Smoked-vanilla-bean soft serve covered in puff pastry bits and lathered in torched pastry cream; all made from scratch by Nathan Sasi and Christine Manfield. The ex-Nomad man and soon-to-be head chef at Mercado is collaborating with the dessert queen herself. It’s called Good Times Ice Cream and it’s opening later this month on Macleay Street, Potts Point.

“This is something I've wanted to do for years. Ever since I was a kid,” says Sasi. The ambitious chef, who’s joined in the business by wife Sali Sasi, says while there’s a lot of produce-driven, high-quality gelato in Sydney, no one’s really put the same effort in to soft serve. “Even though they look great and taste good, I think they are missing something – not using really, really good produce and making everything from scratch,” he says.

Manfield will be in the ice creamery during its first two weeks. She and Sasi are making everything themselves, cones included, from natural ingredients. “We make all our own bases using really good jersey milk cream. There’s no bullshit that goes into the ice cream. It will just be pure flavour and love,” he says.
It’s not just about soft serve, though. As you can imagine, Sasi and Manfield have been brainstorming like a pair of kids. “We want them to look fucking crazy. Not in a stupid way, but like heaps of garnishes and cool names,” Sasi says. The smoked-vanilla-bean soft serve with the pastry bits is a reimaging of a vanilla slice. The name will be Robert Matthew van Winkle, or the real Vanilla Ice.

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Each of the soft serves will be customisable and exaggerated with a wild selection of toppings and extras. Not just caramel sauce and cream, though Sasi hints at soft serves with sauce-filled caverns; others with tunnels full of puree and homemade biscuits; and brioche jaffles stuffed with ice cream and toasted in an old-school jaffle iron. “We’re hugely inspired by the guys in New York, like Big Gay Ice Cream. There's so much scope to do different things,” says Sasi.

Good Times Artisan Ice Cream is slated to open on the February 23 or 24 on Macleay Street, Potts Point.