The HOT List: Top 12 Best icecream and gelato in Melbourne

Piccolina Gelateria, 802 Glenferrie R, Hawthorn

Melbourne, welcome to your heat wave.

Cool down with my Top 11 best ice cream and gelato in Melbourne, a difficult (but delicious) list to compile. In no particular order:

  1. Gelato Messina , 237 Smith St, Fitzroy

I used to live around the corner from Gelato Messina and god do I miss it. When it’s busy it’s like a nightclub, but the ice cream there is worth the wait. Their ice cream cakes are unbelievable – we’ve had them several times for special occasions and they always elicit oohs and ahs.

gelato messina

  1. N2 Extreme Gelato 329 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Watch your ice cream being made as the custard is frozen using clouds of liquid nitrogen, resulting in a very smooth and light consistency. They serve up a rotation of bizarre flavours weekly.

n2 extreme gelato

3. Jock’s Ice Cream and Sorbets, 83 Victoria Ave, Albert Park

A favourite with Albert Park locals and an ice cream store worth travelling for – just look at all the prizes on the wall.

4. Gelato Primavera / Spring St Grocer, 157 Spring St, Melbourne

Classic Italian gelateria with clean, fresh flavours and a lovely view of Parliament House.

spring st grocer

  1. Helados Jauja, 254 Lygon St, Carlton

Argentinian ice cream store with a selection of unique South American and Asian flavours (the owner is Asian).

  1. Candied Bakery, 81a Hudsons Rd, Spotswood

The soft serve machine at Candied Bakery smashes out some unique flavours every week, often coinciding with whatever festive occasion is happening at the time.


  1. Il Dolce Freddo, 116 Lygon St, Carlton

The best Asian flavours of gelato I’ve had in Melbourne. Their pandan is to die for and if you like durian ice cream, this is the place to get it.

8. Pidapipo, 299 Lygon St, Carlton

My new favourite gelateria, mainly for their creamy and clean-tasting hazelnut hidden inside the stainless steel Italian-built pozzetti fridge. According to this article you can always judge the quality of a gelateria by their hazelnut gelato, which is gram for gram the most expensive gelato to produce.


9. Miinot Gelato, 71 Melville Rd, Pascoe Vale

A tiny shop with a huge following for its freshly churned gelati made on site with a daily rotation of flavours.

il melograno

  1. Il Melograno, 76 High Street, Northcote

Forget the choc tops at the Westgarth Cinema and save your appetite for a post-movie cone at this authentic Italian gelateria instead.

Piccolina Gelateria, 802 Glenferrie R, Hawthorn

11. Piccolina Gelateria, 802 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn

Italian-owned shop making granitas, sorbets and gelato with natural ingredients and no preservatives, colourings, premixes or thickeners.

Zero Gradi, 1/93-97 Lygon St, Brunswick East

12. Zero Gradi, 1/93-97 Lygon St, Brunswick East

Authentic Italian gelato made on site daily from the team behind 400 Gradi pizzerias. Try the margherita gelato, which is nothing like the pizza!

Where are your favourite place for ice cream and gelato in Melbourne?

What’s On – Australia Day 2015

bad frankie

Happy Australia Day ! Here’s a list of what’s happening around town to celebrate our national day. They are mostly free. (Try this lamington jaffle from Bad Frankie bar while you’re at it!)






HOT: 5 and Dime Bagel, 16 Katherine Place, Melbourne

5 and dime bagel

5 and Dime Bagel’s New York style boiled bagels have been gaining a loyal following from farmer’s market shoppers for the past two years.

 While you can still buy 5 and Dime Bagel at Flemington and Gasworks farmers markets, they have opened a permanent store in Katherine Place, near the King St end of Flinders Lane. They are one of half a dozen new, small, food enterprises that will hopefully turn that rather dead area of the CBD into a vibrant culinary destination. 

I love 5 and Dime Bagel for their chewy but not too dense texture and slightly crunchy crust. They are hand rolled, boiled and baked fresh every day on site and then distributed to other outlets as well as tumbled into wooden trays in their new premises. 

5 and dime bagel

The small cafe is reminiscent of an old-school American diner. Not the ones with kitschy, brightly coloured decor but the sort of subdued neighbourhood hangouts I can imagine found in tumbleweed Midwestern towns. When I walked in I was immediately reminded of the film The Last Picture Show. 

5 and dime bagel

The cafe offers bagels with a rotating selection of flavoured cream cheese (schmears) and fillings, all made in house. You can buy bagels to take away ($2 or 6 for $11) or sit down for a simple bagel sandwich and an espresso or filtered Promised Land Coffee. 

5 and dime bagel

My tip is to go for the dill bagel. The dill bagel has no added salt, which is unbelievable as it is so full of flavour. Combined with their house cured salmon/trout and cream cheese combo and it’s one heavenly sandwich.

They are purists with their bagels too. It is usual for bagels to be toasted in other cafes but here they don’t toast them because the bagels are so fresh. They bake constantly, throughout the day, so even if you arrive at the end of the lunch hour the bagels are still fresh.

 I can’t get on a plane to New York so 5 and Dime Bagel is the closest I’ll get to having a New York breakfast. And now you don’t have to wait for the weekend for your bagel fix!

