With everything that has happened in 2016, wasting energy bemoaning pop-ups, concept restaurants and hipsters seems pretty pointless. A crisp restaurant may seem like the ultimate in #millennial #hipster ridiculousness but it's actually the perfect antidote to the terrible weather, the Christmas shoppers packing London's streets and the feeling that with everything that has happened this year £4.50 for crisps to be dipped into sweet chocolate sauce actually seems ok. Reasonable. Possibly delicious even.
A friend and I headed to Hip Chips mid-afternoon on a Saturday, it's a tiny café but there are a few tables at the back as well as some standing room opposite the counter. The chips are available in three sizes which dictates how many portions of dips come with them. Extra dips are £1. We both ordered a small for £4.50 which comes with two dips and is just the right amount of crisps to eat as a snack, if you have an 18 year olds metabolism then we cannot be friends the large comes with six dips. The menu also features a range of drinks - soft and alcoholic but we were definitely here for the crisps.
I chose the savoury crisps with a sweet dip - PB&J - and a savoury dip - baba ghanoush - to dip them into. The crisps are quite thick cut but the different colours of potato used gives them a much better flavour than your regular, pale packaged option. The crisps were fresh and they definitely taste "home made" - in a good way. Different varieties of potato give the crisps different tastes and textures so they are definitely not your average supermarket crisp.
The savoury dip was a really good baby ghanoush with a great flavour and perfect dipping consistency, maybe a little too small for the amount of crisps if you are a generous dipper. The PB&J dip was really what made this a ~thing~ for me - dipping salty crisps into a smooth peanut butter sauce was actually a revelation, a juvenile version of salted caramel or a reminder of a long-forgotten childhood memory of dipping ready-salted crisps into chocolate mousse. While it's not something I plan to add to my regular diet it tasted wrong and oh-so-right in equal measures.
A final mention goes to the packaging, which has definitely been designed to be Instagrammed. It has quite a Wes Anderson / Grand Budapest Hotel vibe and definitely beats dipping one's hand into a foil packet.
Hip Chips is at 49 Old Compton Street, Soho. They are open late and look to be a permanent offering.