Thursday, March 23, 2017

Weeel Frozen Yogurt, Lisbon, Portugual

When in Lisbon ... get froyo?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I was supposed to be filling up on pastel de nata (which I did, at Pastéis de Belém), but, it was hot, and I wanted froyo.  What's a girl to do, particularly when she walks by a cute froyo stand in the mall food court?  I didn't even research Weeel before my visit, which is rare for me.  I'm glad I took the gamble, as it was excellent, and I returned every day I had left in Lisbon.

They offer only one flavor of yogurt (plain tart), with toppings, or made into shakes and parfaits.  At least, that is what I figured out from the menu and website.  The menu was very confusing, even though it had pictures.

The frozen yogurt comes in 3 sizes, always in a cup, no cones available, always with at least one topping.  That part was simple.

The other options, besides just froyo with toppings, are a "weeel shake" with frozen yogurt, fruit, and toppings, blended like a shake, or a "weeel fresh", which seemed to be some kind of fruit juice mix, or a "weeel up" which looked like a shake topped with more plain froyo and fruit, or a "weeel cool", which looked like a fruity ice mix topped with froyo and other toppings, and a "weeel done", a parfait, which I'll get more into below.

While the others shoppers weren't drawn to froyo and it was empty every time I walked by, the place does seem successful, as they have a few shops around the country, mostly in Lisbon, mostly in mall food courts.  They also have a few frozen yogurt trucks!  Lisbon is down with the trends, like serving milkshakes in mason jars at Ground Burger.

The yogurt and toppings were both high quality, and I really recommend Weel, if, you know, you wind up in Lisbon and want froyo.  It happens.
Toppings!
The toppings choices are extensive, ranging from liquids, to fruits, to candy, to cookies, to nuts.

Since they have only plain froyo, and all sizes come with at least one topping included, I guess this makes sense.

For liquids, there is dark chocolate, white chocolate, caramel, mango sauce, liquid nutella, and the fascinating looking "rafaweeel".  More on rafaweel soon.  Oh, and squeeze bottle of honey.

Next came fruits, including ripe mango chunks, watermelon (!), other melon, shredded coconut, fresh peaches, kiwi, apple compote, and a mixed berry compote.  Ojan lamented the lack of strawberries.

Candies included both milk and white chocolate pearls and mini M&Ms.

There were several types of cookie crumbs, including Oreos and caramelized biscuits.

And finally, nuts.  In addition to standard chopped nuts, there was also a caramelized nuts and seeds mix that I eyed, and granola crumbles.

Really, something for everyone here.  Most items were labelled in both English and Portuguese.
Pequeno with 2 toppings (mango, rafaweeel). 3.20€.
There is only one flavor of yogurt, plain tart.  On my first visit, I added "rafaweeel" and mango.

The yogurt was very good, it reminded me of Red Mango in the US, back when Red Mango was good.  Not too sweet, tart, decently creamy.  Clearly not trying to be ice cream, but very good frozen yogurt.

For my toppings, I was drawn in by nearly everything.  In the end, I decided to get one liquid and one fruit.  I really wanted a crunchy topping too, but, I was trying not to overdo it.

For fruit, I picked mango, as it looked really ripe and juicy.  It was indeed good, large chunks, although, only about 6 pieces were added to my froyo.  I wanted more!  Sadly, my camera did something crazy, and you can't actually see the vibrant, perfectly ripe, mango chunks on here.

For the sauce, I almost got the white chocolate, (or the nutella when I was considering a crunchy topping instead of mango), but last minute, I decided to try the rafaweeel.  I had no idea what it was, but it looked like white chocolate with stuffs in it.  Which ... it was.  I think.  Still not sure about the white chocolate part, it might have just been liquid yogurt coating?  Someone else thought it might be sweetened condensed milk?  Anyway, it was white and sweet.  Sure, it looked kinda odd against the white froyo, but it was tasty.  Inside was flakes of coconut, actually giving it a pretty good coconut flavor.  Coconut and mango were a great combination, so, I really lucked out.  There was also larger chunks of something, not sure of what, maybe waffle cone bits or something?  I appreciated the texture.

Overall, this was really quite good.  The froyo was good, the toppings were good, and the size was enough to be satisfied but not stuffed.  I immediately made a plan to return.

A small normally comes with 1 topping, medium and large with 3.  I wanted a small, but I really wanted 3 toppings.  I compromised and ordered 2 toppings.  I was told that small only comes with 1.  I asked if I could pay more for another topping.  Yes, yes I could.  So, a normal small is 2.70€, I paid 0.50 extra for the second topping.
Pequeno with 2 toppings (caramelized seeds, white chocolate). 3.20€.
A few days later, after a large dinner at nearby Ground Burger, I wasn't really satisfied, and wanted something sweet to end on a good note.  Since we were only a block away, Weeel came to mind immediately.

Note: I was with a group of at least 40 people, and we had just finished devouring burgers, fries, onion rings, and milkshakes, and our next destination was a tiki bar.  Taking a "quick detour" to froyo was perhaps ridiculous, and I honestly didn't think everyone would follow me, I kinda assumed they'd continue to the tiki bar, and then a few folks would come with me and we could meet at the bar.  But instead, I lead a ridiculous entourage into the Il Corte Ingles mall, down to the food court, through the whole food court, and to the Weeel stand.  It really was quite comical, Julie leading a heard.

