Helados Jauja

Name: Helados Jauja
Location: 254 Lygon St Carlton VIC 3053
Cost: Different for standard and deluxe flavours. Ranges from $4.70 to $11.60. Price list below.
Cost rating: 1/5
Taste rating: 8.5/10
Overall rating: 7.5/10
Would I go again? Only for special occassions. There is the rest of Lygon St to explore.

Large open store front/ But, tiny service counter/Not lost on Lygon.

I must be one of very few people who don’t like this place. I don’t believe it lives up the hype as ‘the most perfect luscious, full-flavoured frozen dessert ever’. The flavours are excellent, no doubt. The flavours are something special as it tastes like what it is supposed to taste. The flavours are divided into two categories: classic and deluxe. Classic flavours include your Spotty Dog, Strawberry etc. Deluxe flavours include things like chai, dulce de leche and peanut butter. But I was let down by its texture, or rather it’s lack of consistency and care with ice crystallisation.

Helados Jauja (pronounced ‘hkow-hka’, but ‘how ha’ is also acceptable. It means ‘absolute indulgence’.) is an artisan southern Argentinian/Patagonian gelati store. Their word for gelati is helados. Helados Jauja uses natural flavourings and whole food ingredients, with their philosophy as ‘the fruit is fruit. The milk, is milk. The cream, is cream.’

So many flavours/ No time for indecision/ Deluxe flavour, go!

Tastes like my chai tea/ Except in gelati form/ In a waffle cone

I tried the masala chai helados (a deluxe flavour.) My favourite chai tea has a lot of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, pepper and cardamom, resulting in a spicier flavour than most chai teas. I didn’t expect the chai helados to be as strongly flavoured as my favourite tea. But it was, and it was glorious. It even had roughly the same ratios of spices. It was indeed very full-flavoured. I have absolutely no problem with the flavour. (The chai helados can be a little gritty and powdery at times. I suspect that is a problem to do with filtering the spice mix out of milk/cream.)

The issue I have is how quickly the helados melts. The ice crystals are coarser than what I expect any icecream or gelati to be. Fine ice crystals are desirable in a frozen dessert product, as it improves mouthfeel. It also prevents the frozen dessert from melting too quickly, and becoming watery when it melts. Thus, a quicker than usual melting time is a sign of an inferior product. Sorry to say, the chai helados melts extremely quickly and becomes watery. As does the dolce de leche flavour. (Melts so quickly that it soaks the tissue, which then gets stuck on the waffle cone, and dries on your hands and arm in a sticky mess. That’s a pretty good indication you got a problem. )

Maybe it’s the freezer unit the helados are stored in, or the mixing process, or that we arrived at Helados Jauja as soon as it opened (at 1:40pm on weekdays). I hope that the ice crystal issue was just a one-off, or that is has been fixed because I did enjoy the flavours. It’d be a shame if the texture let the flavours down.

Price list (it’s fairly expensive, even when compared with the rest of Lygon St, home to countless gelati stores.)

Single scoop
Classic (orange labels) $4.70
Deluxe (yellow labels) $5.30

Two scoops
Classic + Classic $6.00
Classic + Deluxe $7.50
Deluxe + Deluxe $8.60

Three scoops
C C C $9.00
C C D or C D D $10.60
D D D $11.60

 

Helados Jauja on Urbanspoon

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IR: Mango icebar

Name: I dub thee Mango Icebar.
Cost: $1
Score: 5/10, average. But if you want a cheapo mango icecream, you can settle for average.
Would I buy this again? No.
These are the most common icebars found in Melbourne asian grocery stores. They come in various flavours, and are usually the cheapest option.

I see you, Mango/ Both in text and in picture/ Less guesswork for me

Here’s a picture of the packet for your reference.

Not my favourite/ But it was mango flavoured/ And a warm day too

It’s bright orange! It’s not the zingy nectar-sweet mango flavour that I enjoy most from a mango icecream, but a more caramelly musky mango flavour. The texture is … flaky? It’s the kind of icebar where you can suck all the flavour from it and leave a flavourless ice left on the stick, and it begins to break off in lined-up icy needle blocks. If you’re not careful, the last bit can fall off when you try to eat around the stick. You have been warned.

IR: Lotte Watermelon

Name: I dub thee Lotte watermelon slice
Cost: $1
Score: 7/10, it wins points for its design and appeal to my novelties weakness
Would I buy it again? Yes

I wonder what flavour?/ Colour theme and motif win/ Don't need three guesses

But when it does come in different languages, the wrapper picture is the same. Same red and green watermelon-themed packaging. Look out for the watermelon slice-on-a-stick picture on the left side.

