Address: 43/1 Dixon Street, Sydney
Opening hours: 1pm – 11pm seven days a week.
Sydney’s Chinatown is a district offering endless culinary delights. Adding to that, is N2 Extreme Gelato, a modern ice creamery that has developed a cult following since its opening in 2012. N2 Extreme Gelato features a novelty concept of making the ice cream to order with the chemical element nitrogen. On the two occasions that I’ve visited N2, a crowd of customers can be seen from the street, taking pictures and admiring the fog of nitrogen gas that escapes from under the glass display area.
I came with some friends on the Monday of the Easter long weekend, in anticipation of the premium N2 Black flavours, Creme Brulee and Ferrero Reveal. On my first visit to N2, I had left dissatisfied and vowed I wouldn’t return but after this time, I was glad I did.
The gelato scientists who prepare the gelato dress in lab coats to mimic a science theme that is also evident with the way the gelato is presented, with many flavours often being presented with syringe atop the gelato. At N2, the servings are large enough for one scoop to be sufficient for all your sweet tooth needs. At N2, many of their creative flavours have quirky names which I find very creative and cute. Another difference with N2 and other gelato places is that N2 often features such unusual flavours that are borderline disgusting. They featured a very unusual flavour on this occasion which was Potato & Gravy, but this wasn’t the worst of their flavours that I’d heard of. I saw a flavour on their chalkboard wall listing all the flavours they had, including a horrendous sounding one with the name Can I have a VB, mate? I shudder to think of what that flavour would taste like.
One of the downsides of N2 is that their menu changes on a weekly basis, so you can never count on your favourite flavour being available when you go. However, N2’s website and social media channels always feature their weekly flavours so you can check these before you visit.
It’s generally always pretty busy at N2 so take-away is a good option. After ordering at the counter, we waited a few minutes before one of the staff called out my name and presented me with our two gelato options. Creme Brulee and Ferrero Reveal are both premium options at N2, and are classed in the N2 Black category, which means they are priced slightly higher than the regular flavours. N2 Black flavours are $8 for one serving, so we paid $16 for the two flavours.
N2’s Ferrero Reveal consisted of a Nutella and hazelnut gelato and was decadently decorated with Coco Pops, chocolate sauce, a syringe filled with chocolate ganache sauce and garnished with a wafer biscuit. I thought this was delicious, and very creatively done. The Coco Pops atop the gelato provided a rich contrast to the gelato beneath. It genuinely tasted like its chocolate counterpart, which is something you really have to praise the gelato scientists at N2 for.
Despite the Ferrero Reveal being so tantalisingly delicious, my favourite out of the two flavours was the Creme Brulee. The gelato scientists had replicated the classic French dessert perfectly, even down to the caramelised hard sugar top. It was absolute perfection. I couldn’t stop exclaiming how N2’s Creme Brulee gelato tasted so much like the real thing. It was also baffling because I couldn’t figure out how they’d done it. Once we’d cracked the hard top of the gelato, it gave way to reveal a creamy yellow gelato underneath, that was so rich it really resembled and tasted like authentic custard. I couldn’t get enough of it. All in all, I was delighted with this week’s flavours that I tried at N2 Extreme Gelato. It just proves that sometimes you shouldn’t judge on first impressions.