In life, many paths lead to the same outcome. So it is with ice cream, although Chin Chin certainly take the road less-travelled to incredible ice cream. Taking principles more akin to a mad scientist than ice cream makers, they use liquid nitrogen to create wacky, wonderful flavours, and scoops of ice cream smoother than a mid-90s jazz album.
With dessert bars in Soho and Camden (dangerously close to Secret London HQ, I might add) and an outpost at Dinerama in Shoreditch, Chin Chin have brought their nitro-powered ice cream to the masses since opening in 2010. The process of creating their ice cream is simple, and yet somehow metal AF – pouring liquid nitrogen over their inventive mixes, and hand churning them into glossy scoops of ice cream. The results are truly outstanding; seriously, if you haven’t tasted liquid nitrogen ice cream, you’re really missing out.
The Chin Chin empire is built on three classic flavours, each elevating a humble flavour to new heights. Their Tonka Bean ice cream is vanilla on steroids, Valrhona Chocolate takes your standard chocolate to a richer, deeper place, and Burnt Butter Caramel provides a worthy finale to this holy triumvirate. Not merely remaining content with these three winners, Chin Chin also have weekly specials which change with the seasons. Themed specials are also common, including a clover-flavoured ice cream for St Patrick’s Day!
Cranking up the deliciousness even further is a range of toppings which include grilled white chocolate, bee pollen honeycomb, truffle crumble, hazelnut sand, marshmallow fluff, pistachio and cardamom powder, and many more. The sheer number of times you’d need to visit to try every combination is a delicious, albeit wallet-terrifying, prospect. Finally, you can have your scoops served in a tub, to maintain the pretence of health, or inside a brownie cookie sandwich, a marshmallow-stuffed waffle cone, or atop a bowl of griddled cookie dough. There’s even more choice at the Soho bar, where desserts including tiramisu sundae, brioche waffle, and banana jam ice cream pie slices make a regular appearance.
So, all that and we haven’t even mentioned Chin Chin’s glorious hot chocolates, about which we could probably write a whole separate article. Molten hot chocolate is topped with gooey marshmallow fluff and blowtorched until it evokes the taste of toasting marshmallows over a campfire, and the result is heavenly. During lockdown, Chin Chin released DIY kits for you to make them at home, and they’re happily continuing this side business into the future.
It is sheer kitchen wizardry, the kind that’s now de rigeur for Chin Chin. Deliciousness awaits whatever you choose to order… and there’s no way we’ll judge you if you choose to opt for everything!
Find them in Soho at 54 Greek Street, W1D 3DS, in Camden at 49-50 Camden Lock Place, NW1 8AF, and at Dinerama in Shoreditch at 19 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3EJ. More info is available on their website.
Also published on Medium.