There's a tiny soft-serve stall in a Zetland shopping centre serving ice-cream that looks like it was designed to be photographed: it's brightly coloured, intricately designed and covered in textured, equally colourful toppings. But The Blob isn't about gimmicks, regardless of its attention-grabbing name. "This isn't an Instagram cafe," says the owner Stanley Anjaya.
For Anjava, and his partner (both in business and in life) Alicia Soebawa, The Blob is about providing a quality, wholesome and healthy alternative to soft-serve ice-cream.
Even the most visually intense combos – with names such as Cookie Monsta (coconut and butterfly pea soft-serve with hunks of choc-chip cookies and chocolate-peanut butter) and Blamington (Ferrero Rocher soft serve, Tim Tams, desiccated coconut and freeze-dried raspberries) – are dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan-friendly.
While some of the toppings include Oreos and Tim Tams, most of the options to pimp your soft serve can also be found in health food isles: berries, freeze dried mandarin, various kinds of dried coconut, pistachios, quinoa puffs and more. The waffle cones, made in-house with beetroot or chia, are completely gluten-free but retain the same snap and crunch as any good gluten competitor.
"One of the things we want to do is change the image of GF [gluten-free] and DF [dairy-free]. There's a perception it's too dry, not tasty. We want to have a healthy dessert that has no compromise on taste," says Anjaya.
Apart from the soft serve being a tad denser than "regular versions" (non-GF, DF options) – and, if eaten in a certain way (i.e. with downward pressure), you might encounter cone-crumbling disasters – there's no discernable difference. The Blob is producing well-made, tasty soft serve.
And, there's much more in its future than soft serve, too. "There's nowhere right now you can get a good gluten-free waffle or pancake. We'd like to do the first GF and DF dessert bar," says Soebawa, who adds any plans need to wait until they find a permanent site.
Until March, when their Zetland pop-up finishes, it's just accidentally Instagram-worthy soft serve - that won't hurt your stomach or your conscience.