Ice-cream shops that call themselves Gelato places are a dime a dozen these days, and some of them not very good that the term “gelato” has ceased to mean anything. Technically, it means ice cream in Italian, but Italian gelato is pretty specific in how it’s made. First of all it’s made from milk not cream, and you would think cream is better, but the extra butterfat in cream dulls flavors in favor of mouthfeel. Gelato is also very dense because it has less air whipped into it that you expect an intensely flavored scoop. So I’ve become quite skeptical of self-proclaimed gelato shops. I thought Gelatofix being a chain would be one of those kinds of shops that will be gelato in name only, but I was pleasantly surprised that not only is it real gelato, it is quite good.
I am a fan of milk gelato and will pretty much pick that over other flavors, so I love that they have a Fior di latte. Fior di latte literally means flower of milk, a pretty poetic moniker referring to fresh mozzarella made from cow’s milk, rather than water buffalo. I remember watching a food feature on gelato where they said that this particular flavor is the true test of any gelateria, and I’m not trying to be all expert foodie and all, but I’ve always loved milk flavors in desserts across the board anyway. As traditional as a Fior di latte is, Gelatofix also carries something from the other end, like a mangga and bagoong flavor. So while Gelatofix adheres to strict gelato rules, they aren’t trying to pretend they’re in Italy, just doing good gelato in Asia. Gelatofix is a Singaporean chain and Jay Tan, managing director of Gelatofix, said that, while the company is very strict with how the gelato is made, for instance, the use of fresh fruits only etc., they allow the home country franchise much leeway with certain parts of the menu, allowing for local flavors, such as the mangga and bagoong.
Gelatofix is also famous for their gelato sushi, which I initially thought was just regular gelato flavors that they shaped into sushi, and there is some of that, but they took the trouble to infuse this gelato line with Japanese-inspired flavors such as black sesame or even sake for the “rice.” The “nori” tasted pleasantly mallowy. What I enjoyed the most was the simplest flavor combination of the mango and ginger nigiri because it was very refreshing, but they were all unique such as miso and white chocolate, wasabi chocolate, and caramel gunkan, which is what you want in gourmet gelato.
So it turns out that there is a lot of pedigree behind those creations. According to their web site the handcrafted gelato art is conceptualized by Gelato World Cup Champion, Master Chef Filippo Novelli. The shop opened last year but I’ve never eaten here until recently when they invited the media to try the new menu. While Gelatofix is most famous for their gelato, you’d be surprised that proper full meals are available. The shop wants diners to know that they have more than gelato. The new menu includes Angry Bird, a take on Bad Bird’s fried chicken, breaded and deep-fried large butterflied boneless chicken with special herbs and spices served with rice, gravy and honey. The chicken drizzled with honey combines sweet, salty and crunchy in one bite. I am also happy to note that their large serving sizes remained the same when I came back and ordered the same things. I don’t think it’s new that there are times when restaurants will serve the media a different version of what they serve to their consumers. The Wild Pig is a brined thick slab of pork chop, which makes for a juicy and tasty bite. The truffle fries contains tartufata, which is a rough chop of white and black truffle and mushrooms in olive oil. It can be a little disconcerting to those who have gotten used to commercial synthetic truffle oil because it tastes different, more subtle, less in your face truffle. The roast beef is very tender and came with good gravy. I also enjoyed the breakfast breadbox. I don’t really understand Asia’s predilection for thick toasts, but this was cute, a literal box made of bread serving as the container for fluffy scrambled eggs, thick rashers of bacon and vegetable fritters which I didn’t think I’d like as much as I did. The Spicy Calamari Pasta is a pleasant hot and salty due to the chili and mentaiko with tender grilled squid on top. It’s lighter fare that is a good foil for the meat dishes.
Gelatofix is also coming out with vegan gelato, and anyone who’s ever tasted the delicious silky flavors of Super Scoops, the coconut milk based vegan ice-cream brand, or even our own sorbetes knows nondairy ice cream can be just as delectable.