Freggo Review – Argentinian Ice Cream in West End
Published 21 November 2009
I first heard about Freggo after reading a review of the place in the Time Out London magazine, which gushed about this posh new ice cream parlour which serves ice cream flown all the way from Buenos Aires, Argentina and is the same one that is served in Argentina’s best known ice cream chain Freddo. Fittingly, it was opened by the owners of Gaucho Grill, who specialise in Argentinian steaks.
After hearing Freggo mentioned a few more times in Time Out over the weeks and from a variety of sources, my curiosity got the better of me and one night when I was in the area I decided to pop in to Freggo, located just of Piccadilly Circus and Regent Street. First impressions when walking in to the small Freggo cafe located next to a Swallow Street Gaucho Grill was being wow-ed by the modern club-like decor and mood of the place. The dark, lush booths on one side of the place definitely makes this place suitable for a post-romantic-dinner dessert, more so than the stalwart Haagen Dazs in Leicester Square which now seems more like a family venue than an opulent and decadent ice cream parlour.
However, this is the point where my bubble started to burst, and I realised the stark harsh reality that Freggo, despite its clever marketing and PR, is really a flop of an ice cream parlour. From their ice cream menu, my partner and I decided to share a 2-flavour-scoop cup, choosing the Banana and Temptation (double Dulce de Leche) flavours. The first warning sign was that, despite this place supposedly being famous for ice cream, there was no glass fronted display with the various tubs of ice cream flavours for all to see. Instead, the staff opened a random freezer from behind the counter, scooped out two ice cream scoops from what could have been supermarket ice cream tubs, and served it to us. The picture below is of the cup with two scoops that we got, and which we handed over £3.95 for:
What a sad looking cup of ice cream.
Still, Freggo had one more chance to redeem itself, and as I plunged my spoon into the soft gooey double Dulce de Leche, I prayed that this special trip to this place would not be in vain. But I was disappointed still further with the lack of any “wow” factor or luxuriousness of either the Temptation or the Banana flavour, although the Banana was clearly the better of the two. The Temptation flavour was too sweet, too sticky, and the chocolate tasted like Sainsbury’s basic chocolate. The Banana flavour though did have a genuine strong Banana taste which was rather nice. However, it was easy to tell that the ice cream had spent weeks in a styrofoam box being shipped thousands of miles; there was somewhat of a stale flavour that one would normally associate with bread, and ice crystals had formed in the ice cream meaning that the ice cream must have melted and re-froze a few times, indicating poor transportation and storage.
So how was Argentinian ice cream? Actually, it tasted awfully like normal ice cream, one you would expect from the frozen section of your local supermarket. Freggo has a lot further to go if it wants to make it into the ultra-competitive ice cream scene in London. It is nowhere near the quality and perfection that Oddono’s and Scoop are at the moment, and for the price paid, it is like throwing money away.
Address: 27-29 Swallow Street, Piccadilly, W1B 4QR
Tel: 020 7287 9506