Summer on a stick/ But no match for the real thing /A charming design

Apart from beng watermelon flavoured, it looks like a watermelon! For those who have read Evangelion, this is the ice cream Asuka eats in one of the chapters. They exist, and you too can sample one.
The pink section tastes like watermelon, that bubblegummy artificial watermelon taste. The dark flecks in the pink section are seeds or nuts of some sort. Or chocolate. They were hard and crunchy, and had a nutty flavour to it. Just like watermelon seeds. (‘cept most people don’t eat the black watermelon seeds when eating watermelon.)
Lastly, the green rind section. This is my favourite part. It has an odd sort of flavour, that I can’t articulate well. But it is delicious.

Come summer time and I will have my icy watermelon slices in an icypole form! Twice the cooling power!

Passionflower

Name: Passionflower
Location: Shop 2, 168 Bourke St, Melbourne CBD
Price range: $5-48. Yes, forty-eight dollars.
Cost rating: 1/5
Taste overall: 4/10
Overall score: 3/10
Would I come here again? No.

Passionflower is overrated. I am not a fan of Passionflower. I have not yet met a place that I disliked as much as Passionflower. Go spend your $5 (minimum $5) on some other place like New Zealand Natural or Baskins 31. Even better, take your $5 and play icecream roulette at your local asian grocer that stocks cheap icecreams with names in languages you can’t read. For those who are fans of Passionflower, my apologies for raining on your parade. But I will list reasons why I dislike this place.

Why is it overrated, you may begin to wonder. I found it severely overpriced. I mean $8 for a scoop of icecream (that seems to taste of Peters Vanilla) in something that tastes like Nescafe Instant coffee with added grit at the bottom? Or pancakes that seem to be reheated hotcakes from the supermarket for $14? Or $12 for three small scoops of icecream? (Scoops are the size of a lime, roughly 7cm in diameter.)
If it is so pricey, then surely there must be good service, presentation, novelty in the exotic asian flavours and excellent icecream to be had.
Service is appalling. We’ve all heard horror stories about the waiter from hell, or the head of house with the rare ability to quadruple-book dinners, or the Typhoid Mary-esque chef with gangrene (to complicate matters, and for narration.) Then be assertive and call the wait-staff to serve you, one may suggest. Attention is the least of their problems. There is no greeting, not even a nod or glance to acknowledge your existence.
“Hi! A group of thirteen?”

A group of thirteen people. You need space for thirteen people, maybe in two lots due to seating arrangements and availability of free seats. When the staff had finally comprehended the situation and discussed it between themselves, we had arranged the tables and chairs ourselves. Good job.

Presentation of food is actually quite good. The three scoops of icecream appear in a martini glass. I’d rather have a real martini though. The ‘Masterpiece’ dessert (pictures below) is visually appealing. The tables and chairs are a sleek silver, and the seats are a stripey black and silver. The place looks good, and so does its food.

Novelty asian flavours. There are asian flavours, such as black sesame, pandan, red bean, durian and taro. Novelty? Not really. I could get any one of those icecreams from around the corner in Chinatown. So, for the ordinary person who doesn’t go pillaging asian grocers for strange adn wonderful things, Passionflower might offer exotic flavours. (I think people should visit speciality grovers more often. You never know what you might find.)

Delicious icecream. I would disagree. The taste is very bland and too diluted in the wide expanse of creamy filler to actually be a flavoursome icecream. The texture is also subpar. I believe they need to reset their freezers to be actually negative 20 degrees celcius, for the icecream is already near drinkable by the time it reaches your table. It is way too soft and ‘warm’. I love ice cream, and I can go into the merits and downfalls of different icecream preparations with you if you are willing to lend me an ear to gnaw on. But in short, their icecream is a disappointment.

BLACK SESAME BALL ICECREAM COCKTAIL

Unexpectedly/ Peanuts and rice balls were best/ Nutty cocktail

Price: $12
Contains: Black sesame icecream, a pink icecream, peanut powder, glutinous rice balls coated in a mixture of toasted black sesame, roasted peanuts and sugar.

Disappointing icecream aside, the glutinous rice balls with the nutty coating is tasty. They need to have a separate dish with just that on it.

GEISHA ICECREAM COCKTAIL

Neat presentation/ Um, green tea and vanilla?/ Equates to geisha?

