So my inner-geek kind of flipped when I heard that N2 Extreme Gelato had made inroads into Melbourne. The funky lab on Brunswick Street, with its rows of kitchen aid mixers and savvy fit-out in tow, serves up not-so-ordinary gelato in enticing flavours like strawberries and cream, creme brulee and earl grey infused caramel, but with an added twist; it’s all brought together with a very, very cool dose of liquid nitrogen. Choose your gelato from the menu spanning the towering blackboard at the front (we can’t go past the sound of that crème brulee), then simply stand back and watch the store assistant (or should we say lab assistant?), donned in laboratory gear and goggles, freshly blitz your gelato to nitrogen heaven. It’s a little bit of a spectacle, and we love it. And if the view of large beakers, laboratory feel, and goggle-wearing assistants didn’t pique your inner geek, then maybe a full view of the liquid nitrogen in action will help. Apparently the rationale behind using liquid nitrogen is that it freezes so fast that ice crystal formation is minimised. The result? A much, much smoother-textured gelato than if you had produced it the conventional way. After the gelato’s been churned, the spectacle doesn’t stop there – what’s creme brulee gelato without that blow-torched layer of caramel on top?
Creme brulee ($6)And voilà; our crème brulee is complete. And it’s one of those moments – the gorgeous layer of sticky, sweet caramel cracks, giving way to a silky-smooth custard-flavoured gelato. It tastes exactly as crème brulee should taste, and each mouthful of velvety custard, coupled with the crunchiness of that sugary layer brings me back in for more. Genius.
Creme brulee ($6)I’ve been quite taken by N2 – the concept is a winner, and there’s something about it that screams both ‘geek’ and ‘cool’ at the same time – a rather odd combination that’s not often married well together. The result is an incredibly unique, enthralling gem that not only produces great-tasting gelato, but gives you a bit of a show at the same time. And for $6 a pop that’s totally worth it. N2 Extreme Gelato Melbourne 329 Brunswick Street Fitzroy VIC Website: http://n2extremegelato.com.au/