Gelato Messina, Darlinghurst

Despite the very cold weather recently, Sir D must have his gelato fix so after dinner at Rise we walk a couple of blocks in search of Gelato Messina on Victoria Street. We are very glad to see the gas heaters outside the shop front and we are surprised to be joining quite a number of others eating and ordering gelato on this chilly night.

The menu ranges from gelato in a cup or cone, take-home tubs of gelato, gelato cakes, tiramisu, coffee and Callebaut hot chocolate! However tonight, we only have eyes for gelato.

Sir D decides to maximise flavour tasting opportunities by ordering 3 scoops in a cup, but we have serious difficulties in selecting three flavours from the mounds of gelato in front of us. We later overhear someone saying ,”but I want to have all of them!”, which is exactly what we were thinking…

Some of the flavours that catch my eye include apple pie, pannacotta, blood orange and dulce de leche. I also notice that they have chocolate and hazelnut in both a sorbet and a gelato.

After much deliberation (and many questions from the people behind the counter as to whether we were ready to order), we finally decide on chocolate sorbet, apple pie and gianduia (hazelnut chocolate).

3 scoops of gelato: gianduia, apple pie and chocolate sorbet – $5.80

The flavour on the top is gianduia, with apple pie in the middle and the chocolate sorbet is hidden on the bottom of the pile. The gianduia is delicious and tastes almost exactly like Nutella – a good thing for people like me who enjoy guiltily consuming Nutella with a spoon straight from the jar. The apple pie contains small chunks of apple and is quite strong in cinnamon flavour. Sir D says it reminds him of Big Red chewing gum, although not quite as spicy. The chocolate sorbet has an interesting flavour, leaning more towards dark chocolate but still retaining some sweetness. It is less creamy than normal gelato and melts a bit quicker but apart from that tastes pretty much the same, although it would be interesting to compare the chocolate gelato and sorbet at the same time.

As we make our way back onto the chilly night, I look longingly at the gelato cakes in the freezer and make plans with Sir D to come back with more people so that we can try even more of the flavours. All in the name of research, of course.

Gelato Messina
Shop 1/241 Victoria St
Darlinghurst, NSW
Ph: +61 (02) 83541223

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Rise, Darlinghurst’s 4th Year Anniversary

Although this is my first post about Rise, it is actually my 4th visit which coincides with a special offer they have to celebrate the 4th anniversary of Hideki Okazaki becoming the owner-chef of Rise. For one week, Rise is offering a special 7-course omakase menu for $36pp, and having been completely enamoured by the food during my previous visits, it was simply an offer I couldn’t resist.

Rise is tucked away in a relatively residential area of Darlinghurst, away from the numerous restaurants and wine bars on nearby Victoria Street. My first visit to Rise saw me completely at a loss of how to enter the restaurant – I attempted to open the locked door facing the main street, but luckily another of my dining companions found the fire-engine red door marking the entrance to the restaurant. And it was unlocked.

Ocean trout marinated with gochujang miso and porched quail egg

Tonight I am dining with Sir D, and we are seated in the corridor area where the lighting is very poor so apologies for the poor-quality photos. Drinks are ordered and before long our first course of ocean trout arrives, marinated in a spicy gochujang miso sauce with a quail egg sitting atop the mound of sashimi. It is accompanied by some baby rocket leaves, a hoisin sauce and some crunchy radish which complements the soft trout nicely. A great start to the meal and it is my favourite dish of the night.

Potato cream soup with prawn tempura and tofu

The smooth potato cream soup has a cube of agedashi tofu and tempura prawn sitting in the middle of the bowl, topped with spring onions and seaweed. The prawn is battered and deep fried for a nice tempura crunch and the agedashi tofu is soft and yielding. It is a generous serving, but both of us have no problems eating it all up.

Assorted today’s market sashimi: (left to right) kingfish, ocean trout and oyster

The third course consists of kingfish sashimi with flying fish roe and wasabi mayonnaise, ocean trout sashimi with soy sauce and an oyster. The oyster was accompanied by a briney, salty sauce which was offset once you bit into the slightly sweet and creamy oyster. My favourite was the ocean trout which was simple but delicious. I normally love kingfish but am not a big fan of wasabi, but wasabi lovers out there would probably enjoy the tingly feeling lingering on the tongue from the wasabi mayonnaise.

(Left to right): Eggflan, mushroom & miso red curry sauce, Rice paper roll of miso chicken stick, Fish cake & green papaya salad

The next plate that arrives has some interesting looking morsels on it which leave us peering at the plate wondering which to eat first. Sir D makes the first choice and selects the egg flan in the shotglass. He eats takes a small spoonful from the top and makes a face at me. I try a bit and the red curry flavour is very, very strong. On the next spoonful I realise that the layer of sauce is on the top and when eaten with the steamed egg and the small pieces of mushrooms and baby corn, the strong flavour is subdued. The fish cake is strong in kaffir lime leaf and coriander, and the green papaya salad is refreshing. Compared to the fish cake and the egg flan, the rice paper roll has subtler flavours but has a nice mixture of textures from the crunchy salad, the soft chicken stick and the slightly chewy rice paper.

Steamed scallop, green tea noodle & soy ginger shallot sauce

The scallop and green tea noodles arrive in a small bowl and although there are fewer noodles than I expected, the scallop is fat (just the way I like it) and steamed to perfection. The sauce seems to be more of a sweet soy sauce than a ginger and shallot sauce, and even the grated ginger at the bottom of the shell tastes sweet.

Chicken confit, “shiitake” mushroom, bamboo shoot , potatoes & “Hoisin” sauce

The main course which comes with rice is a chicken confit with tender meat and a layer of crisp, crunchy skin. Underneath it there are some potato cubes, bamboo shoots and mushrooms and their signature snake bean circling the vegetables. I call it their signature snake bean because every time I have been to Rise there has always been a snake bean encircling something in one or more dishes.

Almond jelly, black cherry & amaretto jelly

Onto the last course: dessert! It is what appears to be more of an almond pannacotta (rather than a jelly) with cherries, blueberries and paw paw cubes topped with an amaretto jelly. The amaretto jelly reminds me of the almond flavour in a Chinese egg white and almond dessert, and is a flavour neither Sir D nor I am particularly fond of. However, the creamy almond pannacotta is delicious and the berries and paw paw are fresh.

Although the omakase selection had some dishes that didn’t quite appeal to my tastebuds, there were other dishes which were absolutely fantastic. It is very good value for the quality of food served up and hopefully Rise will continue to deliver great food at reasonable prices in the years to come. Congratulations to Hideki Okazaki on being the owner-chef of Rise for the past 4 years.

Rise Restaurant
23 Craigend Street
Darlinghurst, NSW
Ph: +61 (02) 93571755
Dinner: Tuesday – Sunday, from 6pm

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