I found myself in Burwood one evening, so naturally I went searching for doughnuts.
Burwood is the home of a hundred restaurants. Nearly all of them Chinese or perhaps Korean. There are a few Middle Eastern places as well. Many blur that boundary between restaurant and café. I really wish the local council could keep the place a bit cleaner and give it a bit of a spritz, because even though Burwood is vibrant, it’s looking old and shabby. Burwood is famous for being the place where the Young brothers from AC/DC grew up.
Sadly, the only doughnuts I found weren’t worthy of my hard-earned cash. In fact, they looked positively dreadful. One place had some that looked very similar to the ordinary ones I have had at Moore Park. Others were at (takes deep breath) Breadtop and stores that are (takes deeper breath) similar to Breadtop. Not for this guy.
However, there was hope.
Gelatissimo is a chain of franchised gelato outlets steadily growing in Australia.
I’ve previously tried to join the club online. Give it a go – it’s impossible. Click on ‘Register’ and the first thing it asks you for is your Membership Number! It’s a required field. I haven’t joined yet – how can I have a number?
Anyway, I walked into Gelatissimo. It’s at the entrance to Westfield. There was a poster near the door advertising that you could get a warm doughnut with gelato. Let’s give that a go.
There were quite a few people in there sitting at the tables. The girl behind the counter had her back to me, busily doing something. She kept doing it. And kept doing it. And eventually, she turned around to see me waiting.
Hesitantly she asked me what I wanted, and I will point out, not in a pleasant, courteous or helpful tone. I asked about the gelato/doughnut thing, which does not have an official title (marketing error) and if I could have it to take away or did I have to sit and eat it. I could take it away. What flavours of gelato could I have? Pick any one, she said. At this stage I wasn’t impressed with her service, so I decided I was going to make her night a little less comfortable.
I saw the tub of doughnuts behind the counter which were obviously the doughnuts that they use. However, I had to inconvenience this rude girl. I said I wanted to see the doughnut. Reluctantly, she pulled out the tub of doughnuts, and held one up for me to see, using a pair of tongs.
She said, “So do you want one?” We were in a small battle of who could be the rudest without stepping over the line. Challenge accepted. I replied, “Just seeing what flavour I want.” I hope you added slight tones of impatience when you read that exchange.
I chose the Choc Honeycomb flavour. “Five dollars,” she requested, clearly without a “please” or “thank you”. She split the doughnut in half and put each side in a heating grill thing, like a waffle maker, but with deep holes made for half a doughnut.
I started taking pictures, happy that if she saw me it would put some questions in her mind. Who is this guy? Is he another random off the street taking Instagram shots or is he a health inspector? Or a person from head office doing a spot check? It’s amazing the power an iPhone gives you at unexpected moments.
With her back to me, she went to check how my doughnut was going. She poked it with her bare, unwashed fingers to see if it was hot. I grabbed for my camera, but I didn’t quite catch her in the act. I was about to ask for my money back on grounds of unhygienic practices, but I really wanted to see this through. Another staff member was wondering around, but he appeared to be doing nothing in particular.
From then on, she barely took an eye off me, glancing suddenly once in a while to see what I was doing. This was fun.
She plonked the gelato on my doughnut and made a sandwich out of it, and sprinkled some soft sugar on top. She handed it to me in a little cardboard tray. There was no courteousness about it, no pleasantries. I returned the attitude by not giving her a “thank you”. I walked out, vowing never to return to Gelatissmo Burwood again.
So, what was the gelato/doughnut like? It was okay. There seems to be a bit of a craze of people trying to clash the two entities together at the moment, but in my opinion, ice-cream and doughnuts don’t belong together. Doughnuts don’t like the cold. And they quickly go soggy in the ice-cream. But I’m sure lots of people are more than happy to have the two together.
Later that night, I also went to Strathfield. It’s not far away and isn’t as vibrant as Burwood. There is a Gelatissmo at Strathfield as well. While I didn’t buy anything there, I noticed the lady serving wore a uniform and a hat. The girl at Burwood had nothing of the sort. I wonder who the franchise owners are. It appears that the Strathfield owners are more professional than the Burwood owners.
It’s all an experience.