Kariton Sorbetes

177 Russell St
Melbourne, VIC 3000

For a long while, it used to be that Gelato Messina was the only place for non-traditional frozen treats. Recently though, there’s been an effusion of ice cream and gelato shops, each trying to outdo each other with their unconventional ingredients and wacky flavour pairings. Even more surprisingly, these places are actually good, rather than just real-life clickbait. Out of these, Kariton Sorbetes has been especially popular with the Asian crowd for their Filipino-inspired flavours. And honestly? The hype is real. With their one-of-a-kind flavour combinations that pay tribute to ingredients that are nostalgically familiar to many born in Asia, Kariton is an excellent modern rendition of the gelateria.

Rating: 14.5/20 – not too sweet.
Must-order: taho!
Good to know: the queue gets long after dinner, but as long as you’re there before 8-ish it’s a pretty short wait.

Ube Halava/Turon ($8.7, 2 scoops)

First-timers will inevitably get the Ube Halava ($8.7, 2 scoops), if not for love of purple yam, then for its vivid, eye-catching hue. This is a lovely rendition, with a smooth texture and a mellow sweet nuttiness. My only complaint is the lack of promised blackberry jam and roasted coconut curds, but this is still nonetheless an excellent ube gelato. If you want something with a bit more wow-factor however, the Turon ($8.7, 2 scoops) will do it, with its sticky banana gelato, folded through with muscovado caramel and chunks of creamy jackfruit. You even get a caramelised toffee spring roll wrapper on top.

Buko Pandan ($6.5, 1 scoop)

If you’re a fan of the classics, then the Buko Pandan ($6.5, 1 scoop) sorbet is a must-must order. Though relatively unassuming compared to some of the other options, this one is a sleeper hit. The pandan flavour is beautiful, its fragrance enhanced by nutty notes of roasted coconut. The tender chunks of pandan jelly and young coconut are delicious, especially if you get some of the crunchy toasted rice flakes in the same bite. It is such a beautifully harmonious set of flavours, and a fun contrast of textures.

Brew’Ha/Sans Rival

The Brew’Ha was a weekly special, but unfortunately it’s… not that special. Though a very well done hazelnut flavour, I just couldn’t taste any of the promised beer caramel. The Sans Rival though did live up to its name, with a gorgeous nutty brown butter flavour, and plenty of crispy, sugary cashew praline mixed through.

Taho ($8.5)

Aside from gelato and sorbets, there’s also a couple of traditional Filipino desserts that’s been given a frozen spin. I’ve not heard much about the Taho ($8.5) here, but everyone who isn’t getting this is missing out, hard. Based on the dessert of silken tofu and sago pearls, this is a phenomenal sundae made with soy milk soft serve, sago in oolong syrup, and soy milk panna cotta. The result is positively fabulous, showcasing all the textures and flavours of taho in a completely new form. It is delicious, clever, and so very much fun.

Halo Halo ($10.5)

Compared to the perfect simplicity of the taho, the Halo Halo ($10.5) had waaaaaaay too much going on. Though fun to eat with its of jellies and fruits and sorbets and flan and flakes and crispy bits, I honestly had no idea what was happening at any point.

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