377 Little Bourke St (Access through Racing Club Lane)
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Who even eats ice cream these days? With Melbourne becoming more urbane by the day, Paddle Pops have long since been replaced with scoops of sticky gelato in creative flavours. After all, what’s not to like about denser, more concentrated ice cream with lower fat content?
With the advent of nitrogen gelato however, frozen dessert enthusiasts have taken their love of gelato one step further. The gelato mix is flash-frozen by liquid nitrogen for even smaller ice crystals, resulting in an even smoother texture. And Dex2rose Nitrogen Gelato is the new kid on the block – just look for the colourful chalk drawings on the pavement.
We went down the laneway to find a cafe with smiling faces, freshly churning gelato, and – let’s be honest; this is what everyone comes to see – dangerous-looking vats of liquid nitrogen. That said though, it may be science, but it’s definitely not clinical. The whole vibe is very Melbourne, and very laid back. Instead of the hit-and-run feel of most gelaterias around town, Dex2rose is a little oasis, encouraging you to sit down, pull out the paper, and take a breather from your day.
I try to never let salespeople catch me in the street, because I am a sucker for coercion. Case in point: despite planning to save room for the gelato, we were quickly persuaded into trying their Cold Pressed Juice ($5.95), made in-house with seasonal fruits that change every couple of days. On the day we visited, we were treated to a mixture of watermelon, Granny Smith apples, and Royal Gala apples. Cold press may sound like a marketing gimmick but I’m telling you, it is real. The juice was astoundingly fresh and delicious, and tasted much cleaner and more vibrant than juices made in a blender.
Next thing I know, I’ve been sweet-talked into trying some Cold Brew Coffee ($4.95), despite it being after 3pm. This is a great alternative to sweating it out over a flat white on a hot day. Though I like it best with a splash of milk and sugar syrup, it is just as easy to drink black, the taste of it nutty and smooth with barely any acidity.
On a side note, how cool are those bottles? Like every good cafe, Dex2rose is environmentally conscious, packaging their beverages in reusable bottles. If you like them so much and want to take one home, you can always pick them up for a couple dollars each.
Sometimes a dish is so cleverly named that you have to try it, and Maybe it’s Mapeline ($5.95, small) is definitely one of them. The creamy gelato, sweetened with grade A Canadian maple syrup, was chock-full of candied walnuts and topped with whipped cream. The mixture of sticky gelato and crispy nuts was downright addictive, and because it wasn’t overly saccharine, I could eat scoop after scoop without it being cloying.
Most dessert places have something salted caramel flavoured, and Dex2rose is no exception. However, in this case it’s actually a Salty Camel ($4.95, small), and like its name, it’s just a little bit different. Whilst the gelato itself is smooth and indulgent with salted caramel, it is churned through with glossy shards of crunchy home-made toffee. The result is a dentist’s nightmare that is full-on in both flavour and texture – just make sure you brush your teeth afterwards!
The Salty Camel was also the flavour that really showcased the gelato’s texture. Each spoonful pulled away in sticky, stretchy strands, and was silken and rich on the tongue.
On the lighter end of the spectrum was the Fash Pash ($4.95, small) – an upside-down passionfruit cheesecake gelato with a very Aussie name. This was an ideal summer treat, the gelato packed full of tangy, tropical passionfruit flavour, topped with a biscuit crumb.
Making one last valiant effort, we tried the Strawberry on a Beach ($4.95, small), which was once again, a traditional flavour with a bold twist. The gelato itself was fruity and not overly sour, but the most striking feature is the whipped cream, which was infused with a fragrant mixture of coconut and floral rosewater. And this delicious little concoction is dairy free, gluten free, and vegan, so all you poor souls with allergies, rejoice!
Though nitrogen gelato has been at the forefront of the dessert scene ever since N2 Extreme Gelato showed up in Melbourne, I feel that it’s stagnated somewhat as of late. The focus of some stores (not N2 – N2 is fantastic) has been more on the theatrics rather than flavour, and some of the ones I’ve tried tasted no different to fancy toppings mixed into ice cream. Thus, Dex2rose comes as a breath of fresh, innovative air, with Jesse at the back brewing up new concoctions to be released every fortnight. There’s a super exciting flavour coming up on the menu that I’m not allowed to give away but, it contains bacon, so keep your eyes peeled!
Rating: 14.5/20 – rosy.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.
Sweet and Sour Fork dined as a guest of Dex2rose Nitrogen Gelato.