Price: $12
Contains: Green tea icecream, lychee-rose icecream, coconut icecream, diced canned peaches.

I liked the look of this the best. I didn’t taste any of the icecreams, but I certainly hope that the green tea icecream didn’t taste like the green tea mousse.

CHOCOLATE ICECREAM COCKTAIL

Choco martini/ Seems like the safer option/ But unexciting

Price: $12
Contains: Chocolate icecream, vanilla icecream, and something else.

AFFOGATO

Espresso, icecream/ All-rounder tasty dessert/ How can it go wrong?

An affogato should be a scoop of icecream with a shot of espresso coffee on top. It’s a fantastic dessert. According to the person who had this, the icecream was too milky and tasteless, the coffee tastes of instant coffee and the bottom of the glass had coffee grounds. Anybody who has had any experience with a coffee machine will be able to tell you that obtaining a coffee-tasting coffee from a coffee machine is as simple as pressing a button. How can you screw up an espresso? I can see how some espressos are worlds better than others, but it is difficult to get a bad espresso provided your coffee machine is calibrated.

MASTERPIECE

Easy on the eyes/ Tasteless beyond redemption/ Masterpiece, my foot

Price: $25 (+$2 surcharge for banana, banana production is still hurting from floods in Queensland)
Conatins: Two rolls of chocolate crepe with banana inside, mini pancakes with jam and cream, green tea mousse, coffee mousse, a wafer boat with three scoops of icecream: taro, vanilla and another purple one with seedy bits in it.

I feel incredibly cheated. If this was a fantastic platter, then I’d be happy to chip in for the $27, but it isn’t. I should go get a platter of desserts from Hanabi on King St, for roughly the same price and mark it as the bar. The standard that every other place must follow in order to charge $27 for a platter of desserts.

Chocolate-banana crepes: The crepes are okay, they are soft and chocolatey, almost rubbery. Somehow they lack the caramelised panfried ‘baked goods’ taste about them. It’s the banana that gets me riled up. I am sure that the banana used in the crepes are not the usual kind of banana we grow in Queensland. They taste like the imported sugar bananas, and when the crepes are unravelled, the looks remarkably like sugar bananas. (I have eaten my fair share of sugar bananas in my life. I am quite sure I can spot them in a banana cake mixed in with Qld bananas. They have a distinct taste and smell about them.) So, why charge the extra $2 for bananas that aren’t even affected by the cyclone that tore up banana plantations in Queensland? To me, that’s just dishonest.

Mini pancakes with jam and cream: Wait for it, I nearly have no words for this. Pancakes taste like supermarket pancakes, simply reheated and replated. I understand that a restaurant doesn’t do everything from scratch, there simply isn’t enough time to. But to replace a product that is simple to prepare, quick to cook with a vastly inferior product to fill out a dessert platter is unacceptable. To add to the insult, the jam presentation leaves me wanting. Surely, using a spoon to get a neat dome of jam is easy enough? The cream is aerosol-can cream. Whipping cream and piping it out is not a gigantuous feat either. Whipped cream is used in so many of their platters and desserts that surely having a delicious cream is a good investment for them. I cannot comprehend the reasoning why anybody would place these terrible pancakes, jam and aerosol cream onto a dessert platter and see that is it accceptable. I am disappointed.

Green tea mousse: The little shotglass it comes in is cute. It is a pity about the taste. The consistancy and flavour of the ‘green tea’ ‘mousse’ is not dissimilar to tasteless wasabi made from a powder. The floury texture, the green colour, the powdery taste with no discernable flavour about it, that is Passionflower’s green tea mousse. In addition to this, the bottom of the shot glass is filled with cake crumbs. Why cake crumbs? Why not a piece of cake?

Coffee mousse: The coffee mousse was better than the green tea mouse. It didn’t taste of real coffee, but at this point, I didn’t have much hope for it. Nothing to say about this one except that it was average.

Wafer boat icecreams: The scoops are all small, as I had said earlier. The wafer boat is a nice touch. I like the wafer boat. It was drenched in icecream by the time to finished it though, so it was like eating soggy weetbix. All the icecreams at PF are creamy, and diluted in their flavours from the overly milky formula. Let that be a warning to you. The vanilla icecream is a disappointment. It’s not bad in itself, but as an iceccremery, I expect their vanilla to be better than your average Peters Vanilla icecream. It isn’t. The mysery icecream with seeds isn’t too bad, but it doesn’t taste of much. The seeds offer texture, but I find that there were too many seeds. I’ve heard glowing reviews for their taro icecream, and while this was my favourite icecream flavour out of the three, their taro icecream doesn’t deserve an eulogy.

