It seems quite okay to go all Heston Blumenthal in the home kitchen these days. If contestants on My Kitchen Rules are using pipettes, dry ice and blow torches in their repertoire, then it’s not unreasonable to expect your local ice cream parlour to up the ante with creative cooking techniques.
Take a look at Chin Chin Laboratorists – it’s ice-cream-parlour-meets-mad-scientists-workshop and the result is delicious good fun.
Located in Camden, London, the ice cream at Chin Chin Laboratorists is frozen with liquid nitrogen in front of customers. The staff play up to the theme with white lab coats, safety goggles and beakers, flasks and test tubes at hand.
Are you wondering how cryogenic ice cream is different from the ordinary stuff? Ice cream made with liquid nitrogen is super cold and extra creamy, simply because the liquid nitrogen freezes the mixture so quickly that ‘lumpy’ ice crystals can’t form. The result is ice cream that is unbelievably smooth.
So what’s on the menu at Chin Chin? The selection is small but ever-changing and the madcap flavours sit well with the surrounds – Marshmallow Teacake, Madagascan Vanilla, Jelly Baby Sorbet, Guinness Caramel and Smoked Salt, Passionfruit Pavlova, Rum Baba, Alphonso Mango Brulee, Cigar-Smoked Caramel, Jaffa Cake, Valrhona Hot Choc, Fizzy Cherry Cola and, my favourite, Burnt Butter Hot Cross Bun – a concoction of browned butter and smooth ice cream that’s been infused with toasted hot cross buns and optional boozy raisins – wow!
Mention must be made of the amazing ‘lab’. It was designed by Shai Akram and Andrew Haythornthwaite and includes individual workstations for each stage of the ice cream-making process (decanting, mixing, freezing, topping and so forth), adding to the theatre of the experience.