By now, every person in Sydney has had a scoop of Gelato Messina, which makes their new venture all the more special. The Messina Creative Department is a tiny eight-seat degustation bar next to the Darlinghurst store in the space that previously held the Messina Lab where, in true Messina form, they've decided to do some new and downright crazy stuff with gelato.
The dark, intimate venue hosts a seven-course dessert degustation with a non-alcoholic drink pairing with each course — and as you would expect, it is batshit insane (in the best way possible). The menu, curated by OG gelato chef Remi Talbot and Messina head chef Donato Toce features a range of exquisite treats, and, while they're all based around gelato, they run the gamut of sweet-sweet and sweet-savoury. Just like any degustation.
The intimate nature of this one-table dessert bar means that there are limited seats available. There's only two sittings — 6.30pm and 8.30pm — on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights as well as three on Saturday. That's only 72 spots a week. So you'll have to have quick fingers when bookings open every two months.
The menu is constantly changing, but previous dishes have included black garlic gelato with tomato gel, tiny hand-rolled ice cream cones garnished with crystallised flowers and — are you ready for this? — seaweed-esque, razor-thin tuile poking over the side of a golden bowl with a deep violet bloom balanced across it with plush lumps of white cloud surrounding a bed of pink sand dabbed delicately with drops of golden syrup. Phew. Everything they cook up at the Creative Department looks more art than dessert — they are literally drunk on power and it is delicious.