On this visit, I again asked for two toppings, which again required double confirmation that I was willing to pay extra.  Since I wanted the white chocolate last time and didn't get it, I got it this time, even though, I really wanted that rafaweeel again.  I decided to get my second choice from before of crunchy topping too, caramelized seeds, and skipped fruit, although, the mango looked excellent again.  So, basically, this was my second choice version of everything I got the day before.

And ... it was fine.  The froyo was again tart and creamy, and quite good.  The caramelized seeds were, well, crunchy, slightly sugar coated pumpkin seeds.  I liked the crunch, but otherwise they weren't actually amazing in any way.  The white chocolate was sweet and ok, but, no where near as amazing as rafaweeel.

Ojan was among the group I led there.  I told him how this place was like Red Mango from back when it was good, and assured him he would like it, but, he said he was too full and didn't want any.  He took one bite of mine, and then immediately got in line.  Lols.  He made a healthy version with mango and melon, and really liked it.  He wanted to retur as soon as possible, but we were out of days in Lisbon.

A few others in the group got the rafaweeel at my very strong encouragement.  They all gave it strong endorsements as well, even though they admitted that it looked scary.

So, overall, this froyo was only ok, but, that was my topping picks not being awesome.

If I had another day in Lisbon to get froyo, I'd definitely return.  I'd be pretty tempted to go back to mango and rafaweeel, and maybe add a third crunchy element like nuts.  Or, go for something with chocolate or nutella sauce.  So hard to get past that rafaweeel though ...
Weeel Done. 3.70€.
"Camadas de Iogurte Gelado com Toppings Crocantes, 3 Frutas e Topping Líquido Quente."

On my last visit, there was actually another customer, a lady, who ordered one of the items from the menu that wasn't just froyo with toppings.  It looked incredible.  I quickly asked what it was, and was pointed to the "Weeel Done".  On the menu display, it just showed froyo with some fruit.  Not really knowing what I was getting, I asked for one too.  It was my last visit to Weeel, and I wanted to go big!

It was a layered creation, starting with a little bit of froyo in the bottom.  Then my choice of crunchy topping (yes!).  Then my choice of not one, not two, but THREE fruits (!!!).  Then another crunchy topping (whee!).  Then more froyo.  And then a liquid topping.  Um, wow?  I could get ALL THE THINGS!

I didn't know I'd get all these choices, until it was being assembled.  My server added the froyo to the base, and then asked which crunchy topping I wanted.  I opted for the caramelized almonds, somewhat on a whim.  Then he asked me to pick a fruit, I said mango, since I liked that before.  And he said I got another fruit.  I said peaches, as they looked fresh.  And then he asked for another fruit, so I went with kiwi, mostly just totally randomly picking at that point.  He really loaded it up with fruit, far more per topping than on the regular froyo.

And then ... he asked for another crunchy topping.  I went with the caramelized biscuits, I don't even know why.  I wasn't expecting to get to pick so many things and was totally unprepared.  He returned to the froyo machine to add a ton of froyo on top, and then came back to ask my sauce choice.  That was no question.  Rafaweeel!  He handed over my creation, and I must say, I was pretty excited.  It was so much more than I was planning to get, just a simple small with perhaps two toppings!

The rafaweeel was again amazing, and this time I asked him what it was.  He said it is white chocolate, with coconut and biscuits, as I suspected.  I again loved it, sweet, coconuty, with a bit of fun texture.

The caramelized almond bits were also great, super sweet, nice crunch.  The caramelized biscuit though I didn't care for, as it was basically just cookie crumbs, which, it turns out, aren't very delicious when they get soggy in melty froyo.

The kiwi was hard and very lackluster, like all other kiwi I had on the trip.  I'm starting to think kiwi just isn't what to eat in Portugal.  The peaches were almost good, they had a nice flavor, but were still pretty hard, crisp to bite into.  Maybe that is how peaches are eaten here?  The mango was a mixed bag.  Some chunks were perfectly soft and ripe.  Others were kinda hard.

My parfait was a bit hard to eat, since I wanted to get to the mangos in the bottom, and had to dig through so much else to get there.  But besides that slight annoyance, it was pretty awesome.  Sure, the fruit wasn't all the ripest, and I wouldn't get the biscuit crumble again, but it was still really great, creamy, tart yogurt, a ridiculous amount of toppings, and, swoon, rafaweeel!

I would definitely get a Weeel Done again, if I was hungry enough, or if I had someone to split with, as this really is a bit of an undertaking.  Next time, I'd keep the rafaweeel (or maybe, maybe finally try the chocolate), I'd keep the caramelized almonds and perhaps try some of the chocolate candies, I'd keep the mango, possibly just double up on it, or pick something else that looked ripest.  If ... only there was another time!

I don't really understand the pricing at Weeel.  A small with 3 fruits, 2 crunchy toppings, and 1 liquid topping would be 5.70€.   When I ordered fruit toppings on my froyo, I got less of each on it than in here.  So this was more yogurt than a small, an equal amount of liquid topping, and 5 other toppings, all in more substantial amounts, for 2€ less?

Anyway, if you want a lot of toppings, clearly go this route, even if it is a bit hard to eat.
Weeel Frozen Yogurt Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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