Ever heard of liquid nitrogen ice cream? Me neither! Well, that was before I stumbled upon Chin Chin Labs situated in the heart of Camden Lock. When you read the words ‘liquid nitrogen’ you probably found yourself asking whether or not it is actually safe to eat? For the words conjure up memories of scientific experiments at school using all the elements from the periodic table. But do not fret, the only explosion or chemical reaction that happens when you sample something from Chin Chin Labs is an explosion of taste and a chemical reaction of delight as your taste buds savour the multiple flavours on offer! Yet there is no denying the fact Chin Chins Labs, as the name suggests, looks more like a science lab than a Mr Whippy ice cream parlour. Instead of ice cream being churned out in one soft swirl, your scoop is frozen in front of your very eyes using a mushroom like cloud of liquid nitrogen steam. Despite this process seeming to offer you the possibility of having the most painful brain freeze of ALL TIME, in reality this is not the case. The quirky ice cream combos are silky smooth and literally melt in your mouth. Visitors do not have to spend hours deliberating over flavours either- which if you are very indecisive like me, this comes in very handy! You can choose from either chocolate, vanilla and two specials which change weekly. These limited flavours highlight how Chin Chin Labs appreciates the classics, but also wants to be innovative and pioneer new flavours to give guests something that bit more special and something that they would not have tasted before.
So without further ado, let me introduce what is on offer in more detail. Classic flavours include: Tonka Bean, Valrhona Chocolate and Burnt Butter Caramel. This week’s weekly specials consist of Pandan and Passion Fruit, both of which are vegan (yes this is an ice cream place that accommodates all eating types- woo hoo!). There are also plenty of toppings and sauces available for you to add to your creation, including truffle crumble, Bee Pollen Honeycomb, ‘crack’ – a molten chocolate shell (which is what I opted for), as well as handmade torched marshmallow and much much more! Chin Chin Labs does not just stop at plain ole boring ice cream, it also offers guests the chance to convert their scoop into an ice cream sandwich, or to integrate it into other desserts such as the Brownie Cookie Sandwich (another of my personal favourites- yes I am guilty of having visited Chin Chin Labs more than once). Guests can also choose from a variety of coffees, teas and hot chocolates to help wash their ice cream down. Prices are not quite your normal 99p for a cone (which actually no longer exists!), so you can expect to pay a bit more because you are not only paying for the ice cream, but the experience too. Having said that, most ice cream combos are reasonably priced at under £5 and due to the sweet nature of the dessert, the portions are perfect for the price you pay. If they were any bigger you would need to be airlifted to the dentist to have all your teeth out considering the sugar content!
The dessert parlour itself is very small in size, with limited seating available, but as summer is fast approaching and you are ordering ice cream after all, there are plenty of cool places to perch and devour your creation outside and around Camden Lock. Chin Chin Labs is open Monday – Sunday from 12pm-7pm thus proving there is no right or wrong time to have ice cream and that it is the perfect food choice for any day of the week. I mean who needs a summer body? Just gorge yourself on a different flavour ice cream combo throughout the week. On their website, it states that ‘Chin Chin means many things in many languages’, but to them, ‘it means Cheers!’. So why not raise an ice cream in celebration of the hot weather that is currently upon us and start planning your flavour and toppings combo now?!
For more information, check out their website here: https://chinchinicecream.com/chin-chin-ice-cream/camden/
Nearest tube station: Camden Town or Chalk Farm Road – both of which are on the Northern Line