The Chin Chin Laboratorists – an ice-cream parlour and confectionery shop – is the brainchild of Ahrash Akbari-Kalhur and his wife Nyisha Weber who took inspiration from top chefs, Ferran Adrià and Heston Blumenthal, to do similar things at an affordable level. (Cheers, Laura)
So where a normal ice-cream parlour would have a freezer, instead there is a 180-litre tank of nitrogen, complete with pressure gauge. The liquid nitrogen is hosed into a metal jug before mixing in an egg custard ice-cream mix. Which like magic in seconds becomes ice cream. The results are better ice-cream because when you freeze the mixture instantly, you avoid ice crystals so it is a smoother, denser finish on the tongue.
Chin Chin Laboratorists may be unique in Europe if not the world, but it is also part of a wider trend in Britain. Here ice-cream has long been the preserve of children, but a series of entrepreneurial outlets like Gelupo and Laverstoke Farm (at Selfridges) are attempting to make it more of an adult indulgence, as well as introducing new variations, such as the ice-cream sandwich, which they hope will capture popular imagination in the same way as cupcakes have.