Jude Law and Tim Burton’s favourite ice cream parlour in Chalk Farm voted best in England
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
An innovative Camden ice cream parlour-cum-food laboratory has been named as England’s coolest frozen treats seller by a leading national newspaper.
Chin Chin Labs, off Chalk Farm Road, came third in a list of the best ice cream parlours in Britain compiled by The Times – and was the highest ranked shop in England.
The parlour, whose regulars include local celebrities Jude Law, Tim Burton and Mila Kunis, is famed for its unusual ice cream flavours, such as Scooping Green Grass and Watermelon and Dill.
Ahrash Akbari Kalhur, 28, co-founder of Chin Chin Labs, said: “Obviously we’re delighted with the award. We see ourselves as an experimental ice cream company, but over the last three years we’ve really been pushing things forward.”
In keeping with the somewhat quirky nature of Camden Market, Chin Chin Labs was the first parlour in Europe to employ liquid nitrogen in its production – using 45 thousand litres of the freezing substance each year.
“This method is used at the best restaurants around the world, but there was no place for the average person to try it,” Mr Kalhur explained. “Using nitrogen we thought we might as well make it look like a lab – we had to get a license.”
Originally a cocktail bar and cake shop, Chin Chin Labs started serving ice creams to order in 2010 and now has a weekly list of special flavours.
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The latest concoctions include Coconut Sun Cream and a royal inspired Baby Boy flavour based on the taste of a traditional birthday cake with jelly on the side.
“We look everywhere for the flavours,” said Mr Kalhur, who is a trained pastry chef and lives in Regent’s Park . “I’ve got a notepad by my bed – I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and think ‘what could work’.
“I also take quite a scientific approach. We’ll look at what the flavour compounds and polymers are. We take quite a long time testing recipes before we put them out there, and that’s part of the fun really.”
The journalist who compiled the list of top parlours for The Times, Harriet Addison, used recommendations from a large cross section of people, with a specific focus on ice cream parlours that go the extra mile to do something different.
She said of Chin Chin Labs: “It’s easily the best ice cream in London!
“The liquid nitrogen freezing process means that it’s incredibly smooth and creamy. The flavours are very inventive and you can tell that there are proper chefs beavering away on the ice cream.”
The parlour, mooted by many as the undisputed future of ice cream making as well as a potential challenger to Camden’s renowned Marine Ices, also received glowing reviews from first-time visitors last week.
Isambard Goodbody, a 15-year-old student of Antrim Grove, Belsize Park, said: “It’s like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. I will definitely come here again.”
Polly Clarke, 28, a product manager, of Holloway Road, Islington, added: “It’s absolutely the best ice cream parlour in England.”