Just about the only thing which this part of Surry Hills has ever lacked is a gelato bar, and now that there is one there – a Gelato Messina no less.
The scene is a fairly familiar one, even on a Monday night when we are there. Clusters of people spill out onto the footpath with cups and cones in hand, muffled house beats and, of course, the glass-encased bar completing the picture. The glass has fingers and palms pressed against it so often that it needs periodic wipe-downs throughout the day.
One of the first things your eye settles on is the feature wall emblazoned with a Surry Hills map, with local tropes and icons scattered through the streets. Zeno’s, the pizza and kebab institution formerly a resident of these premises, is endearingly honoured on the mural as well. Opening night specials included ‘Satay’ (peanut butter, peanuts, roasted coconut, spices) and ‘Sexual Chocolate’ (dark chocolate, white choc fudge, freeze-dried raspberries). But more sweetly, and less saucily, was ‘An Ode to Zeno’ – a light and lovely concoction of rosewater, brioche and pistachios, exclusive to the Surry Hills store. Specials generally last a week before something equally as intriguing takes its place, so it’s worth skipping in quickly to try these out.
Gelato Messina’s third venture (not including The Lab next door to their flagship digs) seems to have been much anticipated, despite the quick set-up after only being announced last month. Although smaller than the Darlinghurst store, rest assured that all the same whimsical and irreverent flavours are available here, along with a few of the elaborate cakes. Less elbowroom won’t be too much of a problem with Shannon Reserve across the way, making a perfect prelude to the coming spring.
Gelato Messina, Surry Hills
389 Crown Street, Surry Hills
Mon to Thurs noon–11pm
Fri & Sat noon–11.30pm