Friday, 7 February 2014

Hello Gelo

15 Anderson Street, Yarraville, VIC 3013
Hello Gelo on Urbanspoon
HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR! I haven't been eating out much because there is so much good food at home right now and I am still going through leftovers... I wish it was like this all year round. Anyway, back to to the blog and it gives me great joy to be able to finally write this blog. The topic - gelato! It's been a while since I wrote about Asian-influenced desserts but here it is in the new Horse year. Firstly, I have to declare that I know the owners of Hello Gelo, so I might be biased but my tastebuds are pretty honest (I hope). This place has also been reviewed by considerthesauce, so if you don't trust me, trust Kenny who writes one of the best blogs around town.

I have been to Hello Gelo many many times but have never taken a single photo!! Too busy choosing flavours, chatting and eating it all before it melts! So, I am sorry this blog post has not pics. I promise to get some the next time I am there.

The Place
Set within the trendy Yarraville Village, this is an ice-cream joint. The dominant colour scheme is bright happy orange and it's always clean. The poster board with all the performances around town and all the thank you notes from local schools and children indicates the community mindedness and contribution of this place. It's not one of those imported trendy "too cool for school hipster" gelati places, which makes me love it even more. No dark wood and leather furniture in sight and it reminds me of the good old days when ice-cream shops were bright happy places. There are limited seats upstairs and on the pavement but most people seem quite content to wander the along Anderson Street with their gelati and sorbet in hand.

Things to do Nearby: The Village has many shops to explore and The Sun Theatre.

The Food
The gelato and sorbet are made on premises and real ingredients are used. You only have to check out considerthesauce to see evidence of the yummy ingredients. Having been here many times, I have tried many of the flavours. Highlights for me include the vanilla (which I don't usually have but is so good here), chocolate, peanut butter, chocolate orange (jaffa which is one of my favourites), and lemon sorbet. However, I am not here to talk about those traditional flavours. I am here to discuss the Asian-inspired flavours.

Coconut - Coconut gelato is tricky, it is perhaps the one flavour where you might not want to be overpowered by the coconut so that it tastes like cold coagulated coconut milk. It is a skill to get the balance of flavour, intensity and delicate smoothness. At Hello Gelo, the coconut gelato is quite delicate and light rather than intense.

Coconut with Mango Swirl - This is a very occasional flavour and perhaps one of my favourites as it evokes a classic Thai dessert flavour coupling. The delicate coconut gelato is coupled with flavourful mango swirls. I do wonder what it would be like if there was more solid bits of mango and if that might be too much. As it is, it is still a winner with me.

Pandan - Pandan is what some call Asian vanilla and its green tinged. It is used a lot in Asian deserts all over SEAsia and is delight to have.

Lychee Sorbet - Lychee is a luxurious fruit that many in Asia love for its intense sweetness and slight tanginess. The Lychee Sorbet at Hello Gelo makes me very happy because it's like having frozen lychees. This is probably my favourite Chinese New Year flavour here. Give me more!

Watermelon Sorbet - Ok, at the best of times, I am not a fan of watermelon juice or flavouring. I do like the fruit itself but everything else feels a bit strange to me. The sorbet here is light and refreshing but unsurprisingly, is not one of my personal favourites. I can imagine however, that if you like watermelon - this would be a total delight.

The Service
The service is helpful, friendly and generous. Always time to chat with the kids and always friendly. You can tell the pride in the flavours of made on premises gelati here and it is really something I look forward to each time. I also enjoy showing this place off to friends and family.

The down-to-earth nature of this locally owned gelati shop is what makes the local small operator food scene in Melbourne something to be very proud of. This is a gem and I hope more people will discover it - peel away pretensions and enjoy fresh real flavours without the hype.

Cultural Moment
Asian frozen delights exist from Pakistan all the way to Japan. Ice creameries exist even before the days of modern refrigeration. Some really popular traditional flavours include pistachio (India and Pakistan), mango and coconut (most of SEAsia), Sweetcorn, Yam, Atap Chee (nypa fruticans)(Malaysian and Singapore), green tea (Japan), red bean (Japan and China), black sesame (China including Hong Kong), pandan and durian (SEAsia). There are also crazy Japanese flavours like crab and jellyfish but I am not going there.

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