Review: Frugii Dessert Laboratory (Canberra, ACT)

30 Lonsdale Street
Braddon ACT 2612
+61 438 366 368
http://www.frugii.com/

Over the weekend, I found myself in Canberra.

No, I wasn’t kidnapped from my house, dragged into a beaten up Holden Commodore and driven there by a gun-welding ice addict. Rather, MVB was there on a work trip and so I decided to tag along – not just out of sheer boredom but also because it’s been ages since I last set foot in our fair nation’s capital (more than 20 years, to be exact). While many can argue that not a lot has changed in those years, there are others who claim that Canberra is now a vibrant metropolis with its own decent coffee shops, award-winning restaurants and hipster culture.

I had to go there to see for myself.

After a lovely dinner in Braddon, I found myself at Frugii Dessert Laboratory. Lauded by many locals as one of Canberra’s much-loved gems, I knew I had to see what all the fuss was about. I may not be a super big sweet tooth but I do appreciate a good gelato – which is what Frugii specialises in.

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As far as Canberra goes, Braddon is one of the most vibrant areas in in the capital so it makes sense for owner John Marshall (affectionately known as ‘Mr Frugii’ by Canberrans) to set up shop there. When Rachi and I rocked up on a Friday evening, the place was full of patrons wanting to get their ice cream on despite the fact that it was unseasonably cold for a summer night.

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This is probably not the best visual representation of Frugii’s takeaway container but hey, serves me right for not taking a photo straightaway. I ordered a trifecta of flavours including lemon myrtle, blood orange and Frugii’s famous chocolate gelato, made using house-roasted cocoa beans.

I thought the blood orange and chocolate flavours were gorgeously intense and on point, though I found the lemon myrtle one way too sweet and one-dimensional. While the other two closely resembled the flavours they were meant to take on, the lemon myrtle one was just… sugary.

One thing I did like about Frugii was its small batch approach to crafting their products as well as the friendly, familial manner they served their customers – you don’t really get that in many gelati stores in Melbourne or Sydney. Frugii is certainly a strong player in the Canberra dessert market and their product definitely stands out in comparison to what else is on offer in this food-barren city. Will it stand on its own in Melbourne or Sydney? Given the number of well-well-established gelati stores in those cities, it’s very hard to say.

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