Several months ago now, I was perusing Facebook when I came across the most beautiful picture. It was some milkshakes, piled high with whipped cream, brownies, marshmallows… you name it, it was on there. The photo made my belly ache. When I saw the small print – that they were being made by a place in Australia – my heart basically broke. I seriously debated hopping on a plane to the other side of the world simply for a taste, but I managed to restrain myself. After all, if I did somehow manage to scrape together the money for a ticket, I wouldn’t be left with enough to actually buy the milkshake. Finally, a few weeks later, I spotted the news I’d been waiting for. The freakshake craze had made it across the pond to London. Now my mission is clear: test out as many freakshakes as humanly possible. So far I have only made it to three but I will keep you updated as and when I inevitably find more.
Where: Dalston Kingsland
Molly Bakes was the place that got the freakshake headlines going in London. I don’t know if it was the first place to start serving them but it was definitely the one that got the most attention. I scheduled a visit as soon as possible and hot-footed it over to Dalston, even though I had read that customers had been queuing for over an hour to actually get a seat. Apparently these milkshakes bring everyone to the yard. I arrived to find that I was not going to be able escape a queue but I can’t have been in it for more than half an hour. I was lucky. It definitely got longer. The queue started outside and worked its way in, past the counter with a cake display. There were only four flavours of freakshake: chocolate, caramel, raspberry and peanut butter (each £7). I went for chocolate – as I generally always do.
As I was pretty peckish by this point, I ordered a salted caramel cupcake as well. I knew this was pretty optimistic given the size of the milkshakes but I wanted it. This turned out to be a great idea – not only because it was delicious but because my freakshake took a while to come, after I ordered and sat myself down. I guess that’s not surprising. They are basically a work of art. It was worth the wait and came topped with a mound of whipped cream, pieces of cookie, mini chocolate balls, popping candy and a toasted marshmallow and a scoop of chocolate ice cream bobbing underneath, on top of my chocolate milk. There was brownie bits stuck in my straw but when I managed to clear it I found that the chocolate milk wasn’t as sweet as I expected. This probably helped me finish the thing and not get overwhelmed by sweet things but I have a serious sweet tooth. Having said that, I still needed a couple of glasses of water to help me finish it and it didn’t help that I mixed in my chocolate ice cream which made the drink almost too thick for my straw. Still, I persevered. I was not going to be leaving a single drop.
On my next visit to Molly Bakes (obviously there was another – the girl behind the counter even recognised me) I tried the caramel flavour. This was the sweet flavoured drink I had been looking for. The toppings weren’t quite as impressive this time but this was still the drink for me.
The Canvas Cafe
Where: Brick Lane
Since I am writing a review, I should probably tell the complete truth here: when I first went to The Canvas Cafe for one of their vegan freakshakes (made with soya milk and coconut milk), it wasn’t great. But then one of my friends sent them an email about it afterwards and got the nicest apology back (so nice I feel bad even saying our experience hadn’t been great in the first place), explaining what had happened and asking if we’d like to come back to try them again. We did just that and this time they were much better. I ordered the chocolate freakshake (I wasn’t brave enough to try the unusual avocado flavour), with homemade Nutella, a macaron and creamy meringue for £7.
The toppings weren’t quite as “freaky” as I’d seen whilst Instagram stalking the place and mine was served with raw avocado cake instead of the macaron, which I had been looking forward (as I always look forward to macarons) but the avocado cake turned out to be really delicious. The chocolate drink was not particularly sweet and quite nutty thanks to the homemade Nutella (which made it hard to drink through a straw). I was left feeling ridiculously full (it actually defeated me, which rarely happens) but I had just about enough space left to try my friend’s raspberry flavoured one. I have to admit, I was jealous of her order. It was like a delicious freakshake smoothie. I’m pretty sure I could justify living off those things.
The Coffee Co
Where: Clapham North, Clapham Common and Tooting
Although going all the way to East London for a freakshake has been totally worth it, I can’t pretend I wasn’t stupidly excited when I discovered that The Coffee Co in South West London (my turf) sold freakshakes as well. Since the most recent branch in Clapham Common is the easiest for me to get to, that’s the one I headed over to. I’d tried to go before but found it was closed despite being within opening hours but thankfully this was second time lucky. The place was empty on the Friday lunchtime and the girl behind the counter reeled off the various flavours on offer – of which there were several. I stopped her when she got to the New York Cheesecake flavour. I didn’t need to hear them all to know that one had my name written all over it.
Once again I found that the toppings weren’t quite as elaborate as I’d seen in Instagram pictures but the thing tasted amazing. There was caramel drizzled both inside and out of my glass, the cheesecake flavoured milkshake was subtle yet completely delicious and the toppings worked surprisingly well. I was unsure about savoury pretzels on top of a super sweet drink but combined with the whipped cream and caramel they were actually excellent. The caramel popcorn was just the cherry on my sundae.