This place brings back fond memories of my final year in uni. I mean, I remember all the procrastination that lead up to the final freak out. We had two weeks left to pull together a marketing strategy. How were we going to get the research, planning, strategising done!?! I don’t remember much of those two weeks but what I do remember is visiting N2 Extreme Gelato after we handed in that project. N2 had just opened up earlier that week and we were all pretty keen to try it out. It was the first of its kind in Australia. I mean, we’ve all known about making ice cream by using carbon dioxide. Everyone’s been through that primary school incursion where a guy comes in and experiments and freezes heaps of cool things. But no one turned that concept into a reality until N2.
Now its not so exciting, businesses like N2 have spawned up every where but in my opinion the original is still the best. Back when I first tried N2, I wasn’t blogging so I never got a chance to write about this fantastic and very hyped ice cream shop. Now that I’m Canberra, my chances to visit N2 are even slimmer but finally, over Christmas and New Year, I got the chance to head down and try out N2’s ice cream once again.
I remember when they first started it was pretty simple, about 5 or so flavours though they were extremely interesting ones. Whilst interesting, they were always just standard ice creams with really cool flavours, one or two scoops. No syringes sticking out of them, no donuts, cream, or other crazy toppings or anything. I normally complain when restaurants try to jump on whatever bandwagon there is and try to align their products with those i.e. putting macarons on to everything, making cronuts, doing injectable donuts. But here at N2 for some reason I don’t mind. Maybe its because it just seems to fit with their overall aesthetic, it seems like something they’re actually doing for more than just pure gimmick, and it works with their products.
Okay, I think I’ve bored you enough with my opinions and life stories, lets talk about this ice cream.
I grabbed the Cheesecake with salted caramel and whipped cream ($8). As you can see things are a little different now, no more basic ice creams. N2 still offers about five different options, two will normally be basic ice creams with cool flavours like lavender and honey or something interesting like that, these are about $5 for a cup. The other three will normally be more creative with an interesting and delicious flavour with a little bonus like a donut, macaron or syringe on top, these are about $8 per cup. All of N2’s options are displayed on a (very hipster) blackboard with little pictures to show you how it will look.
When I was there, N2 had this really awesome peanut butter and chocolate ice cream with a Krispy Kreme donut on top, it looked amazing! Unfortunately, I find peanut butter too rich whenever it’s used for desserts so I did the sensible thing and ordered something I’d actually eat. Although this didn’t have a donut on top, this one still looked and tasted amazing. The ice cream was super creamy with a strong cheesy aftertaste. The texture was perfectly smooth with some nice aeration making it super fluffy and to top it all off, there was a generous dollop of whipped cream because you can never say no to more delicious creaminess. Oh, how could I forget the bonus?! Of course, there was a syringe full of rich salted caramel, which added some lovely contrasting flavours. Lastly, there was a heavy sprinkling of almond meal or cookie crumbs (I couldn’t quite tell which it was but I’m sure they both do the same thing) which really topped off the whole “cheese cake” idea.
I’m normally not a massive fan of deconstructed dishes, like today I saw a deconstructed beef wellington, like what’s the point of that?! What makes a beef wellington so loved is the fact that it’s a super high quality meat pie (at least to me) and its actually quite difficult to make. So if you’re not doing the cooking in the pastry part anymore it might as well be called a steak with puff pastry on the side! Anyway, here this ice cream actually felt like a deconstructed ice cream cheesecake just way better!
There you have it, the very cool and delicious N2. This place might not be the talk of the town anymore and there are now plenty of similar offers all around but this is still the best and most innovative ice cream place out there. I may not go here when I want good tasting generic ice cream but if I want something fun, delicious, sweet and creative, N2 is still high on my places to visit.
So I recently saw that N2 Extreme Gelato will be heading down to Canberra for the Enlightened 2015 Night Noodle Markets hosted by Good Food Month over the next two weeks 27 February to 7 March 2015. How exciting, can’t wait to see what they have installed for us Canberrans!