Superb ice cream from those who know it best returns to Leicester Square in time for the sun. What remarkable timing.
In the fever-busy space that is Leicester Square, Haagen-Dazs cafe has reopened and made itself quite literally bigger and better. Stepping inside into the beautifully slick cafe, you’re greeted by a host who gives you a choice of tables – as long as it’s not too busy. The colour scheme fits perfectly with the famous ice-cream company, full of creams, taupe, dark browns and reds, making it a welcoming and easy place to sit and indulge. A portion of the back wall is covered with wallpaper full of raspberry close-up, breaking up the beige accented by the various deep red seats. Despite bright lighting with the help of two wonderful chandeliers, the cafe has kept a sense of intimacy for each table to enjoy. If you don’t fancy a sit-down pleasure, there is also an ice-cream bar for tempted passers-by.
You can expect to find anyone and everyone here, from couples on a first date to a group of fifteen teens. Soft music is played in the background, on par with the easy-going, happy vibe. All the staff are very helpful in suggesting what’s best and explaining the menu - which is very large and ever so slightly complicated.
With a massive choice of twenty-four different ice-cream flavours and a selection of crepes, waffles, sauces, brownies and cookies, you’re sure to find something - or a few things - to satisfy your sweet tooth. The newest addition, white chocolate and raspberry ice-cream, offered as a sample on sitting is creamy and works well with the fresh tartness of raspberries, helping it to a clean finish. One scoop of the beautiful caramel and crunchy macadamia nut brittle teamed with tiramisu ice-cream (with subtle hints of espresso) is a match made in heaven (two scoops £4.95). The fluffy Belgian waffle (£2.35) on the side is deceptively sweet, so unless you’re as sweet as sugar, no sauce is needed. In just a scoop (one scoop £2.90) of banoffee ice-cream, Haagen-Dazs has managed to bring together an entire dessert. A distinct banana flavour accompanied with the sweet toffee and creamily smooth texture means it absolutely does what it says on the tin, and is delicious. The butterscotch sauce (one topping 60p) is disappointing as it lacks any real flavour, but maybe with a scoop of plain vanilla, it’d be appreciated.
A latte (£2.90) has rich coffee notes and goes very well with any chocolately pudding on the menu. The raspberry dacquiri (£7.10) made with fresh raspberries, rum, lemonade and raspberry sorbet has an exciting fizz on the tongue and ends with a fairly strong rum after taste, but is still dangerously easy to drink. The tequila sunrise (£7.10), blended with mango sorbet, grenadine, orange juice and tequila has a much bigger kick to it and could do with a bit more mango flavour to equal the orange juice.
The Last Word
Haagen-Dazs Leicester Square has only been back open for a couple of weeks and already queues are forming outside. And it’s no wonder why. The extensive menu of suggested combinations, fondues, make-your-own, cocktails and milkshakes shows there’s no end to how far a scoop of ice-cream can go. Slightly pricey but definitely worth a trip for a deliciously indulgent treat.