A childhood infatuation with Mr Whippy, an ongoing hunt for a permanent CBD location and a new partnership with chef-restaurateur Jesse Gerner have all led to dessert maestro Pierre Roelofs' latest venture, a pop-up called Pierre's.
Setting up shop (a custom-built mobile bench) outside Gerner's Green Park Dining in Carlton North every weekend throughout summer, Roelofs dishes out soft-serve ice-cream that he's given a slight but distinct artisan twist, with fresh dairy, vanilla beans, reduced sugar and a little salt used for the base ice-cream. The soft-serve is as much about texture as it is flavour - a style that Roelofs has honed during the last six years of dessert evenings at Café Rosamond.
Pierre's soft-serve will feature constantly changing toppings and names frequently inspired by '90s hip-hop (the soft-serve machine is called Ghostface Chillah). Fresh Prince has guava gel, lime marshmallow and toasted coconut in the mix, while the Puffed Daddy soft-serve is topped with dulce de leche, puffed millet and date balls. There are different topping combinations every weekend, too, which allows for some topical tributes such as the RaspBowie, a mix of fresh raspberries, cubes of jelly and rosewater meringue.
"I love the cheap and cheerful nature of soft-serve," says Roelofs. "It reminds me of my childhood and allows me to still do my style of dessert but in a way that's more casual, fun, informal and accessible."
Pierre's will become a permanent fixture later in the year, serving soft-serve ice-cream, dessert cups and "a secret product made with machinery we've specially designed and built" at a yet-to-be discovered location in the CBD.
Until then, it's all about the pop-up and, at $6 a serve ($4 for an unadorned kiddie size on request), an inevitable Mr Whippy-like queue.
Pierre's, Green Park Dining, 815 Nicholson St, Carlton North, Vic, Sat-Sun, noon-6pm