Hands down, the best thing about living in a subtropical city is that you can eat ice cream year round. And right now, soft serve is the way to do it – we’ve seen and sampled it at Hartsyard, Messina Dessert Bar and Aqua S Ice Cream Parlour, to name but a few, and now Knuckles Sandwich Bar is getting in on the action. This new Alexandria café is cute as a button and serves up soft serve, sangers and spiders in sweet courtyard surrounds (you almost forget you’re on a busy main drag).
The soft serve is made with jersey milk, making it ultra-creamy. For only $3, you get a cup or cone with your choice of sauce and topping (we liked strawberry sauce with salted peanut brittle, but the white choc almond rubble with vanilla caramel gave us food envy). Gild that lily with a mudslide spider – soft serve with chocolate sauce and Karma cola – you won’t regret it. The milkshakes are good, too – fluffy on top and properly cold.
As for the sandwiches, the service is fast, but we’d rather wait a little longer and have the kitchen use that time to big up the fillings and seasoning. A special of beef bourguignon is more boiled than braised, and, apart from a few mushrooms, is barely reminiscent of the rich, saucy French stew we know and love. The chicken baguette with avocado and nuoc cham dressing needs much more filling to balance out all that bread, and some chilli (plus a good dose of salt) wouldn’t go amiss either. They’re new, so it’s hard to say if these are just teething problems – we’ll be back once they’ve had some time to iron out the kinks.
The crowd is a mix of local office workers, firemen (the fire station is around the corner) and the service is warm and friendly, much like the interior – think Martha Stewart-meets-'50s shake shack. We wouldn’t hurry in for lunch, but for an afternoon treat, who can walk past a $3 soft serve? Not us.