For their latest project, Gelato Messina have gone back to where it all began – the small space at 243 Victoria Street, next door to the original Darlinghurst store. Before transforming into a soft serve bar, this was where the cake making and testing happened. Now, it’s come full circle, re-opening soon as the official “Messina Creative Department”.
“It’s kind of like a lab, with a beautiful eight-seater table,” says content and brand manager Sian Bishop. In the lab, diners will be served seven courses by chef Remi Talbot. There’ll be two sittings, which will run for about an hour. Talbot worked along side Messina head chef Donato Toce and Messina founder Nick Palumbo to create the menu.
If you find the idea of eating seven sugar-driven courses a little off putting, Bishop assures the experience will be “nothing like eating seven scoops of salted caramel gelato in a row.” In fact, she says it’s not just desserts. “It’s a dining experience, but not in an uptight way.”
The dishes are experimental, and designed to challenge the palette and will change with the seasons. Pear and elderflower sorbet is served with burrata. Elsewhere, the menu includes roasted chocolate sorbet and aged balsamic. Each course is matched with a non-alcoholic drink, such as wattle cola with lemongrass and vanilla vinegar.
Talbot worked for Messina in their early days before travelling overseas to work in restaurant kitchens in Japan, France, and Denmark. “He is using savoury skills from kitchens around the world to create these new dishes,” says Bishop. “There are lots of techniques which people wont have seen at Messina before. It’s more like a full meal experience.”
The degustation appears more finessed than the overflowing, cartoon-like aesthetic Messina is known for championing, but a sense of fun will still be paramount. “Its completely different to anything we’ve done before,” Bishop says. “But not completely serious.”