I'll DEFINITELY have to make the effort to visit this place now! And you're right about the ice cream trend in London right now. You have to visit Gelupo next time you're down :-)
Chin Chin Labs
49-50 Camden Lock Place, London NW1 8AF
- Camden Town Underground Station (0.4 km)
- Chalk Farm Station (0.6 km)
- Contact us:
14 reviews of Chin Chin Labs in English
THE MOST DELICIOUS ice-cream I`ve ever had! Really! I don`t know if it`s the nitrogen or not, but it`s definitely worth it! i have been 3 times and tried different things every time, all of them were brilliant! Smooth, tasty ice-cream, the toppings are also wonderful!
I took a wander throught the seventh circle of hell that IS Camden Lock as a special pilgrimage to Chin Chin Labs as I felt I deserved a treat yesterday!
I had heard much online talk about the place, but knew noone who had been there. Was it a place of myth, magic and unicorns – it certainly sounded it!
My ‘scooper’ couldn’t have been friendlier, letting me take photos and giveing me a step-by-step guide of what he was doing, and why making ice cream with liquid nitrogen made THE smoothest ice cream.
Donning lab coat, safety goggles and huge protective gloves made the mad scientist part with the liquid nitrogen all the more dramatic. this added to the fact that all the receipticles in the place are conical flasks, measuring beakers and test tubes.
Chin Chin currently serve three flavours: madagascan vanilla, valrhona chocolate and the ‘flavour of the week’. imagine my glee when i found out that it was jaffa cake!
£3.95 gets you a pretty decent-sized portion of THE best ice cream I have ever had in London and a choice of one topping and one sauce (I went for popping candy and valrhona choc sauce if you were wondering – I highly recommend!).
Chin Chin Labs: unique, theatrical, amazing, freindly, helpful, yummy, deliciously smooth (the ice cream!) and not a physics teacher in sight!
Super yummy ice cream made in front of your eyes using Liquid Nitrogen.
Whilst this isn’t the cheapest treat, it’s definitely one of the tastiest I’ve had in a while.
Your purchase includes a yummy sauce and topping – however costs near to £5.
I also had a coffee with my purchase which was very tasty and I would recommend.
The staff are super friendly, however there is always limited space to sit as the ‘lab’ area where they make the ice cream and other treats takes up most of the shop.
I would definitely recommend this establishment just for the quality of ice cream that you get, regardless of price and lack of seating.
There’s a lot to be said for the theatre of Nitro iceacream, the great clean design of the Lab (especially amid the madness that is camden) and the super friendly owners who will look after each person as if they are their best friend. But leaving all that aside, the fact remains that they serve great icecream. keeping it siple with only 3 flavours, 3 sauces and a small range of toppings shows that they know their strengths and stick to them
Also, they make a great coffee from monmouth beans and only £2 bargain!
An Alice in Wonderland style ice-cream parlour in Camden that serves the cold-stuff made using liquid nitrogen for the smoothest ice-cream ever dreamt possible.
A science lesson as well as a culinary exploration I personally felt it was fairly priced and as delicious as your Nan's home-made apple crumble on a cold winters night after a day failing to complete the School cross-country course. You even get to choose from a number of bonkers toppings to complete the experience; Sea-salted caramel, Popping Candy, Sugar coated frog's legs with deep-fried beetle crisps etc.
The decor is clinical, in a good way and without being 'sterile'; the vats of Nitrogen are reminiscent of potions you might find in an apothecaries to treat after dinner indigestion and you really feel like you have just stepped into a Science lesson with a Mad Professor, or is that the Nutty Professor?!
This is a must for any Londoner and enough to put the scruffy white vans out of business.
Taking my daughter shopping to Camden I saw this and popped in.
The staff were friendly, chatty and informative. As they went through the process of making the ice cream the male of the couple was explaining the process to her and showing her how it worked. Once he had finished the wonderous process we moved on to the topping area wher his wife (I think) asked for our choice of topping.
