Chin Chin Labs: Nitro Ice Cream in Camden

July 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Posted in Cafes & Restaurants, Food, General, London, Out and About, UK | Leave a comment
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At Camden Lock there’s a new ice cream parlour: Chin Chin Labs. It bills itself as London’s first nitro ice cream parlour.

So what does that mean?

The staff use nitrogen to snap freeze liquid base that becomes the ice cream. You can get vanilla, lemon or chocolate with a variety of toppings.

During the snap freeze process the gas creates a cooling and atmospheric mist that rolls off the mixing bowl and during summer is a wonderful relief.

I selected a Madagascar vanilla bean base with chocolate, hazelnut and rasberry toppings. At first glance I thought the quantity for £3.5o was a little small but it’s surpisingly dense and filling.

Nitro ice cream

Now the flavour. It was remarkably smooth and tasty, with no threat of an ice cream headache. The combination of toppings also worked quite well.

One of the owners who served me advised that in winter they’ll be doing warm options too. Might come back for that as well.

It’s certainly a novel creation method and tastes great but I wouldn’t recommend it as a special trip but if you’re in the area definitely check it out.

The ‘lab’ is located at 49-50 Camden Lock Place (look out for the shop with the swing chairs).

Unfortunately their website doesn’t yet specify the opening times.

Also the FT article was particularly useful in inspiring me to visit.

Jewish Museum

July 12, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Posted in General, London, museum, Out and About, Tourism, Travel, UK | Leave a comment
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London’s Jewish Museum has been closed for 2 years while refurbishment and modernization work takes place.

I didn’t go to the old version so I can’t comment on the changes but what’s there (in a limited physical space) is rather impressive.

When we visited the museum had a special exhibit on “Illuminations” showing a number of Jewish books and texts with intricate calligraphy, illustrations and histories. For instance, many had been collected by Christian scholars for their artistic and religious merits.

Working our way down we learnt about the Jewish experience in the UK, from their arrival in 1066, expulsion, re-admittance, the World Wars, the formation of Israel and modern life.

There is also a section on the Holocaust, which was done really well. The curators traced one British Jew’s experience as he was taken to a death camp, eventually freed by American soldiers and his life back in Britain. My only complaint about this gallery is the lack of seating for the 22min film. Consequently I didn’t each much of it.

The first floor is devoted to the religious faith and cultural practices that make up the Jewish faith. It provides a very useful primer.

The museum has made  wonderful use of technology, which help to maximize the available space. For example:

  • touch screens abound with the option to learn more about specific topics
  • various buttons to bring up video/audio content, such as an introduction to Jewish theatre,
  • a touch table to find out more about modern Jewish life in the UK. I tried to explain how to use it to a couple of older ladies but was only partially successful

It’s a shame that after a pleasant time and friendly staff my last encounter was with a rather condescending staff member/volunteer who ‘explained’ how to exit the building.

Despite that on the whole its an informative and well presented museum that is particularly useful for those unfamiliar with Judaism, especially the UK experience.

The museum is located in Camden and costs £7 for adults.

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