It's time to eat all the things you’ve seen and put on the ever-expanding list in your head. Try a few of the best desserts in the city – old and new – listed in no particular order.
Devon Barangaroo DD Special
The team from Devon on Danks pushes us out of our comfort zone with dishes including Japanese eggplant in butterscotch with sweet miso ice cream and panko sesame crumble. But it’s the ultimate salty-sweet pairing of soft serve with hot chips that is its most-talked-about dish. The hot starch and cold, creamy sweetness combines wonderfully. Soft-serve flavours have included jasmine and blue pea flower; truffle; mango pudding; and Thai milk tea.
Sea salt soft serve at Aqua S
Soft serve has featured widely this year but this is one of the most memorable. The sea-salt soft serve is the flavour that will never go off the menu here, with its eye-catching aqua colour and salty-sweet flavor, which provides the ideal base for caramel popcorn or clouds of fairy floss. The rest of the flavours change bi-weekly, and have previously included watermelon and creaming soda; apple-blackcurrant; pumpkin soup and Ribena.
Peter Gilmore’s reinvention of the old Aussie favourite has already become a talking point for the Opera House restaurant. The traditional chocolate-and-coconut-covered sponge is transformed into something much more sophisticated. It arrives as a square of cherry-jam ice cream, cake and cream, doused in glossy, bitter chocolate and sitting in a cloud of coconut ice cream shavings. The dish has many textures, making each mouthful a completely different experience.
Served from a mobile shipping container, this roving venue’s namesake dish is a cheese-and-cream version of the Middle Eastern sweet, from a family recipe inspired by the bakers of Jerusalem. Owner AJ El-issa describes the dessert as a: “Sweet cheese semolina pudding with a fine crumb mixture on top that is baked to create a crunchy, crumble coating with a hot centre.” Check instagram (@knafehbakery) to find its Thursday to Sunday locations and plan your dinner around dessert.
Cremeria De Luca’s gelato burgers
Cremeria De Luca has been making gelato since the 1930s. So it’s no wonder it has perfected its version of the ice-cream sandwich; the gelato burger. It’s a brioche bun, slathered with cream (panna) and Nutella and dripping with gelato. Be prepared to get messy. www.cremeria-deluca.com
Firedoor’s banana ice cream
Chef Lennox Hastie’s focus is cooking ingredients over fire. How do you do that with banana ice cream? You serve it with smoked ganache and crumbled wildflower honeycomb. It’s another great contrast of textures, and a clever subversion of expectations – a restaurant all about fire serving ice cream for dessert.
Terrarium at Petal Met Sugar
Petal Met Sugar combines the talents of florist Angela Wong and patissier Elsa Li. So it’s no surprise this dessert is named after a tiny garden. The terrarium is a fine sphere of marbled chocolate, filled with passionfruit and finger-lime panna cotta, cocoa nib soil, baby lemon balm and a sprinkling of edible flowers. This is a take-home dessert (the shop is closed in the afternoon) and over Christmas it will do a snowball version.