A modest little pale blue shop in Brunswick East produces some very special gelati. Gelati with the flavours of South-East Asia, with few concessions to Western tastes. Beku – it means ‘frozen’ in Bahasa Indonesia – has some sublime gelati, bringing back fond memories of a long-ago time on our travels through Malaysia and Indonesia.
As Gelido’s regular readers well know, we love our traditional Italian gelati. There are very good reasons why pistachio, chocolate and lemon are classics. However the whole world is now embracing gelato, and it is proving supremely adaptable, adopting flavours rarely seen in Italy. It may not be Italian gelato, but the end result is still true to the principles of the artisan maker. Freshly made from natural ingredients and churned just right to produce beautiful silky textures and intense flavours.
Originally from Indonesia, Beku’s owner learnt to make gelati while holidaying in Rome. As you do. Once back in Melbourne, she started wholesaling her gelati, eventually opening Beku in December 2017.
Beku’s flavours change regularly, making best use of seasonal produce, with around two dozen flavours on the menu, all stored in shiny lidded pozzetti to preserve freshness. No pastes, artificial flavourings or colours – everything is based on natural ingredients. The gelati is served in cups, cones or tubs to take away, plus there is a range of Indonesian style drinks, from coffee to kunyit asam (turmeric tamarind drink).
On our visit, Asian flavours dominated the menu, from Malaysian teh tarik (pulled milky tea), to Japanese houjicha (green tea) to Indian paan (betel leaf, fennel seeds and rose petal) and Indonesian cendol (palm sugar, coconut milk and pandan). Durian in season, and for the less adventurous, a choice of chocolate, pistachio or raspberry.
Coconut is an all-time favourite for Benny, and he couldn’t pass up Beku’s coconut sorbetto studded with bits of jackfruit. Very light and refreshing, the jackfruit makes a lovely counterpoint, not too sweet, quite delicate in flavour. He paired it with one of the best vegan chocolate sorbetti we have ever tasted – very rich, very smooth and very, very intense. Definitely one for the dark chocolate lover.
I chose a calamansi sorbetto, which I paired with thandai gelato. The calamansi was gorgeous, beautiful citrusy flavour and silky smooth texture. Thandai is originally an Indian drink, made from milk, almonds and spices. The thandai gelato was a great match for the kalamansi, lightly spiced with cardamom and peppercorn, just beautiful.
Outstanding gelati, specialising in Asian flavours. Super friendly service from a lovely little gelateria. Don’t be put off by the modest exterior – it’s well worth a visit. We’ll be back!
171 Lygon Street
Brunswick East Vic 3057
T: 0432 011 728