked on the Three Amigos, that was all I wanted. And as embarrasing as it is to be the only person ordering seconds amongst your group of friends, I endured. And it was worth it.

Sour cream chocolate

Marc's flavor was the sour cream chocolate. I tasted a tiny spoonful, which wasn't enough to give any huge insight but I thought it was alright. It wasn't as heavenly as my flavor. Marc mentioned that it was quite sweet. I thought that was strange since usually sour cream is combined with chocolate to cut the sweetness.

Hello Mellow Strawberry - strawberry gelato with bits of happy marshmallow

Mochi and David took the non-piggish route. Rather than being one person ordering 2 x gelatos like moi, they shared the one Hello Mellow Strawberry. I had a bit of this and found it to be very fruity. Strawberry flavors in ice-cream and lollies easily taste artificial but this seemed more accurate. There was a surprising green centre, which we speculated as being the 'mellow' (marshmallow). Marc commented that he liked this flavor better than his own.

I don't think I need to point out that I loved N2 gelato. My eagerness to have a second serve on the same night proves that fact. Sure the actual making of the gelato is theatrical and distinct but in my view, the gelato needs to speak for itself in taste. I really loved the Three Amigos flavor not just because it was quirky and had salty and crunchy bits but because that base flavor was exquisitely mild, simple and just plain delicious. Even though the flavors at N2 are constantly changing, I believe that a good quality base indicates the potential for many excellent flavors. I just checked their blog and saw Cold Cross Buns as an Easter special flavor. I am kicking myself that I missed that!
N2 Extreme Gelato on Urbanspoon

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