The happy spill of families on the footpath at 9.30pm says it all. Gelato Franco has been welcomed by locals with open arms, finally scoring its own Italian gelateria for these balmy summer evenings. It's good news for Bar Italia gelato fans. Just like Mark Megahey of Ciccone & Sons, gelato maker Franco Riservato left Bar Italia to open his own gelato shop. Gelato Franco is the result.
Gelati and sorbetti menu
Franco has the same level of old-fashioned commitment as Ciccone & Sons, using jersey milk in the gelato and making each flavour from scratch. That means scooping out fresh passionfruit, hulling fresh strawberries by hand, deseeding mangoes and carving up giant watermelons - all of it documented on Instagram and usually involving the help of Franco's parents.
Dog with an ice cream cone!
The converted shopfront is a burst of new energy on the Town Hall end of Marrickville Road. Gelato Franco sits on what was the left-hand side of Van Long Vietnamese supermarket (which has shrunk to half its former size). There's a handful of tables inside, each decked with fresh flowers in a glass of water. Bi-fold windows open up the shop to passersby. The family-run team of staff are friendly and attentive, ferrying glasses and jugs of tap water to tables unasked.
Scooping gelato from the cabinet
The cabinet is usually two-thirds gelato and one-third sorbet. Staff are happy to provide tastings to help you decide.
Triple scoop: pistachio, tiramisu and lemon $8.50
I've visited several times over the five months they've been open. Day times are usually quiet although you'd best avoid the post 3pm school kid rush. The post-dinner dessert period is always busy - expect a gaggle of happy kids both big and small.
Pistachio gelato isn't as intense as others which use a lot of pistachio paste, but there's a terrific textural crunch from the inclusion of crushed pistachio nuts.
Tiramisu has a good espresso hit, layered with hunks of chocolate sponge soaked in marsala wine and espresso. And you're guaranteed to wink at least twice with the first lick of the zesty lemon sorbet - it's got some acidic punch!
Triple scoop: pistachio, watermelon and blood plum with prosecco $8.50
The servings are generous too. They're not shy in giving you value for money, piling cups and cones high with as much as possible.
We pounced one day on the daily special of blood plum with prosecco, fizzy on the tongue with a noticeable alcoholic hit.
The watermelon sorbet is my new favourite, all the fun of sugary sweet watermelon without the hassle of pips.
Triple scoop: pannacotta, hazelnut and lemon $8.50
Another day we revel in the richness of hazelnut gelato, chock full of hazelnut rubble. The pannacotta is smooth and creamy, ribboned with a runny caramel sauce. The gelati is light in texture yet still has that reassuring density of good gelato, churned softly and slowly in a vintage Cattabriga Effe 6 machine.
Dark chocolate and passionfruit double cone $6.50
Watermelon and strawberry double cone $6.50
They do cones too. The dark chocolate gelato isn't as bitter as you'd expect and the passionfruit gelato is the right shade of tartness, with a generous amount of passionfruit seeds throughout.
Watermelon [top] and strawberry close-up
I went for the watermelon sorbet again the other night, combining it with the sweetly fragranced strawberry sorbet, so packed with fruit you could see the strawberry seeds in it. Delizioso!
Coffee and Mezzapica cakes for $6
Scooping tiramisu gelato
281 Marrickville Road, Marrickville, Sydney
Open Tuesday to Sunday 12pm-10pm
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3/07/2016 07:45:00 pm