Hidden away in the sprawling area of Xintiandi and surrounded by countless other restaurants and cafes, Pree Ice Cream is a luxury branded ice cream lounge with nothing but delicious homemade ice cream.
My first impression of Pree was positive: it is a small place yet tastefully decorated in a way that emphasizes its intended luxury brand identity. The floor and tables are of clean, sleek, and polished steel, with minimalist colors, chairs, and sofas. The black and white interior, matched with the sleek elements of modern metals, gives the impression of a trendy venue. Pree does not disappoint in its facilities and environment. Located in a side alleyway, the large open windows give a natural and private feeling, as if there are not any people strolling around right outside. The staff was friendly, helpful, and spoke English.
A scoop of ice cream ranges between 48 and 78 yuan, depending on the complexity of the order. After having decided upon a flavor, one is served a small cup of lemon water when waiting for the ice cream to arrive. This definitely enhances the feeling of a posh lounge, and not a cheaper bar. The selection of ice cream on the menu is not overwhelming, and instead of focusing on a large variety of common flavors, Pree chooses to focus on a small range of special tastes. If you inherently dislike ice cream, you have unfortunately chosen the wrong place. Except for ice cream, the only other items on the menu are four different types of coffee: Americano, Latte, Cappuccino, and Iced. However, if you are an ice cream connoisseur, you might find the selection very appealing. The only two basic flavors on the menu are the “Three Bean Vanilla” and “The Master Chocolate” (which are plain vanilla and chocolate). In addition to that, Pree offers interesting options such as “Goat Milk with Manuka Honey” and “Lemongrass and Ginger”.
The OCA team decided on a cup of “The Master Chocolate” and a cup of “Pumpkin Spice Caramel with Pecan.” Pree makes only homemade ice cream, and it is definitely noticeable. The texture and the flavor of the ice cream are distinctly better than any cheap low-budget brand. However, after the initial sugar excitement, it does not really get any better. There is nothing wrong with the ice cream, yet it is not as overwhelmingly amazing as one would expect from a luxury ice cream spot double the price of most other brands. The combination of pumpkin ice cream covered in caramel is not disappointing, but as the sauce and nuts are only on the top of the scoop, the bottom soon becomes rather plain.
To conclude, Pree Ice Cream lives up to its brand of luxury ice cream in its service and exterior. However, when looking at the actual product, it is not as fantastic as one would expect. The selection of flavors is interesting and rare, and I would recommend Pree if you want a different ice cream experience or are tired of the same old chain store variety. However, if you are not bathing in money, and just want some quick ice cream, Pree might not be for you.
This article was written by Sabina Olsson. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Sabina Olsson