Oz By Way Of Belgium

by CLAIRE WILLETT · May 1, 2008

    Australian HomemadeWe have a love/loathe relationship with St. Marks Place; we love the fact that such a hodgepodge still exists in our gentrifying environs, but loathe latex, angry piercings, faux concert tees of punk bands past, and generic tourist memorabilia, (especially those lensless, bar-filled glasses). Luckily, this madness is mostly contained within the first block; keep going past 2nd Ave towards Alphabet City and you're golden. Where the first block feels flamboyantly synthetic, the second two are quietly genuine. They're also more interesting, particularly when it comes to food. The first block is a cornucopia of dining options, but it's in the second two you'll find their better counterparts.

    Today's case in point: Frozen Desserts. The first block has 2 low-fat slightly natural frozen yogurt joints (Pinkberry and Verry Bery), a smoothie shop (Surf CIty Squeeze), and a bubble tea lounge (TKettle). All of them, except for the bubble tea lounge, which we haven't mustered up the willingness to try, are perfectly fine. Australian Homemade, which is between 1st and A, is outstanding. AH, founded by a Belgian chocolatier in honor of his aunt's Aussie ice cream recipe, serves ice cream, sorbet, chocolates, waffles, and hot chocolate. The ice cream, which is made in-house, tastes like super-rich gelato --we were informed it only has 14% air, as opposed to the average ice cream's 50%.

    When we went, there were 18 flavors available, and, though in general we're not chocolate (ice-cream or otherwise) fans, we were exhorted to order the Belgian Chocolate. Luckily we're suckers for peer pressure, because AH's Belgian Chocolate is fantastic, not too sweet, with snappy little bits of dark chocolate. And their sorbets...we really don't like sorbets, but we loved their mango one, perhaps because it tasted like a mango as opposed to mango-colored italian ice. We did not try their decked out chocolates, partially because, as we mentioned, we're not the most fervent of cacaophiles, but mostly because we were rawther stuffed. If you go, do not eat dinner beforehand. Depending on the hour,and the size of your stomach, skipping lunch may be wise too. Tell your tummy to suck it up; the wait'll be worth it. Australian Homemade 115 St. Marks Place