Frozen yogurt lovers definitely took Pinkberry‘s entry into India well! As a self-confessed Pinkberry lover, I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I was overly excited with the news, and rushed to Bandra from the comforts of my South Bombay bubble just to see if it tasted the same as the frozen yogurt that got me through nights of incessant studying and some fun breaks in college. Strolling along Riverside Park near Columbia University with a Pomegranate Pinkberry will always be a fond memory of mine, and I was excited to recreate it. But did I? Well, kind of.
Pinkberry is an upscale frozen yogurt chain started in 2005 by Shelley Hwang and Young Lee in Los Angeles, California. Earlier simply a west coast phenomenon, it soon expanded to New York City, and they also have several locations around the world, including Egypt, the UK and the Philippines. Pinkberry’s claim to fame is its delicious frozen yogurt. It comes in a variety of flavors, is nonfat and filled with live and active cultures, which is needed in order to be classified as a ‘yogurt’ by the National Yogurt Association in America. While Pinkberry has a number of seasonal flavors that rotate on a monthly basis, their original flavor stays the same year-round.
Pinkberry Mumbai, located in Pali Hill, has six flavors you can choose from. Right next to the Costa Coffee, this tiny little outlet has just about enough space to move around and a small seated area. The bright green and pink hues from the Pinkberry logo brought a lot of joy to the interiors, despite the pouring rain outside. Now, on to the flavors:
Pinkberry Original – This is precisely what yogurt should taste like. Not too sweet and just the right amount of creamy tartness, Pinkberry Original is a perfect pick-me-up.
Pomegranate – My favorite flavor by far, Pomegranate is very tart. It’s got a tangy flavor that you don’t find in other yogurts.
Mango – Another favorite. Tart with a tinge of mangos, Mango is the sweeter, tamer cousin of Pomegranate. Just don’t expect it to taste like Alphonsos!
Green Apple – This flavor is exclusive to the India market. I really liked it because of its similarity to Pomegranate – tart, but with a hint of sweetness.
Chocolate – Some people swear by the chocolate flavor at Pinkberry, but personally I’m not a fan. It’s too rich for my taste, with the overwhelming dark chocolate flavor canceling out the yogurt’s originally creamy consistency.
Salted Caramel – This is interesting, for lack of a better word. Ideal for those who prefer their yogurt without the tartness that I personally adore, Salted Caramel is an amazing mix of sweet and sour.
As you can see from the menu above, Pinkberry Mumbai has definitely gone the Indian route. While the international outlets boast Greek yogurt and smoothies, we have dahi and lassis. And please don’t miss the inventive toppings like Dhokla and Khatta Meetha mix! I sampled the mango lassi, which was very fruity and I couldn’t really taste any yogurt in it at all. It was more like a milkshake. The shakes are nice, very refreshing and simply a liquified version of your favorite flavor. The fresh yogurt was nothing you couldn’t get at home, though.
In terms of toppings, I was honestly very disappointed. No bananas. Since we don’t get blueberries and strawberries aren’t in season, none of those either. They definitely need to add more fruit – where are the peaches, pears and plums that are now in season? The dry toppings were also upsetting – no cheesecake bites or mochi. They did have red velvet bites, the signature Pinkberry almond granola and coconut shavings to be fair, along with fresh mango. Still, I could’ve done with a larger variety. And of course, they had the desi mixes like chickoo and dates that honestly I was too hesitant to try. Other people have tried them though, and they claim that the yogurt then tastes like ‘chaat’ – well, I guess I’ll never know. They also have liquid toppings like Nutella, honey and rose syrup in case you want to jazz up your yogurt with a different flavor!
You can get your Pinkberry in one of three sizes – small, medium and large. The small here is the same as the mini in the United States (3 ounces) while the medium is 5 ounces and the large is 8 ounces. You can also get Pinkberry to take home, in a large container.
Final verdict: While I couldn’t replay my college days of Pomegranate yogurt with blueberries and mochi, I did enjoy my mango and coconut shavings. I’m glad that Pinkberry has stuck to its roots while trying to appease the Indian market, and honestly, if you’re craving some frozen yogurt, definitely go there – it really is the best in terms of both taste and freshness. Now if only they would open one in SoBo…