I wanted to try Duo Duo’s social media hyped Asian-inspired ice cream and desserts for some time, especially as they’re quite close to where I’m currently living, but left sad and disappointed after a moderate wait in wet, cold, and dark conditions.
It’s hard to explain why exactly the things that I tried at Duo Duo didn’t tickle my fancy, but the Pandan Coconut Kaya Filled Donut ($6.50) just didn’t do it for me. I’m certainly not a pandan hater, some of my best friends are pandas, but I think what hurt this the most was more the odd sticky-but-pasty consistency of the icing rather than anything else. Such a weird feeling in my mouth.
The brown butter and caramelised apple deep fried ice cream was actually my first ever experience with deep-fried ice cream, being I think more an American-Chinese restaurant invention than an actual traditional Chinese dessert. The ice cream was quite sweet for my taste, and I didn’t love the batter, though I think that’s probably more of a problem with the format rather than the execution, and I wouldn’t have this again.
THOUGHTS I really wanted to like Duo Duo, but I just didn’t. I think I will try and go back and give it another shot this year, since I live so close by, but I will leave the above thoughts up online regardless of what I find on my next visit.
Every so often I try and have a meal out and my body just won’t let me. It happened at Moxhe, and it happened again at Gimlet. This particular episode of bad food bolus obstruction sensation was precipitated by my downing of a large volume of psyllium husk and probably not enough water just prior to the meal. My gastroenterologist friend CJP thinks it might be eosinophilic oesophagitis, but my actual gastroenterologist hasn’t had a chance to weigh in yet.
Let me therefore treat you to a description of our meal at Gimlet at Cavendish House, mostly through the eyes of someone watching my girlfriend eat.
We started with some raw albacore tuna with compressed cucumber, sorrel, and vinaigrette ($36). The menu lists a similar dish with bonito instead of albacore, and I wonder if this was an on-the-day substitution to suit whatever was available at the fish market. In general the compression of fruits and vegetables is foreign to me, though I did not believe this particular version of cucumber to have been compressed as completely as it could have been by, for example, the hydraulic press channel. Overall I didn’t have the best impression of this dish, I think because as humans my partner and I prefer bluefin and yellowfin tuna greatly over albacore, which has a bit more of a floury texture than we would like. Rather than being the star of the show, the albacore tuna here was more of a vessel for the good flavours of the vinaigrette.
My enjoyment of the Half Southern Rock Lobster, wood-roasted in saffron rice with bisque sauce ($150) was greatly diminished by my weakened physical state. My impression of this, from what little I had, was that it was absolutely quite delicious, surprisingly big (though it was a solid $150), with beautiful rice that had a bit of crispiness around the edges, a little similar to claypot rice but I’m sure more similar to other rices from other cultures that I’ve not yet experienced. The capsicum dip was not really necessary with such a wonderful intrinsic flavour of the seafood and rice. My partner absolutely demolished this, almost exclusively on her own.
I did not have a single bite of these kestrel potatoes with buttermilk and caper dressing ($16), but my potatolord partner did not like them, so that I think is quite telling.
We enjoyed this gelato ($17), with rhubarb, jasmine rice and candied ginger. The flavours were interesting, and in a different lifetime could’ve been served in a chicken-rice themed degustation as a palate cleanser.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: We had not a cheap meal at Gimlet at Cavendish House, with the only true standout dish being the wood-roasted lobster. That said, that expensive-ass lobster was actually extremely delicious, and I wouldn’t hesitate recommending it to someone with the money to burn. I would suggest that you call ahead to ensure there is lobster availability, and also avoid the other things we ordered so that you may happen on some other smaller dishes that are better than what we had.
Don’t call the police on me but I got a half takeaway tub at Cow & the Moon and ate it in their outdoor seating with my back against the window even though they expressedly told me not to. It was a thrill and a rush.
My half litre tub ($13) was vaguely-equal parts Cherrymania (self-explanatory) and Queenslanda (named after one of QLD’s top domestic exports – the mango).
The cherry mania was in places sweet and in places tart. My partner is a big fan of cherry and I knew that she would love it.
The Queenslanda was a mix of mango and cream, a much milder flavour compared to the sometimes deliciously sour cherry ice cream.
Both were good and highly recommendable.
5/5 but I would prefer Mapo’s more subtle flavours most days of the week.
We had some ice cream at Pidapipó’s Degraves St store after walking past a few times during our week in Melbourne.
My overall impression is that if this is peak Melbourne ice cream, then peak Melbourne ice cream is at least five years behind Sydney. The hot cross bun flavour was our favourite, and we appreciated that most of the flavours we had were not too sweet, but we felt that there was an overall lack of specialness. The waffle cones were mass market, from The Original Cone Company, and along with the ice cream itself didn’t quite reach the level of artisanship, even when compared to a Sydney chain like Gelato Messina, let alone a specialty store like Mapo.
I would invite any Melbourne-based ice cream enthusiasts to Mapo before leaving angry comments down below. If Pidapipó is in fact not top-tier Melbourne ice cream, please also feel free to correct me with your alternative suggestion.
I must have walked past Betty’s Burgers & Concrete Co in the Melbourne CBD dozens of times, each time wondering to myself what kind of synergies could possibly exist between these two seemingly unrelated products. It was only recently, after reading a post in a closed Facebook group for food-enjoying white collar professionals (though I do not wear any collar to work), that I discovered that concrete was the name given by this chain of restaurants to their frozen desserts.
Enter frozen dessert. This is the Lemon Raspberry Cheeecake Concrete ($6). It was very sauced, and very sweet. I was not a big fan. That is all.