Chin Chin Labs (London's best ice cream parlour)
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Ice cream is one of those foods that we Brits will devour whatever the season. In summer, we’ll cool off with a cone, as we attempt to sunbathe in the pathetic 15ºC heat, while in winter, we’ll use the substance as a sort of ‘I’m invincible’ protest against the cold. In other words, we’re never not in the mood for the stuff. On a trip to Camden Town last Friday, then, I knew that I had to indulge in some, and after a quick search on the Web, I decided that Chin Chin Labs would be the very best place to do so.
What makes this place special?
Chin Chin Labs, I read and subsequently saw for myself, is different from most ice cream parlours. All products are vegetarian (some vegan!) and gluten free, and all are made using (*drum roll, please*) liquid nitrogen! As I walked into the shop, I was greeted by a great cloud of white vapour. This was, of course, the chemical in action. The whole place, then, has a bit of a science laboratory feel to it, and if I had any questions about the name of the place before entering, certainly they’d all be cleared up now. (The ‘Chin Chin’ part, in case you’re wondering, is simply the Italian word for ‘cheers!’.)
What did I order?
I’m afraid I wasn’t terribly adventurous with my order this time round; burnt butter caramel ice cream it was for me, covered (for free) with chunks of bee pollen honeycomb. Next time, I promise to try something a bit more unusual: other toppings included pistachio and cardamom powder and truffle crumble, and there were quite a number of more elaborate ice-cream-related desserts to choose from (marshmallow cones, and cookie sandwiches, among others)!
Is Chin Chin Labs worth the hype?
Absolutely! Not only is the ice cream noticeably smoother here than in your average parlour (thanks, I assume, to the liquid nitrogen in it); the whole laboratory-esque interior of the shop also makes it a pretty special place to visit. What is more, all the staff members that I met were lovely, and my order was prepared very quickly. My only complaint? The seating area was a little on the small side.
Try it out for yourself!
If you’re ever in London, and craving something cool and sweet (or warm and sweet – they do hot chocolates, too!), be sure to head along to Chin Chin Labs in Camden Town. You’ll be able to indulge in some of the best desserts that London has to offer, and you might just see a few chemical reactions during your visit!