Girls and Boys is a takeaway joint for anyone with a sweet tooth. The twist? It’s vegan.
Its owners, Laki Papadopoulos and Mark Price, now own a serious chunk of plant-based dining real estate on Brunswick Street. Girls and Boys opened in December next door to sibling vegetarian restaurants, Vegie Bar and Transformer.
“Desserts are all about having fun,” says Papdopoulos. “The joy of having a choc-top melting down your arm, it’s a fun thing and shouldn't be taken too seriously.”
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“But at the same time,” he says, “I want something that won’t make me feel yuck after.”
The menu at Girls and Boys is 100 per cent plant-based, with no refined white sugar – something Papadopoulos has been opposed to since having children, and seeing a family member diagnosed with diabetes.
“We have tried to partner something that's seen as decadent with quality ingredients that happen to be good for you also,” he says. “You can have your cake and eat it too. Literally.” As an example, the soft serve and gelati (made with a blend of coconut and soy milks) are sweetened with unrefined rice syrup.
Pastry chef Jackson Magner, who has long been making vegan desserts and ice-cream at Vegie Bar, spent 12 months developing the menu for Girls and Boys (think orange and lavender mousse, a matcha almond tart and maca fudge bars). Alongside desserts, there’s a range of pressed juices, smoothies, thick shakes and speciality lattes.
A Mr Whippy-style choc-top is the most popular item, but the signature dish is a plated soft serve in a gluten-free cone, tipped on its side in chocolate and raspberry or baklava flavours. Papadopoulos loves the caramel miso gelato, especially when served in affogato form, with espresso poured over a scoop.
The space is contemporary with neon flourishes and a lot of concrete.
“The brief from day one was ‘fun’ and not taking the process too seriously, especially the feel,” Papadopoulous says. “That's where the interactive LED screen was born.” The screen responds to movement, encouraging the type of excitable gesticulations customers had when they were young and it was time for a treat.
“Hearing the Mr Whippy van down the street, scrambling for some coins and running like crazy trying to catch him,” Papadopoulous says. “Great memories.”
“It’s that idea of playful innocence and jumping up and down in front of a screen while waiting for your soft serve chocolate top. What could be better?”
Girls & Boys
382 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy 3065
(03) 9417 6766
Mon to Sun 11am–10pm