The servings were huge for the cost (compared to a cinema you are getting almost double the vlaue), the icre cream is creamier than you would normally get.
It is a 5 star establishment, with staff that are knowledgeable and chatty. The layout with the bottles and test tubes on shelves reminded my of a mad proffesors laboraty.
However just to let you know, they only have 3 flavours at a time (2 regular and 1 changing special) and the 'swings' outside are really seats suspended by rope, try and swing on them will cause injury. Thise two things however do not, in my eyes, cause a problem. In fact the smaller choice of flavours makes it easier to choose (especially with a small child).
One final thing, popping candy topping yum.
Ice Cream parlours appear to be the new big thing in the London food scene at the moment. During my recent visit there, it felt like there was a new gelato outlet on every corner. Whilst an abundance of tasty ice cream isn't necessarily a bad thing, you can see why Chin Chin Labs felt that they had to raise the bar a bit. By making their ice cream with liquid nitrogen.
Chin Chin Labs is London (and possibly the UK's) only liquid nitrogen ice cream parlour. Walk in, and you'll see a man in a white coat and goggles putting large test tubes of flavoured custard into a range of Kitchen Aid mixers and adding liquid nitrogen until they turn into some of the smoothest (and tastiest) ice cream you'll ever taste in your life. Just add a range of different toppings (which include salted caramel, honeycomb chunks caramelised violets and raspberries and chocolate popping candy), and you walk away with a delicious pot of delectable frozen goodness - and a free Science lesson in the bargain. And all for £3.95 too!
When I went in yesterday, they had three different flavours on offer - Valrhona Chocolate, Madagasgan Vanilla and one 'special of the week' which, when I visited, was Lychee and Rosewater. Just choose your flavour, and the friendly owner, Ahrash Akbari-Kalhur will make it in front of you whilst telling you about all of the cool (pardon the pun) Chemistry which allows all the molecules to bind together without creating any ice crystals.
After ordering my ice cream, and having salted caramel sauce, honeycomb and chocolate popping candy heaped upon it, I sat outside on the Chin Chin labs swing to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy my ice cream. I'm not sure I've ever eaten something which was so flavoursome yet joyfully creamy. My only gripes were that it melted slightly too quickly for my liking (meaning it dripped all over my wrists and fingers) and that there wasn't nearly enough of it! Although, saying that, I am a massive glutton. If your stomach can handle it after the ice cream, they also serve a remarkably interesting range of cupcakes - the ones which were on sale when I went were filled with passionfruit, orange, raspberry, mint and chocolate ganache.
Chin Chin Labs aim is to bring Michelin starred desserts to the masses, something which they are managing with aplomb. Whilst you may have to wait up to half an hour for your ice cream on busy days and weekends, it's definitely worth it - if only to get that feeling that you've stepped out of the hustle and bustle of Camden Market and into a real life version of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.
As the staff will tell you this is probably the smoothest ice cream that you will have. It is a strange sensation though as the ice cream just melts away as soon as you put it in your mouth.
I tried the Madagascan vanilla and the Valrhona chocolate and though I do like chocolate ice cream it just felt like nothing special. The vanilla on the other hand was really good. There are only three flavours and you order either a cone or a cup with a generous helping of one flavour. The third flavour seems the change often, when I went it was dark bread and stem ginger. No idea how it is as something that sounds like a ginger cake being made into ice cream wasn't something I felt particularly interested in.
With your ice cream you get the choice of one sauce and one topping from an interesting selection with things like pistachio and cardamom powder, chocolate pop rocks and some homemade sauces.
Above all it is about the show in my opinion. It is something to try for the novelty of it but for me I would go for normal ice cream, especially at £4 for one cup and one flavour.
Comment 1 comment on this review
Jei-jei, 8 August 2010:
The best ice-cream I've ever tasted was in Barbados. Bico French Vanilla. It was simply to die for..All the flavours are delicious but that was my absolute favourite. I'm going on a London trawl next week so might have to chek out chin chin labs.
