Just Desserts – Exploring Brisbane’s Very Best Ice-Cream

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Jun 07, 2018

by MATT SHEA, Writer

If there’s one thing sub-tropical Brisbane is made for, it’s ice-cream. And while you can still head to the local milk bar for a Paddle Pop or two, the Queensland capital now has a bunch of sophisticated ice-cream options, ranging from restaurant quality gelato to vegan-friendly creations. Here’s some of the best.

Gelato Messina

Messina has become a Brisbane dessert go-to since blowing into town in early 2017. Rightly so: with 40 flavours (including five rotating specials) available at any one time, it’s the slick coda to a dinner date on nearby Fish Lane. The shop itself is a moodily lit spot to hang out and try some perfectly churned Italian nougat or gluten-free real apple pie gelato.

1/109 Melbourne Street, South Brisbane; (07) 3844 0416

La Macelleria

Well before Messina turned up Brisbane’s gelato obsession, La Macelleria owner Matteo Zini was importing genuine techniques from Bologna, the Italian capital of the craft. Popular options such as fior di latte and Crema Bologna are as authentic as it gets but do yourself a favour and squish a scoop inside some house-made brioche to amp up the decadence. There are two outlets – West End is good but the Teneriffe original is best.

10-29 Florence Street, Teneriffe; 0423 286 542

Lick! Ice Cream

Best known locally for producing the iconic strawberry sundae at the Ekka, Brisbane’s annual agricultural show, brother and sister Grant and Carina Lew have been wholesaling their customised ice-cream to some of Brisbane’s best restaurants since 2004. They now have two shopfronts, the original in the beguiling suburb of Graceville the pick of the two. You can’t go wrong with classics such as Coffee & Hazlenut or O.M.G. Strawberry but for an extra treat order the torched banana split with condensed milk vanilla bean ice-cream.

3-321 Honour Avenue, Graceville; (07) 3278 2065 

Nom Nom Natural Gelato

Nom Nom is a pre- and post-flick favourite for the crowds that pile into the budget cinema down Bulimba’s tree-lined high street every Friday night. It’s the natural ingredients that make this hole-in-the-wall so popular, with Maleny Dairy milk used to churn out crowd favourites such as Belgian chocolate, ginger bread and green tea. The shop includes a bunch of dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan options.

139 Oxford Street, Bulimba; 0423 322 035

Ruby the Little Red Ice Cream Van

You’ll have to work to catch Ruby, a bright red English-built 1973 Bedford van that roams across Brisbane, winning hearts wherever she pulls up. Co-owner Sam Coco knows a thing or two about ice-cream, having managed a gelato factory for 10 years. Ruby’s most popular flavours? Rocket (choc top with a Cadbury Flake) or perhaps Peggy Sue (vanilla ice-cream with rainbow sprinkles and sherbet), all churned through a Carpigiani batch freezer. Be sure to check the van’s Facebook page to find out where it will be on any given day.

Location varies; 0431 049 474 

Nitrogenie

From the brains behind Harajuku Gyoza comes Nitrogenie, a buzzy dessert bar that produces ice-cream in front of your eyes using liquid nitrogen. The marketing calls it magic but it’s a technique sometimes used by chefs in commercial kitchens – so you’re guaranteed an authentic and very fresh product. Flavours such as Chocolate Mud Mess and Nutella Cornucopia are a hit with the tourists who crowd the South Bank outlet. Just be warned: it’s a touch more expensive and melts a little faster than your average scoop.

Shop 30, Stanley Street Plaza, South Brisbane; (07) 3844 7527

Gelateria Cremona

Durian gelato. Thai milk tea gelato. Liquorice gelato. If nothing else, Gelateria Cremona nails its seasonal flavours. But this Rosalie dessert bar isn’t just about eye-catching, left-of-field flavours. Owners Gerardo and Lei Deflorian churn their gelato using an imported Cattabriga Effe batch freezer and scoop from traditional pozzetti. The result? A silken, creamy gelato that makes a mockery of the nearby dining precinct’s dessert menus.

151 Baroona Road, Paddington; 07 3367 0212

Jeppo Gelato

A longtime Cleveland favourite, Justersen Jepsen's restrained, generously portioned gelato is well worth the 20-minute drive to Brisbane’s bayside suburbs. Jeppo sets itself apart by also slinging quality espresso and savoury creations around breakfast. Time your visit to coincide with the Cleveland Markets, which take over the high street outside every Sunday morning.

109 Bloomfield Street, Cleveland; 0410 780 591

Ciao Gelato

The north-side go-to for silken, dairy-free gelato, each week Ciao rotates through a bunch of vegan-friendly flavours built from almond or rice milk, as well as a clutch of sorbet options. But yes, there’s also 30 flavours of full-cream-milk-based gelato to choose from, if you must.

1/1207 Sandgate Road, Nundah

Milani House of Gelato

The first thing you’ll notice at Milani is the wall stacked with awards. The second is the enormous bank of flavours from which to choose. What to go for? The dark chocolate gelato is owner Yue Lin’s most iconic creation — a fabulous concoction that’s creamy without being too sweet or too rich — but his black sesame, banana and panna cotta flavours are all excellent, too. It can get busy here so order a take-away scoop and enjoy while wandering well-heeled Racecourse Road.

Shop 4/53 Racecourse Road, Hamilton; (07) 3268 2082

Top image: Nom Nom Natural Gelato

SEE ALSO: Brisbane Desserts Worth Breaking Your Diet For