Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Darlinghurst Blog: Food: Wow Cow

Wowzers. How come the word wowzers is suddenly being used everywhere? I started saying it to myself a couple of weeks ago in place of say, yikes, and I wondered where on earth I picked it from. Then I saw it used by two other people on Facebook and realised it must be one of those zeitgeisty things. A bit like frozen yoghurt.
Why is this sugar-laden frozen yoghurt suddenly popular? 
Wow Cow - which should really be called Wowzers Cowzers - opened a few years ago in the heart of the Victoria Street cafe strip and specialises in what it terms Super Chilled Yoghurt (SCY) - a fancy name for frozen yoghurt. 

I had never been inside the Wowzers Cowzers but every time I walked by, the tiny little shop with its footpath seating was packed. During the day, it would be full of students from SCEGGS, Darlinghurst Public School and St Vincent's College spending their pocket money on soft-serve confections, while at night the place is choc-a-bloc with grown-ups eating SCY with strange condiments, such as mochi. What the hell is mochi?

Anyway, about a month ago, I happened to be walking by as usual when I had a sudden smoothie craving and the next thing I knew I was inside Wowzers Cowzers ordering some strange SCY dairy drink. It was ok. A bit sour. 
But, back to the zeitgeist: within a week of my virgin SCY experience, my former flatmate Myles Mapplethorpe was visiting from his new home in Perth, in Western Australia. 
He spent about one week in Sydney, ticking off the boxes of the places he missed: Una's for schnitzel, Abduls for a kebab and the Midnight Shift for a perve.
Then on his final night in Darlinghurst, he suddenly declared that he had to go to Wow Cow, despite never having been there before. Zeitgeist! So there I was at Wow Cow for the second time in a week. 

The shop is owned by US-born surfer turned entrepreneur Carl Harwin, who lives on Sydney's northern beaches with his wife Dani Behr, a UK tabloid darling who appeared in that monstrous television program, I'm a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here!
Harwin first moved into the food game in the mid-1990s - with brother Brett Harwin and surfer John Berry - opening a series of healthy fast food outlets called Kauai in South Africa. 
When he moved to Australia from California in 2006 he was surprised there were no places to buy SCY - the It dessert in the United States - and Wow Cow was born.
There were plans to expand and franchise the concept but five years down the track, Darlinghurst remains the only shop in Australia.

The shop is absolutely tiny so I suppose that's one reason why it always looks busy. It also plays really loud dance music, which gives the effect of being in a crowded nightclub. There are mirrors along one wall and cows hanging from the astro-turfed ceiling.

The SCY is administered in a soft serve, so it doesn't have that horrible frosty-ice texture of the little pots of frozen yoghurt from my childhood. It also comes in a range of flavours, which change daily or weekly and include coconut, pistachio or green tea. 

We had arrived after eating at Una's and there was no way I needed to consume any more food so I was relying on Myles to order something interesting, like say, the mochi topping. But he played it straight and simply ordered the plain yoghurt with some average crumble topping. I tried one small spoonful. It was nice and smooth, sweet but also sour; nothing exciting. After all it's just frozen yoghurt. But mochi. That is one thing I will definitely be going back to try. Ten bucks mochi is going to be the new zeitgeisty ingredient.

Wow Cow
2/304-308 Victoria Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
02 9326 0400

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