I recently read about Chin Chin Laboratorists in London’s Stylist magazine and jumped at the chance to go when my friend Chira suggested it. Chin Chin Labs is Europe’s first liquid nitrogen ice cream parlour. Made using liquid nitrogen, the ice cream tastes like any other and I can assure you it is perfectly safe to eat (well, I haven’t died yet!). It comes in two standard flavours; chocolate and vanilla along with two special flavours which change weekly. Each £3.95 pot contains a scoop of one flavour with either a sauce or topping such as white chocolate potato chips or green tea peanuts.
Surprisingly, Chin Chin Labs has been around for almost two years, tucked away down one of Camden’s many cobbled streets. Unfortunately, it is only open until 7pm so you can’t spend the whole evening eating endless amounts of ice cream. After running a few after-work errands, Chira and I arrived at 6:40pm a little later than planned but with just enough time to spare. Chin Chin Labs only take cash so make sure you have some on you. Don’t make the same mistake as Chira did which resulted in her having to run from Camden Lock to Camden Tube and back in the pouring rain to get cash out. By the time she had arrived back it was 6:55pm but the owner was kind enough to let us order and take a seat.
We both decided to try the flavour of the week, deep-fried apple doughnut with a topping of caramelised pretzels, very daring we thought. We watched in amazement as our ice creams were crafted in the lab behind. A powdery-type substance was sprinkled into a mixer and liquid nitrogen poured in to freeze it. To be honest, I’m not sure exactly how it was made but it was made with passion and that’s what I loved most about this place. After speaking with the owner, it appeared that he and his wife decided to set up shop due to their love of chemistry and food. He was so enthusiastic about his new venture that when closing time came around we were left put to enjoy our ice cream.
The ice cream tasted like any other good ice cream. It was smooth and creamy and had a distinct flavour of cream and apple with a slight taste of cinnamon, which was sprinkled on top. Hidden throughout the ice cream was a sweet apple compote which really brought the flavour to life. It actually tasted like I was eating an apple doughnut, but nicer, because this was ice cream after all!
I have to admit, I have tasted better ice cream (I have sampled Gelato in over 16 European countries!) but the distinct flavour, unusual choice of toppings and interior of the parlour left me raving about this place. I have already persuaded my colleagues to come with me next week to try the latest weekly special. You won’t find liquid nitrogen ice cream anywhere else in Europe so if you are after something unique yet delicious then you must visits Chin Chin Labs in Camden Town.
Living life, loving cake,