“ Brand: Shakeaholic / Type: Milkshake shop „
I was introduced to Shakeaholic by my fiancé - up until then I had seen the shops in Newcastle but never been in. I have never been a huge milkshake fan and, naively it seems, had always thought milkshake came in three flavours - strawberry, chocolate and banana. Not so......
Shakeaholic is a chain of milkshake bars which are predominantly located in the North East but curiously they also have one shop in France. The one I am reviewing is the one in the Metro Centre as I've only ever been into the Newcastle branches once or twice.
The idea of Shakeaholic is simple. Imagine a milkshake. Are you imagining? Now imagine your favourite sweet food. It could be a chocolate bar, a pack of sweets, a biscuit, even a cake, or a cereal. Now imagine that product in a milkshake. Sound good? Or sound like a disaster? Well at Shakeaholic you can pay for the privilege of finding out! Seriously though, the menu in Shakeaholic is vast and slightly overwhelming. Almost any variety of milkshake you can imagine is here. And some you couldn't dream up if you tried are here too. It varies wildly from the fairly sane options - Dairy Milk, Smarties, Galaxy - to the absolutely bonkers - Custard, Peanut Butter, Marmite. Marmite?! Now I'm in the 'Love' camp when it comes to marmite, but in a milkshake? No chance!
I can't list all varieties that Shakeaholic do here as there are just too many, but I'll list a few to give a brief idea. From the 'Chocolate' section of the menu, Bounty (both light and dark), Cadbury's Crème Egg, Fry's Turkish Delight, Snickers, Hershey's Cookies and Crème and Kinder Bueno. From the 'Sweets' section, Black Jacks, Cinder toffee, parma violets, skittles and toffee popcorn. Moving onto biscuits, choices include Fox's Party Rings, Jaffa Cakes and, would you believe, Farley's Rusks! The Cereals section is quite small, but includes Lucky Charms, Golden Nuggets and Strawberry Pop Tarts. Under Cakes, we have Apple pie, Battenburg and Jam Doughnut. For the health conscious there are fruit shakes available, including banana, raspberries and cherries. A range of syrup flavours are available - including gingerbread, vanilla and amaretto, whilst arguably the most bizarre section is the one titled 'Goopy Stuff' which includes the aforementioned marmite as well as nutella and strawberry jam.
The milkshakes themselves contain full fat milk and ice cream. I believe you can ask for a soya option too if you can't drink cows milk. You can also ask for a topping on your milkshake, but I have only done this once and didn't really see the point. To be honest I only got it because they had a special offer on to get a free topping and I chose Cadbury Buttons. Of course they all sink to the bottom and have to be scooped out with a straw, so I didn't quite 'get' the point of having a 'topping' on my milkshake.
The Shakeaholic shops themselves tend to be fairly small. The Metro Centre branch is located downstairs in the yellow quadrant not far from Argos. If you can't find it there are interactive maps all over the place which will be able to point you in the right direction. Unlike one or two of the other branches there is no seating inside the Metro Centre shop, so milkshakes are takeaway only.
You need to pay at the desk at the back of the shop and place your order. Menus are displayed on boards in the shop window and on walls inside and all the sweets and chocolate can be seen on the back wall in cubbyholes. You can order either regular or large sizes.
Once your order is placed you can watch the staff make your milkshake up. They do this using Blendtec blenders. You may have seen these before, they are the stars of willitblend.com which is an almost cult internet site, featuring these powerful blenders capable of crushing mobile phones.
The staff at Shakeaholic all tend to be young (I think a lot may be students) but they are always polite and I've never had a bad experience.
One thing it may be worth noting, is that due to the nature of the place it attracts a lot of youngsters and dare I say it, chavs. I completely avoid the place on weekends and during school holidays because the place is packed with queues out of the door, and quite frankly I've never been so desperate for a milkshake that I'm willing to stand in a long queue.
The big question, I suppose is what do the milkshakes taste like? Well pretty good to be honest, although I guess that your experience will have a lot to do with the flavours you choose. I am always rather conservative in my choices, with After Eights and Terry's Chocolate Orange being favourites. Ironically, my fiancé who is a fussy eater usually is much more daring with his choices and has tried some truly disgusting varieties, mainly involving fruit flavoured sweets containing sherbet.
The shakes are served in black and white striped paper cups, although last time they'd run out and I was given a plain white cup. One niggle is that because you often have 'bits' of chocolate in the bottom of your shake, the straws often get clogged up. I'd suggest that Shakeaholic should think about going down the route of the KFC krush'em milkshakes and start using thicker, wider straws which would be a simple solution to prevent this.
The prices are £2.60 for a regular shake and £3.30 for a large shake, which I do think is slightly on the expensive side for one drink, but I guess in some ways you are paying for the novelty factor. For an extra scoop of ice cream or a topping you will pay an extra 40p or if you want to combine two flavours, an extra 70p.
A loyalty card is available for free (ask at the counter) and this can be stamped each time you buy a shake. When my fiancé buys a shake for each of us, they generously stamp the card twice. Once you have ten stamps you can get yourself a free shake.
Overall, I would recommend Shakeaholic, if for the novelty factor more than anything else.