5 and Dime Bagel, 16 Katherine Place, Melbourne

Monday to Friday 7:00 am to 3:00 pm

5 & Dime Bagels on Urbanspoon

HOT: The Island Bird by Ernesto Neto, 3rd floor, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

ernesto neto ngv

One of National Gallery of Victoria’s newest international contemporary acquisitions is Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto’s “The Island Bird”. It’s an interactive, immersive installation which will delight young and old.

ernesto neto ngv

“The Island Bird,” enables visitors to enter within the exhibit by climbing into a 10m wide roof-mounted, hanging network of rope tunnels.

The ropes are hand-knotted together using a traditional craft technique to create a suspended nest. It’s quite incredible that these thin threads are able to hold the weight of thousands of rubber balls and several humans (only five people are allowed inside at once).

ernesto neto ngv

It’s an unusual vantage point to be able to look out from an artwork into the gallery space, breaking down the traditional divide between art and the viewer. The mesh of tropical colours gives a different vista at every turn.

At the back of the tunnel is a resting area with knotted cushions and informal seating where you can relax and rest. In fact, the gentle swinging of the work as people move in and around The Island Bird is quite soothing.

ernesto neto ngv

The Island Bird is a fun way to get really involved in art. It’s also a beautiful structure for calmer, more meditative moments as you hover in the air, gently swaying.

The Island Bird by Ernesto Neto, 3rd floor, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road Melbourne

Open every day (except Tuesdays) 10am-5pm

Exhibition open until Sun 19 April 2015

Free entry

HOT: Pop Up Scroll, 86 Smith Street, Collingwood

pop up scroll

In a continuation of Melbourne’s love affair with sweet baked goods, Pop Up Scroll is a temporary pop up shop on Smith Street pedalling scrolls and I was invited for an afternoon tea of scroll tasting.

 A former Chinese herbalist shop has been transformed by the married owners (a pastry chef and interior designer) into a gelati-coloured doll’s house with retro features.

pop up scroll

Inside is a temporary purpose built kitchen (the lease expires in May), a counter luring customers with different scroll flavours and some cute seating along the wall and in the window.

 pop up scroll

Twice a day scrolls are freshly baked, glazed and topped. Their sell out is the original cinnamon scroll with cream cheese frosting and it is my favourite. Unlike traditional cinnamon scrolls, say from Scandinavia, these scrolls are not dense, yeasty and bread-like. The dough is based on a brioche recipe, which means the texture is butter and fluffy. Really it’s more like a doughnut than a bread product – and hence you can easily eat more than one!

 pop up scroll

In fact, my recommendation is to buy mini scrolls ($3) rather than the large scrolls ($4) so that you can try more than one flavour. Other favourites include the peanut butter and banana and decadent chocolate with salted caramel. I’m not such a fan of the coconut and white chocolate scroll as the dessicated, caramelised coconut topping was tooth-achingly sweet, even for a seasoned sweet tooth like myself.

pop up scroll

 You can pair your fragrant scrolls with a coffee by Coffee Supreme and if you’re desperate for something savoury they do offer a few options.

 After the 6 month lease is up there are plans for a more permanent shop for Pop Up Scroll in the inner north (which will then be called Eat a Scroll). Until then, get your scroll fix on Smith Street.

 Pop Up Scroll, 86 Smith Street, Collingwood

Monday-Friday 8am-4pm

Saturday 9am-4pm

Pop Up Scroll on Urbanspoon

HOT: Heal.Thy Self Co., 26 Ballarat St, Yarraville

heal thy self

If one of your New Years resolutions is to ‘eat better’ or ‘be healthier’ then Heal.Thy Self Co. is the place to head.

Despite my aversion to its pun- and punctuation-overdosed name, Heal.Thy Self Co. is worth a visit for its healthy, organic, often raw, mostly vegetarian food. Produce comes from their grocery neighbour Plump Organic.

Their smoothie, tea and juice menu is longer than their food menu but if you want your nutrients in solid form then there are still some interesting options.

I start with the Almond Crusted Chicken Schnitzel wrap ($10) because it sounds like something normal in amongst a dizzying array of superfood ingredients that are very ‘now’ – chia seed, maca powder, quinoa and acai.

heal thy self

It turns out to be DIY wholemeal wrap with chunks of chicken, organic salad greens, cheese and almond butter dressing. Naturally delicious in its own right with a secondary benefit of being healthy.

For dessert I try the chocolate chia parfait which is gluten free, raw and dairy free ($14). This beautiful concoction contains the gelatinous gooeyness of soaked chia seeds, a rich dose of chocolate chia mousse, fresh berries, crunchy activated bukinis and topped with delicate edible flowers.

heal thy self

I hope it’s good for me as it certainly doesn’t look like it will do my waistline any good. The fleshy chia seeds make the dish extremely filling and it could easily be shared between two. Unfortunately the chocolate chia parfait is not available any more, replaced with a more summery version minus the chocolate.

I enjoyed my lunch at Heal.Thy Self Co. as it makes enjoying healthy food easy and delicious. If you want to continue your well-being journey, at Heal.Thy Self Co. you’ll also find a naturopath, personal trainers, yoga teacher and shiatsu massage on site.

Heal.Thy Self Co. 26 Ballarat Street, Yarraville

Mon to Fri 6:30am – 4:00pm

Sat & Sun 7:30am – 4:00pm

Healthy Self Co on Urbanspoon

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