We all know that nothing tickles my pickle quite like dessert – whether I opt for decadently dark and desirable chocolate, lashings of luxurious ice cream or ramparts of ripe fruit, I have a serious sweet tooth. Stowing away my ‘Desserts Anonymous’ membership card, my sister was besides herself with excitement when she discovered Cream’s, just a ten minute walk away from her new flat near Southend football stadium. Labelling itself as an ‘Italian Gelato and Dessert company’, her eyes widened in greed-induced amazement and she had me on speed dial before you could say sundae. Needless to say, when I next tootled up the A127 for a visit, Cream’s was on our hit list. After eating a yummy homemade steak salad in the comfort of Jess’s flat, we then eagerly shoved our coats on, intrigued to see what Cream’s would deliver.
Decked out in masculine hues of black and Cadbury’s purple, Cream’s is heavily stylised with an American influence, taking the retro notion of piled up sundaes and ice cream milkshakes and giving it a very grown up makeover to resemble a cross between a night club, a car café and a US diner. Mixing swanky leather booths and a winged logo you would expect to see embossed on a leather jacket with perky waiting staff and children’s programmes on the TV’s in the background is a bit of an odd combination, but I don’t think it was detrimental to the overall experience. The black ceiling was speckled with fairy lights to give a night sky effect, the majority of the restaurant housing high backed booths with the seated striped in black and purple; some high tables and stool seating available near the tills and dessert bar.
And what a dessert bar. Stretching from the front of the venue to over halfway down the length of the room, the dessert bar held an array of goodies. First up was the Italian gelato selection, multi-coloured swirls of stacked ice cream like rectangular bricks of brilliance all lined up next to each other within the chilled display case. Next to that was the tills as well as another display unit, this time showcasing cheesecakes and sponge cakes, ready sliced segments allowing you to peer enticingly at the layers within. Some of the treats here looked a little fake and flown in instead of handmade, however there was a great mix of flavours available to suit every taste bud, with fruit, chocolate, caramel and cream all ticked off the cake flavour list.
Upon entering, a perky blonde in a black cap greeted us warmly, grabbing some menus from nearby before showing us to one of the tall tables directly by the till. As we inelegantly hopped up on to the surprisingly comfortable stools she explained our table number, and that we ordered and paid (cash only) at the tills behind us. Reassuring us that if we had any problems, just speak to her, she left us to check out the menu.
The menu had me wishing a) I had skipped dinner, and b) that I had won the lottery. I literally wanted it all. The large laminated double sided sheet seemed to have my name stamped all over it. Whatever your favoured sweet treat, Cream’s would have it covered and covered in style. The waffles were the size of dinner plates, being whizzed to tables nearby one large round of warm dough, topped with whatever you fancied. The guy next to me seemed to have his with M&M’s stuck in the grooves and swirled with chocolate sauce. Crepes and pancakes were also on the agenda, again with a great variety of toppings available, my eyes averting to check out the banana and chocolate choice although also half-heartedly musing about a strawberry and cream variety. Hot desserts were also available, served with either custard or ice cream, so if crumble, sticky toffee pudding or brownies were more your scene, you could still tuck in. Although the Oreo cheesecake looked mighty tempting, anyone who knows me knows what my one main weakness is when it comes to places like this…sundaes. And wowsers, what a sundae menu.
There were so many options that my brain was boggled by the possibilities. Covering everything from the humble banana split to the intriguing blue and pink bubblegum option, there was plenty to pick from. I instantly honed in on some of my favourite flavours, checking out the Oreo sundae featuring cookie dough ice cream and a nut sundae, which used pistachio and hazelnut ice cream. I also leaned towards the coffee bean sundae, with cappuccino flavoured ice cream although the chocaholic also sounded interesting – it was made of a chocolate basket. I spotted a tropical sundae and a coconut option which would have been ideal for my other half, however it was up to us indecisive girls to settle on our ice cream.
In the end, I went for a Ferrero Rocher Sundae, and boy am I glad I did. Adoring the gold adorned chocolates, I loved the fact that they had their own ice cream flavour, especially when it was sat on pools of dark chocolate sauce, studded with the soft Ferrero Rocher chocolate centres, piled with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream as well as decorated with Ferrero Rochers and white and milk chocolate curls. Quite a mouthful I think you’ll agree. Despite looking colossal on the menu, when it arrived at the table, it was actually a rather nice size, not being too overbearing but definitely enough to get your teeth stuck in to ( I’m sure I could have managed two if I had had more cash on me). Presented in a frilly edged tall sundae glass, it looked delicious and I couldn’t wait to dive in. Yes, sundaes are basically just ice cream and odds and sods, but putting the flavours together creatively and getting the combinations and layers right to create a truly great sundae takes skill, and I am pleased to announce that Cream’s has this skill. I thoroughly enjoyed every spoonful of my dessert, the ice cream was so light, yet creamy and luxurious, packed full of beautiful milk chocolate notes with the added oomph of hazelnuts laced throughout. For £6.75 it was tasty, although I think a bit small for the price. Jess went for the coffee bean, the highlight again being the smooth ice cream texture and I enjoyed nicking some of the chocolate coated coffee beans.
On the whole, I really enjoyed Cream’s as something different. I mean, whereabouts can you go to a dessert parlour? Yes, there are coffee shops and patisseries, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish, serving a very different product. As desserts go, this all American venue situated in seaside town Southend ticks the boxes very nicely and the variety available is astounding, with prices that won’t blow the bank balance. A nice added extra if maybe you don’t have the time or funds for a full meal out but want something a little special. It certainly hit the spot for us.