Zero Gradi, Brunswick East

The 400 Gradi pizza empire, champion of authentic Napoletana pizza, also does fantastic gelati at its Zero Gradi gelateria. Established in early 2016, Zero Gradi is just a couple of doors away from its parent’s Brunswick East flagship restaurant.

Zero Gradi’s spacious interior is sleek and modern – cool grey with pale timber and green accents. But in contrast to the slightly austere surroundings we have always had a warm welcome (yes, we have visited Zero Gradi several times!).

A sleek modern interior at Zero Gradi.
A sleek modern interior at Zero Gradi.

It was mid-morning on our latest visit, and the morning regulars – Italian gentlemen of a certain age – were finishing their coffees and folding up their newspapers, leaving plenty of table space for Benny and me.

The gelati at Zero Gradi are churned fresh each day. Instead of being hidden away in a back room the gelato action happens right at the front of the gelateria, so you can watch the gelato chef at work while you enjoy your treats.

Stored in round pozzetti – to retain freshness – but unlike the traditional pozzetti the gelati is visible. Instead of individual lids on each tub, the cabinet has sliding glass doors over the tubs. Plus there is a mirror over the cabinet, so you can still see all the gelati even if the place is crowded. The cabinet holds a couple of dozen flavours, tending towards the classics, with both dairy and non-dairy (vegan sorbetto) options.

Gelati is served in cups or cones, or tubs to take away. In a nice touch, the cones are made in-house – you can choose just plain or opt for a speciality cone which is dipped in chocolate and coated with chopped nuts, coconut or sprinkles.

As well as gelati, there is also a selection of luscious looking cakes and other desserts. Perfect for enjoying with a coffee. Or one of the milkshakes – concoctions of gelato, milk, cream and all sorts of tasty additions. Gelato cakes can be ordered to take away. A massive box, a good half a metre long, was in the freezer, waiting for pick-up. And yes, our friendly server confirmed it was a single huge cake.

Strawberry sorbetto paired with bounty gelato (coconut with a dark chocolate ganache).
A small cup at Zero Gradi. Strawberry sorbetto paired with bounty gelato (coconut with a dark chocolate ganache).

We sampled several flavours before making our final choices. The pineapple and passionfruit sorbetto was awesome – the blended fruits delivered a super intense and refreshing taste. The strawberry shortcake gelato was lovely and creamy, like a cheesecake.

Benny’s choice was two flavours in a small cup. Strawberry sorbetto paired with bounty, and he also scored a wafer. The bounty was an excellent coconut gelato swirled through with a rich dark chocolate ganache, and the superb strawberry proved to be a great match. He described the small cup as plenty big enough.

Italian classics: pistachio gelato with lemon sorbetto. And what a massive serve!
Italian classics: pistachio gelato with lemon sorbetto. And what a massive serve!

For me, it was the Italian classics in a plain cone: pistachio gelato with lemon sorbetto. According to our friendly server, Zero Gradi makes its pistachio using nuts imported from Italy. Pistachio is one of the traditional tests of gelato quality – Zero Gradi’s was excellent with a gorgeous nutty taste and studded with whole pistachios. The other traditional test of gelato quality is lemon – this one was super tangy and very, very lemony. Fantastic.

Zero Gradi’s gelati also had that beautiful elastic and velvety texture of freshly made product. This elasticity requires a certain skill with the gelato paddle – our friendly server twirled and swirled with great panache, with the end result being an enormous peak of gelato. It was a massive serve. I was very happy.

Seating on the footpath outside Zero Gradi
If you are visiting with a four-legged friend, you can enjoy your Zero Gradi gelato at the seating on the footpath.

Our rating: outstandingOutstanding gelati, and great service. Although we have not yet tried the cakes (the gelati always wins out) they look mighty tempting.

Zero Gradi
93-97 Lygon Street
Brunswick East Vic 3057

T: (03) 9994 5303