Duo Duo review

Mix and match your doughnut and ice-cream flavours.
Mix and match your doughnut and ice-cream flavours. Photo: Edwina Pickles

67 Chapel St Roselands, NSW 2196

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Opening hours Tues-Thurs, Sun noon-10pm, Fri-Sat midday-11pm
Features Family friendly
Prices Cheap (mains under $20)

"If you have a pool of ice-cream in the deep-fryer, it basically explodes," says Duo Duo's Chris Duong. Dealing with erupting grease – over and over again – was something Chris endured in the early days of the business.

Launched with childhood friend Dylan Duong in September 2017, Duo Duo began as a food truck specialising in deep-fried ice-cream. It offered crumbed scoops of coconut pandan, vanilla and salted caramel, and cookies and cream flavours.

This April, it shapeshifted into an ice-cream and doughnut shop in Roselands, next to its new production headquarters. You can still hire the original food truck for events, but Duo Duo's store is where the main action is at: front up and you'll find rows of Asian-inspired doughnuts and ice-cream.

Duo Duo specialises in Asian-inspired doughnuts and ice-cream.
Duo Duo specialises in Asian-inspired doughnuts and ice-cream. Photo: Edwina Pickles

From the Thai milk tea glaze on cornflake-crusted "duonuts" to the deeply brewed Vietnamese coffee that gives one ice-cream flavour its knockout depth, the menu is inspired by the team's cultural roots. The coconut-rich pocket of kaya jam in the pandan doughnut?

Credit that to pastry chef Veronica Indrawan's Indonesian background. The grassy pandan punch, meanwhile, taps into the Duongs' memories of eating waffles, puddings and other Vietnamese desserts brightened with that distinctive tropical plant.

Asian relatives can be tough judges, but Chris' grandmother counts the durian ice-cream as her favourite. It's an understandable choice. The potent kick and creaminess of durian isn't played down, but the blitzed chunks of monthong durian (a less intense variety of the polarising fruit) means the flavour isn't wildly pungent either.  

Durian, lychee and pandan coconut are among the ice-cream flavours.
Durian, lychee and pandan coconut are among the ice-cream flavours. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Before opening Duo Duo, Chris worked in sales at PayPal and Dylan had a pharmaceutical job. They've made up for their lack of traditional culinary training with impressive research methods: they crammed 100 ice-cream samples into Dylan's mother's freezer while fine-tuning early flavours such as banana bread and salted caramel popcorn. They once ate at 20 ice-cream shops in one day and spent six months experimenting with yeast-risen doughnuts.

"We went through over 50 variations of a doughnut dough before we found the right one," says Chris.

Maxing out their sweet tooths and appetites has been worth it, because their menu is a winner, whether you're enjoying the ripple of raspberries through the excellent lychee and coconut ice-cream, or the deep tannic hit of the Thai milk tea doughnut glaze. It's why Duo Duo managed to sell 700 doughnuts a day during lockdown. The storefront may have been closed, but the flurry of online deliveries kept staff busy. 

Vietnamese coffee and green tea flavours at Duo Duo.
Vietnamese coffee and green tea flavours at Duo Duo.  Photo: Edwina Pickles

The menu isn't entirely Asian-influenced, but it's executed well, whether it's the Biscoff cheesecake cream doughnuts spiked with spiced biscuits or the custard-oozing creme brulee flavour.

"We'll literally blowtorch 100 in the one go," says Chris. "Currently, I'm the resident blowtorcher and have ruined a fair few," he says, joking. The doughnuts on display show no hint burn marks, their caramelised surfaces look Instagram-perfect. 

The shopfront is located within a concrete car park, so it's not the most inspiring site, but there's a nearby park where you can sit with your mango sticky rice ice-cream or doughnuts coated with crushed black sesame biscuits. Turn up after 5pm, and you can request deep-fried ice-cream flavours, or you can pre-order the DIY deep-fried ice-cream kits from its online shop at any hour. Just like the early days (but without the oil explosions).

Doughnut and ice-cream stack.
Doughnut and ice-cream stack. Photo: Edwina Pickles

The low-down  

Duo Duo

Main attraction Asian-inspired ice-cream that doesn't hold back: the Vietnamese coffee gets its punch from infused beans and the Thai milk tea is brewed with steeped leaves. The doughnuts are rested for three days and creatively flavoured with a black sesame version of cookies and cream, and other inspired combinations. Even a "plain" flavour like passionfruit is ultra-fruity and lavishly glazed. 

Must-try dish The Thai milk tea ice-cream and doughnuts are brilliant. The dairy-free raspberry, coconut and lychee ice-cream is a scoop-worthy highlight, too. 

Insta-worthy dish The cartoon-like passionfruit doughnut (which could easily make a cameo on The Simpsons) or the oozy, blowtorched creme brulee flavour.