All in all, the Masterpiece is a disappointment and I wish for you to consider eating at other icecream places.

Passionflower on Urbanspoon

Ikea Foodcourt

Name: Ikea food court, the food court of Ikea
Location: 630 Victoria St, Richmond 3121, Inside IKEA
Price: Mains $4-13, drinks $2.25-3.5, desserts $3

SOFT SERVE
Cost: 5/5 (50 cents!)
Taste: For a 50c soft serve cone, 8/10. I had expected it to be very similar to MacDonald’s cones. But I am pleasantly surprised. It has a vanilla-like flavour to it, rather than just sugar.
Much better than the softserve at McDonalds’. You trade in 50 cents for a metal button, which can be slotted into the soft serve machine, and a wafer cone. Place the cone in the place alloted for the cone….

Place cone in machine/ It says 'Press once' so press once/ Swivelling soft-serve

Voila! Creamy vanilla-flavoured soft serve in a cone-shaped wafer cone.

Soft serve like a cloud/ Analogy to nowhere/ Just accept it's good

CHICKEN AND PASTA
Cost: $7
Taste: 6/10
Would I order it again? No.
I don’t understand the facination with the Ikea food court. It’s not cheap for the type of food you’re receiving, nor is it tasty in comparison to other food courts. It baffles me.
The pasta is overdone, and on the soft side. The vegetables are swimming in pasta starch. It’s your standard school cafeteria lunch fare, if you went to a boarding school or had school lunches in your programme. (Coincidentally, I didn’t, but this is what I imagine it’d be like.) The chicken isn’t dry, but it isn’t juicy either. It’s not bland, or tasting of anything in particular. It’s all average.

TV dinner-esque/ Instant food has its own charm/ See instant noodles

ORANGE SODA

Carbonated drink/ What flavour are you, I ask/ It must be orange

COFFEE
Cost: $2.25, for a cup, and as much refills as you want.
Taste: 4/10
Would I order it again? No.
$2.25 to use a mug. That’s smart. But the drinks are so awful. Maybe it’s just part of the plan.

Ikea coffee/ I'd take Nescafe Instant/ but they taste the same

FERMENTED APPLE DRINK
Cost: $3
Taste: 5/10
Would I buy it again? No.
Fermented apple drink would sounds like very sweet cider, but it isn’t. It’s more like watered down carbonated apple juice.

Tasty apple drink?/ It tastes like disappointment/ And sugar syrup

MEATBALLS AND CHIPS/MASH
Cost: $8?
Taste: 5/10
Would I order it? No.

Apparently the star of the Ikea foodcourt are the meatballs. I see the appeal, but it doesn’t live up to expectations. The meatballs are very heavily breadcrumbed and don’t have the texture of meat. More like a meaty paste with some grisly textural bits. The mayonnaise and lingonberry jam complete the experience, but neither of these sauces have any zing to them. I could have enjoyed these as a child, when I used to enjoy Chicken MacNuggets. Unfortunately, the appeal is lost on me now.
Mash: instant-mash.
Chips: Average chips, but I like chips. Needs a second fry.

Little Sweden flag/ On a Swedish meatball mound/ Kids' meal nostalgia

Chips make things better/ Meatballs are no exception/ Fry those potatoes

APPLE TART

Apparently it’s dry and overly sweet. (I like my apple tarts with more apple than pastry, especially the dry biscuity kind.)

Apple tart or cake?/ Either way, needs more apple/ Too full to sample

IKEA Restaurant & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Yukimi Daifuku

Yukimi daifuku is a famous brand of mochi icecreams. Icecream mochi has a different sort of mochi, it’s more a wrapper for the icecream rather than a chewy glutinous delight on its own. Not that icecream mochi isn’t enjoyable, but the texture is different.

Cost: $11.90

Contents: 21 individually wrapped yukimi daifukus.

Would I buy it again? Yes.

Moon-viewing mochi/ Moon rabbits pounding mochi/ And churning ice cream?

There are three flavours. Vanilla, strawberry and chocolate. Vanilla is good. Strawberry is the artifcial strawberry taste, much like Strawberry Big-M. Chocolate was disappointing, with a Chocolate Nesquik taste.

Taste: 3/5 inidividually, but mochi icecream is generally is 4/5.

The chewy mochi skin is good with the yielding icecream inside. But they are still delicious, and there is only one substitute; that is the larger yukimi daifuku in the two-pack.