Meno Zero, Doncaster East

After conquering the pizza world with their classic margherita in 2016, the guys from Zero95 are expanding into gelato. Meno Zero opened just over a month ago, a couple of doors away from the original Zero95 in Doncaster East. And it serves up some of the best authentic Italian style gelato we have ever tasted.

Zero95’s pizzas are fantastic – they are proper napoletana pizzas. I’ve even mixed and shaped dough in a hands-on pizza making class with Andrea Cozzolino, Zero95’s world champion pizza maker. So we had very high expectations for the gelato.

We knew that Meno Zero was already popular, so to avoid the crowds, Benny and I turned up first thing on a Sunday morning. We were so early, our friendly server was still setting up.

I loved the icy blue-green fitout – a clean Scandinavian-style design very different to the cheery Italian exuberance of its pizza sibling. Classic design is appreciated by everybody.

First thing in the morning, Meno Zero's counter was fully stocked with cakes and gelato
First thing in the morning, Meno Zero’s counter was fully stocked with cakes and gelato

The counter extends along one side and displays a range of spectacular cakes and the all-important gelato cabinet. Despite the early hour the gelato chefs had clearly been busy. All the tubs were chock-full of gelato.

According to our friendly server, in Italy the popular options are always the classics – pistachio, hazelnut, lemon, fragola (strawberry). Tropical flavours, even raspberry, are less common. Meno Zero has the classics, and more – a couple of dozen flavours all up, and some rather innovative options.

Gorgeous cakes at Meno Zero
Gorgeous cakes at Meno Zero

We just had to try the vanilla nera (black vanilla) – vanilla with black bean. It was a steely grey colour, and the taste… wow. Real vanilla is a something truly wonderous – as anyone who has used vanilla beans will confirm. Adding the black bean to the gelato intensifies the vanilla to something that is truly amazing.

Meno Zero’s mandarino was up with the famous mandarin from Davey Mac’s – so good that we reckon a blind taste test would be needed to decide on the better of the two.

We were bowled over by the aperol spritz sorbetto – but given it was only 10am (and I was driving) maybe it was a little early to get started on any alcoholic options! Our friendly server said Meno Zero alternates the aperol sorbetto with a prosecco.

Nero di Modica and amarena (cherry) gelato
Nero di Modica and amarena (cherry) gelato

But it was time to make our final choices. A tough decision – but with gelato this good it won’t be long before we return. Service was excellent – even though our friendly server was super busy setting up for the day, she was cheery and only too pleased to help and advise.

Benny went for nero di Modica (a vegan dark chocolate sorbetto), paired with amarena (cherry) gelato. A perfect combination. The chocolate was rich and very, very dark – a great treat for us dark and bitter chocolate fans. We love the Italian amarena cherries – they go so well with a great chocolate.

Nocciola (hazelnut) gelato paired with raspberry sorbetto
Nocciola (hazelnut) gelato paired with raspberry sorbetto

Of course we had to include at least one of the Italian classics. My choice was nocciola (hazelnut) gelato which I paired with raspberry sorbetto. Absolutely gorgeous.

Every flavour we tried was superb – beautiful dense creamy texture, super intense flavour, and the elasticity of great Italian gelato. Meno Zero is definitely one of the best gelaterie in Melbourne. And we will have to wait for another time to sample those gorgeous cakes.

A bright and sunny day for an early start at Meno Zero
A bright and sunny day for an early start at Meno Zero

Our rating: outstandingIf our scoring system went up to six cones, Meno Zero would definitely deserve that accolade. It is one of the best gelaterie in Melbourne – and we will be returning very soon.

Meno Zero
914A Doncaster Rd
Doncaster East Vic 3109

T: (03) 9840 1867

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