Tag Archives: Liquid nitrogen

We Love Chin Chin Labs

12 Sep

Whilst a 99 with a Flake may take you back to days spent on a pebbled beach in your Grandma’s hometown trying not to shiver as you demand an ice cream, these days Mr Whippy just doesn’t quite cut it. In the wake of the molecular gastronomy explosion (teehee) of the last five years, if you’re not using liquid nitrogen then there’s no Michelin star for you mister. It was only a matter of time before molecular gastronomy was condensed enough for us mere mortals to understand, and thanks to the likes of Heston Blumenthal the UK is regularly glued to the telly salivating over white chocolate candle sticks and ‘meat fruit’.

But then came Chin Chin Labs. Chin Chin Labs is said to be Europe’s first and only liquid nitrogen ice cream parlour, allowing customers a glimpse into a world frequented by old French men with lots of letters after their names. Removing all pretentiousness from the equation (so long as you choose to ignore the gaggle of hipsters that wait tables at the restaurant next door), Chin Chin has a simple menu featuring a small handful of flavours that include chocolate and vanilla as well as two specials that change weekly, all for less than a fiver. Tucked away on a cobbled street just off Camden High Street, this tiny cafe with just a few tables and a very friendly team regularly has a line spilling outside.


Brainchild of the husband and wife team¬†Ahrash Akbari-Kalhur and Nyisha Weber, the duo influenced by the likes of Blumenthal and Ferran Adria wanted to open and affordable ice cream parlour that allowed customers to enter into their smoky lab where the ice cream is made in front of your eyes. Using liquid nitrogen at a somewhat chilly -200c freezes the custardy mixture of ingredients quickly and before ice crystals ¬†form, creating a beautifully smooth and dense ice cream. The ice cream itself is full of the most beautiful yet delicate flavours that blend together perfectly and are only further enhanced by the range of toppings available. The menu is carefully crafted and coincide wonderfully with the not only the weather but the atmosphere of the city. The weekend of Notting Hill Carnival boasted a dairy free Honey Mango & Ginger sorbet that brought the fruity spiciness so prevalent in the colourful festival, without forcing us to leave the comfy confines of North London. Similarly, with one of the hottest weekends of the year came the Coconut (Sun) Cream which was designed to taste the way that coconut sun cream smells, taking you immediately to a Caribbean beach with a pina colada in hand. As the back to school season approaches, the current menu is topped with a Peanut Butter & Grape Jelly special. The toppings on range are equally as inventive, ranging from Fleur De Sel caramel to cardamon and pistachio powder to lavender honeycomb. Chin Chin’s also allows customers the option to buy a bag of some of the toppings including a grilled white chocolate and caramelised pretzels, sold in a vacuum sealed bag reminiscent of those containing astronaut food. This is just one of a handful of small tokens that lends itself so ingeniously to the mad scientists lab that is nestled away in the heart (if not the liver) of London.


Coconut (Sun) Cream with Lavender Honeycomb


Honey Mango & Ginger with Cardamon and Pistachio Powder with an adorable medicine spoon






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