Julie is the author of a number of guidebooks, including 'Melbourne's Best Bush Bay and City Walks' & 'Melbourne for Dogs' (with RSPCA). Read more of her adventures at her walks blog: walksmelbourne.com
Published September 22nd 2012
Frozen yoghurt takeover in St Kilda
So, with baited breath, my kids have been watching and waiting, as the Carlisle Street shop front of the new Yo Chi Frozen Yoghurt store in Balaclava/East St Kilda has been painstakingly made-over. And now it has finally opened, it's gone from makeover to take-over, drawing enthusiastic crowds.
Yo Chi is Australian owned and operated and it's first store has opening in the busy cafe-shopping hub of Carlisle Street, just near the train bridge. It's a self-serve bar, which is part of the fun: there are 8 different flavours on offer and you choose the size of cup you want (small, medium, large, but read that as large, huge and gigantic), then mix and match the flavours you fancy. You are also welcome to ask to taste any of the flavours before you fill your tub. When we went in, there was Mango, Dark Chocolate, Fruits of the Forest, Vanilla, Original, Original with a Tang (think Greek yoghurt) and a honey-soy concoction which is dairy and gluten free.
Once you have swirled your dish full of the creamy stuff, head over to the counter, where you can add all sorts of chopped fresh (not frozen, which is lovely): strawberry, kiwi fruit, cantaloupe, banana, stewed apples or rhubarb, fig and fruit compotes, raspberry coulis, lychee balls, maple jelly, muesli, halva, crumble toppings, coconut, and of course the more mandatory lollies, chocolate peanuts, Smarties and choc-fudge sauce. Oh, and did I mention the yoghurt itself is 98% fat-free (though certainly not sugar-free). You may well cancel out any health benefit depending on your choice of toppings!
Next step is to take it to the weigh-in and pay. A small tub, filled moderately with a nice selection of toppings weighed 200g and cost just over $5, but it's good to keep the weight-cost ratio in mind when filling up: $2.80 per 100g.
The best things about Yo Chi is its staff - they are unremittingly friendly, helpful and welcoming, and full of enthusiasm and cheer. The cafe itself is bright, clean and spacious (we managed a wheelchair with no problems) and has well-spaced tables and bars, including some outdoor tables. It has a slightly quirky retro-kitsch-space-age feel to it, thanks to the wall mural: my teenager describes it as Tokyo meets New York. All in all a great place to refresh on a sunny day.