MIST swirled from a bank of industrial mixing machines as our ice cream froze before our eyes.
Welcome to the wonderful world of creamy liquid nitrogen gelato at Ibiza N2 in Mt Lawley.
Warm, crisp and delicate churros, a melted chocolate dip ($8.90), and a mug of hot chocolate ($8.50) warmed us as we watched the busy passing parade on Beaufort Street.
But the avocado, coconut and lime vegan ice cream ($9.80) on the side really was the icing on the cake, a smooth, creamy blend that helped settle down the chocolate overload.
Or it did, until owner Ahmed Tolba insisted we try his chocolate almond cake, a gluten-free decadence.
“No, really, I’ve eaten too much,” I protested.
In the end it was so moist, rich and down right fantastic, we polished off the lot.
“We use the best French butter and almond meal,” my host says.
The Spanish/Australian started selling Spain’s other famous import, paella as Paella Republic.
But once his mates tried his home-made churros they convinced him to change tack, and it was out with rice and hello light and fluffy fried dough.
“[They] said we should open a churros shop so people could see what a good one is like.”
Ice cream on the menu came next, but the commercially made products didn’t cut it, so it was a case of making it in-house, with an element of showmanship to the experience.
Ingredients are combined in a mixing bowl and liquid nitrogen poured in. Unlike gelato machines which take time to freeze, the result is almost instant.
“It freezes fast…which doesn’t allow water crystals to build up so you get a creamier ice cream,” Mr Tolba says.
Freeze-dried fruit that goes to mush when frozen conventionally can be used, including strawberries: “Because it doesn’t destroy cells.”
There are no artificial colours and there’s a coconut version of the ice cream for the lactose intolerant: “[With] a coconut milk that doesn’t have gums or additives. The texture is incomparable.”
While most of the ingredients are local the pistachios come from Europe: “[And] we don’t make it months ahead, we roast and blend and use that week.”
The result is a divinely rich-green and nutty paste that had me wanting to lick the plate.
by JENNY D’ANGER
627 Beaufort St, Mt Lawley
open 7 days 3.30–11pm