Westgarth's answer to Sicily is hiding inside the concrete cool of Il Melograno – and their gelato really is un poco taste of heaven.
The story starts with two boys, Marco Enea and Carl Fodera, who had one dream to bring quality Italian gelato to the palates of Melburnians. And although it's a third generation family secret, it's one scoop we're more than happy to share with you. Flavours such as their Iranian pistachio are made using actual smashed pistachio kernels — it's out of this world good and goes perfectly with their chocolate and rosemary creation.
Have it sandwich-style in a Sicilian brioche bun ($9.60) or get mouthy on the gluten free waffle cones ($1 extra). Their gelatos really are the cat's whiskers. Or rather, the soft, stretch of an angelic fluffy feline that's been frozen and hidden down a metal well. Terrible analogies aside, they are one of the most natural and tastiest scoops around. Because of this natural, preservative free character, the scoops do have to stay out of sight in metal wells that keep them fresh — so spy daily offerings such as their lemon, ricotta and cardamom on the chalkboard to the side.
If you end up there in the morning, the lads will insist it's never too early to order gelato. Especially if you've got a hankering for coffee which comes conveniently infused in one of their top choices. An affogato ($6) is served deconstructed as a single shot of their house roasted Columbian and Costa Rican bean blend. Using the Ricci Method — a wood-fired roaster that sits behind the glass walls out back — it works as an espresso; creamy with character and sharper than most, it goes superbly in their coffee gelato.
If you're there later and with those undedicated to eating meals entirely off minuscolo spoons, then upgrade your cutlery and portion sizing to include some Italian home cooking. The chefs are keeping it sweet with the summer salad special of buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto, hazelnut and chargrilled peaches ($16). You can warm up with the gluten free gnocchi – it's oven baked and comes with brown mushrooms, spinach and pancetta ($21).
There's plenty of room inside to hang out, and the courtyard gets some lovely early morning rays. The staff will continue to win hearts by going out to buy you the newspaper if you fancy. But if that doesn't seal the deal, they're selling edible ice cream ones, Magnum-style and encased in white chocolate ($5-6).
It may not be a genuine Sicilian shoreline. Instead, it's strolls up slopes for Ruckers Hill sunsets and Westgarth movie nights. And that's nothing to scoff at when you're on a holiday budget that's tighter than your pants after an Il Melograno visit.