There have been many high-concept ideas launching in London: cereal cafes and pop-up selling tinned fish. The latest has arrived in the form of HIPCHIPS on Old Compton Street. It’s stated aim is to reinvent the humble old crisps. Would Londoners really dine out on some crisps? The answer is a resounding yes on the night of our visit, although I wouldn’t use the words ‘dining out’. It is more of a social gathering over some gourmet snacks and drinks. All the tables were filled and there was a constant stream of curious passersby walking in to enquire about the concept.
The crisps are handcrafted and cooked in front of the guests. They use 5 heritage and vintage potatoes to create their delectable crisps. Highlights include the Salad Blue 1900, which has a strong blue colour with a distinct sharp flavour. Highland Burgundy 1936 with its deep red hues is the type of firm potato that gives the crisps extra crunch. To reflect the heritage of these potatoes, even the decor of the outlet has a vintage feel, all the way down to the fonts used for their name and on their menus.
Some have suggested their pricing is on the high side with a large portion of crisps with 6 dips at £11.50. However, this is a sharing portion size and their small size with 2 dips is only £4.50.
Absolutely justifying these prices apart from the well-sourced potatoes are the immaculately created dips. They have been created by Scott Davis, who has worked at many top establishments like Providores and Mirabelle. There is the option to choose sweet and/or savoury dips and the choices include classic British as well as unusual International offerings. We tried all 6 of the savoury dips and they were all winners in their own individual ways. You have the light creaminess of the katsu curry dip to the tanginess of the Moroccan yoghurt dip. You may find yourself dangerously just eating the dips as was the case with the rich smokiness from the cheese fondue flavour, which was well-balanced with red pickled onions.
They have some very hip beverages on offer including fritz branded drinks like kola which are naturally caffeinated and vegan. In fact, the fritz offerings were so popular, when we asked for the limo lemonade and the orangeade both were sold out.
Is HIPCHIPS a temporary fad? We think not. We suggest you give them a visit and decide for yourself.