Nitro-Ice cream isn’t just confined to the kitchens of Heston Blumenthal. This phenomenon is actually readily available to purchase on the streets of London. A company by the name of Chin Chin Labs have a stall at Camden Lock dedicated to this new wave ice cream made by using rapid-freezing liquid nitrogen to produce instant ice cream with a smooth texture.
We headed to Soho to check out Chin Chin’s actual ice cream and dessert parlour. The Camden venue is a lot more ‘street food’ in its appearance. This one is much more of an actual shop to sit in and enjoy your sweet treat.
Truth be told, i’ve always swerved Soho, mainly because the bars and restaurants aren’t really my scene. My opinion could be changing after spotting top rate Italian restaurant and Delicatessen, Lina Stores – THE place you go for top quality Italian ingredients. Just ahead of Lina on Greek Street you’ll find Chin Chin Labs.
The interior is pretty basic within the dessert parlour with outside seating proving popular on this sunny day. Inside, there are a good amount of tables but notably no customer toilets. Cash is the only method of payment accepted here also.
Menus were present on each table containing various tempting options for sub zero treats. A few surprises caught my eye, especially the ‘Ice Cream Nachos’ and the pistachio ice cream that doesn’t actually contain any pistachio nuts.
We had to try an ice cream sandwich, so we went ahead and ordered the intriguing pistachio that isn’t pistachio, sandwiched between two brownies at £5.45 ($7.14 US) along with a Tiramisu Sundae at £5.75 ($7.53 US).
Ice cream really does arrive in an instant, there’s no messing around with liquid nitrogen. I couldn’t believe the texture of the pistachio ice cream. What the secret is behind making this taste EXACTLY like pistachio yet making it free from nuts I just can’t work out. Whoever is responsible for this is a genius.
The deep flavour of the Tiramisu complete with coffee and olive oil really surprised us too. Presented beautifully in a champagne saucer, it had everything that a good Tiramisu needs. The olive oil was a subtle addition and once again the coffee ice cream was faultless.
It’s a very basic place in appearance but once you get a taste of what Chin Chin Labs are producing, this is where the magic begins. Using liquid nitrogen is both clever and consistent as the texture of the end result is unlike anything that you churn in a machine.
For London, the price is quite a surprise. Given that you’re in a prime area like Soho you would expect to have to pay more. On a bright, sunny day such as this, you must come down and grab an ice cream, or two…
Opening Times: Sunday – Thursday 1300-2100
Friday – Saturday 1300-2200
Nearest Tube Station: Tottenham Court Road (Central and Northern Lines)