The Gelato Messina empire continues to expand, and is soon to make its foray into Brisbane. That is still a while away though, and while in the neighbourhood, we stopped into the Windsor branch for a spot of dessert.
The formula and decor is very much the same for each store. Set up in an area where you get a fair amount of steady foot traffic from the spillover of other eating places nearby, and let your name draw the crowds in. Have a range of stock flavours encompassing classics that are expected to be in most gelato shops, and a few (usually three) changing specials that are more experimental. Those specials are the same across all stores in the time they are available. The colour scheme is the same across all stores as well, dark floors and ceilings, with dark wood and olive green tiles, and their burnt orange and green square patterned boxes lining the shelves and just about every spare space.
There is often a bit of a queue winding out of the entrance, and if there isn’t one when you happen by, there soon will be. What is annoying about all the stores we have been to so far though, is that there never seems to be an actually organised queueing or serving system. You get a crowd of people thronged around the gelato counter trying to see and decide on what to order, but just because you got there first and have been waiting the longest, that’s no guarantee that you’ll get served first. People who push in and catch someone’s attention before you do will get their gelato ahead of you. That is particularly frustrating at busy times.
There isn’t much in the way of seating, just a couple of benches outside on the footpath, and it really is set up more as a takeaway place. If you’re looking for somewhere to linger with friends over dessert, you’ll have to find another spot.
The specials are written up on a chalkboard and are usually quite interesting, indulgent combinations that you won’t find elsewhere. They are really the main draw for going there, because in a place where there is an abundance of gelato shops, Gelato Messina’s gelati aren’t outstandingly richer or smoother than all others.
One also has to take into account the not meagre price of $4.80 for a single scoop of gelato. This is, mind you, not a generous scoop of gelato, and one that just sits atop the cone/cup, with no packing down to fill space beneath. It is more than the price of one tub of ice cream from the supermarket. And that would be a 1 litre tub. You can get 2 scoops for $6.80 for seeming economies of scale.
On this visit, I had one of the specials, the Straight Up Malacca, which had mango gelato, salted palm sugar caramel, Pandan fudge, and coconut cake. The gelato was smooth, and did taste like mango. The salted palm sugar caramel tasted like typical salted caramel. There were occasional squishy blobs of pandan fudge and coconut cake that tended to be found together. The pandan wasn’t very strong though.
All in all, it was not bad, and you will find flavour mixes here that other gelato shops won’t have. Not, however, thrilled by the serving size for the price.
Price point: Starts at $4.80 for a single scoop in a cup or cone.
Address: 171 Chapel Street, Windsor
Phone: 03 9533 7110
Website: Gelato Messina