Back in April somewhere new opened in Camberley, our local town, and we were keen to visit. Frenchies Dessert Parlour promised to be an American style diner, serving pancakes, ice cream, waffles and milkshakes. Up until now there hasn’t been a Camberley dessert parlour and I was keen to see what Frenchies had to offer and if it was just like other cafes in Camberley. The weeks before it opened I saw the diner coming together, the red and white theme and the Facebook updates from Frenchies showing the staff training and fancy 50’s style uniforms.
Back in April we didn’t have any reason to go to Frenchies – we like to save treats like this for special occasions and so we decided to put off our visit until LP’s Birthday. We spent the day at Wellington Country Park, had a late lunch and stopped off at Frenchies on the way home for a Birthday ice cream treat for LP.
What were our first impressions of Frenchies Dessert Parlour?
When we walked into Frenchies the first appearances were great – the red and white theme looked very American and retro and we were seated in a booth where LP sat happily on one of the padded benches with Dave and I whilst Little Man sat in a highchair at the end. We were given menus and asked if we’d been before, as we hadn’t the waitress explained that one menu was the actual menu and the other had the ice cream flavours on one side and toppings/sauces on the other.
We worked out what we were having and as Dave saw on the menu that we had to go up to the till to order I went up with the menu but a waitress then said she’d come over to our table – slight confusion but the waitress took our order and we waited patiently for our treats. After a few minutes both Dave and I’s milkshakes came out – Maltesers for me and Peanut M&M’s for Dave. The milkshakes were nice but the peanut one had separated so that the peanut bit was at the top and the rest was just milk. They were billed as ‘Premium Ice Cream Milkshakes’ but didn’t seem to have much ice cream in them, they weren’t thick at all but they were nice all the same and the kids happily shared them with us.
What is the food like at Frenchies?
A bottomless coke we ordered came out next along with Little Man’s scoop of vanilla ice cream. We then waited another few minutes before LP’s ice cream sundae arrived. Her ice cream was actually amazing and their range of desserts was fantastic. Two scoops of ice cream, whippy ice cream on top, two different toppings and sauce for only £3.25! That was definitely money well spent and LP couldn’t even make a dent in it, she loved it and for her it was the best Birthday treat she could have asked for.
Is Frenchies good value for money?
A few minutes later Dave’s sundae came out which was just as lovely as LP’s and practically the same size – considering it was £5.45 and the only noticeable difference was that it had Oreos through it and a whole one on the side rather than toppings and I think LP’s was definitely better value – We should have just ordered kids ones!
What was the service like at Frenchies, Camberley?
We were then waiting nearly ten minutes for my Traditional Crepe to arrive and Dave caught a waitress’s attention to ask where it was. Within a couple of minutes it appeared at our table and on first impressions it looked great – A crepe folded into a triangle, sprinkled with icing sugar, a scoop of ice cream and a lemon slice on the side. Unfortunately though it didn’t live up to expectations – The pancake batter was more like the consistency of a donut, thick, hard and even crumbly in places. I was looking forward to a lovely thin crepe, drizzled in lemon juice but instead I had something awfully dry that tasted more like funfair dinky donuts. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all and I left it after a couple of bites.
Whilst we were sitting eating Dave and I noticed quite a lot about the diner – They were playing a movie projected onto the wall that wasn’t the most family friendly of movies, the floor was filthy with muddy footprints and the backdoor had been left open into the service yard behind making where we sat directly in front of it incredibly drafty – at one point a Frenchies menu even fell down into LP’s ice cream.
What would have improved our visit to Frenchies?
It would have been lovely if the staff had come over after a few minutes to ask if everything was ok and we would have asked them to close the door and to take back my crepe but unfortunately we didn’t have any more interaction until we went to pay. When we went up to pay we told the waitress that we weren’t happy with the crepe and she said we needed to speak to a supervisor who agreed to not charge for the crepe after Dave said we weren’t going to pay for it – She didn’t seem particularly fussed that we weren’t happy and the customer service throughout was distinctly lacking – The wasn’t any polite chat, nothing very friendly or welcoming about the staff.
It’s sad to say that our experience of Frenchies was disappointing after we had waited a few months for a special occasion to visit. Frenchies could be fantastic – The ice cream sundaes were great and the prices weren’t bad at all but they are let down by a lack of restaurant service standards. If they were to simple bring out a table’s whole order in one go and ask after a few minutes whether everything was ok it would go a long way to improving the Frenchies experience.
We usually like to support independent businesses but unfortunately we won’t be returning to Frenchies in the future.
It’s worth noting that Frenchies have since been taken over and are under new management. They have new menus and no doubt new staff and also offer gluten free options. Basically, our thoughts may not be valid any longer and I’m hoping that things have changed with the new managers!
You can find Frenchies at 35 Obelisk Way, Camberley GU15 3SG