For full review & photos:
Deep in the heart of Camden is the newest funkiest ice cream parlour yet. Their special twist is making ice cream using liquid nitrogen, previously something only seen before by various celebrity chefs. The principle is pretty simple, you use liquid nitrogen which has a boiling point of -196°C to rapidly freeze the ice-cream mixture and you get microcrystalline ice-cream which is super smooth in less than a minute.
The husband, Ahrash Akbari-Kalhur and wife, Nyisha Weber owners are very keen and interested in answering any questions from the naturally inquisitive onlookers (and us). Their objective is to bring high quality ice cream, previously only available at selected restaurants (he cited Heston and Adrian Ferra as examples) to the general public at street prices (£3.95 a scoop including 2 toppings).
I was more interested in the name and Nyisha explained it was from old English where people said "chin chin" instead of "cheers". Anyway they have only three flavours on offer - two of them are constant (Madagascan vanilla and 66% Valrhona chocolate) while the third flavour changes every three days. The rotation on our visit is Alfonso mango with black pepper.
We tried the dark chocolate and mango, both of which were very creamy, smooth and light at the same time without any of the iciness sometimes seen in traditional ice creams. The chocolate was of the rich dark type while the mango had lots of mango-ness without the artificial sweetness sometimes seen in mango products.
They also have some cupcakes on sale while adding that they have plans to expand the range by having cocktail flavoured ice cream (sounds like a winner to me!) and ice cream sandwiches (ditto!!).
Unlike most experimental/quirky food ideas, nitro ice cream really, really works.
I went for the theatre of watching the ice-cream made and was very surprised that the end result was any better than average. The ice cream is a lot like gelato: thick and very smooth. And damn tasty.
There are only three flavours, chocolate, vanilla and a wildcard flavour (Cherry Chambord when I went). The standard flavours aren't too shabby either: chocolate is proper dark Valrhona and the vanilla has little black speckles of real vanilla pods in it.
The toppings are free and amazing - violet marshmallows, sticky home-made honeycomb, popping candy, berry coulis and goopy salt caramel.
The people at the shop were friendly and only too happy to explain the process. The place is made up like a lab, which is fun, but not as fun as the swings outside.
I love ice-cream. Give me a tub of Ben & Jerry's and I'll scoff it before you've had a chance to pick up your spoon, but put me in front of Chin Chin Labs and I'll let you eat the whole tub of Phish Food - I'll be tucking into nitro ice-cream and loving it.
Usually the most exciting thing about ice-cream is that first spoonful, the one that makes you sink into the sofa like you're in a Magnum advert, but with this ice-cream it's watching the whole process in front of your eyes in seconds.
I arrived wondering how this nitro ice-cream thing worked. I knew about liquid nitrogen and that it "froze stuff" but I'd never seen it work in real life, so I was really excited to learn more about the delicious treat I was about to eat. First I chose which flavour I wanted - Madagascan Vanilla, Chocolate, or Raspberry with a hint of tarragon - I chose the raspberry, naturally. Then then process began: into the mixer went the cream, followed by the liquid nitrogen which poured dry ice all over the counter and over my feet (chilly). The cream is instantly frozen whilst it's being whipped by the machine, creating a smooth and dense treat to give your sweet tooth a run for its money. Then it gets better - toppings. Test tubes full of them!
Did I mention the parlour is decked out like a science lab? Well, it looks incredible. Test tubes and beakers full of mixtures like Willy Wonka's factory, you be forgiven for acting like a child hyped up on sugar. Toppings like violet marshmallows, honeycomb pieces, chocolate covered popping candy, raspberry sauce, chocolate sauce. I can hear you drooling, don't try and hide it!
The fact is their ice-cream is amazing, the place looks brilliant, the people are lovely and there's even a couple of swings outside to enjoy your treat like it's meant to be enjoyed - with smiles.
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