Hey folks! It’s been a long time since 💀my last restaurant review💀 but, today, I’m coming to you from all the way out in london’s trendy soho district to feature the craziest establishment that I’ve ever seen.
HipChips – A sit down or take away restaurant dedicated to providing the most gourmet version imaginable of a dish that I call “chips and dips”. But no, there aren’t any wide fries here. Every slice of potato is a wafer-thin crisp with a tonne of crunch.
It’s not usually a complex or well-balanced meal but it’s a darn good snack and I’m ever so curious to see what they’ve done to improve it. To spice it up, if you will.
And alright, they’ve provided a free lunch to entice me in but, honestly, I doubt I could have stayed away anyway. It’s just such a wild idea for an eatery!
Upon entering, I was a little taken aback. Savoury or sweet? Jalapeño Lime & Coriander Yoghurt or Morrocan Spiced? Wasabi Avo Mayo or Baba Ganoush? Chocolate Mousse or Cheesecake Topping?
The whole place is set up like a burrito bar but the choice is far more daunting. You can’t just throw everything on a tortilla and expect it to work, here. You’re going to have to put a little thought into your six dip selection.
Plus, everything’s either vegetarian or vegan, too, so your dietary requirements won’t make things any easier. But, I’ll admit, it’s a good problem to have and, when I finally do make up my mind, it looks pretty special:
These aren’t your ordinary potatoes. What lie before me are four different colours of heritage spuds, each with a subtly different taste and texture but all crisped to perfection.
Their quality shines through with just salt but the cinnamon sugar option is tasty, too, and well suited to their sweeter sauces.
First up, the Passion Fruit Mousse is an incredible blend of light, airy, sweet whipped cream, tangy fruit and a dessert cheese, like Mascarpone. It was my self-indulgent choice from the dessert section and a real winner, right off the bat, but I picked up another sweet sauce for the traditionalists among you, too:
Chocolate mousse, topped with warm salted caramel. Just as delightfully decadent and just as perfect a pairing with the touch of HipChips’ cinnamon that shines through.
If I had to find a fault with it, I’d point to my first two mouthfuls – Sweet and definitely salted but somewhat lacking in the chocolate. The dip comes layered and it’s all caramel on top.
Really, though, that “problem” sorts itself out quickly and it’s hardly an issue to begin with, since both of the layers hold up just as well on their own. It’s more like I got a free seventh dip, if anything.
But what about the savoury selection? The ones meant for the salted crisps and the ones that come with spice?
Well, not all of them do, of course, but there’s an unexpectedly wide variety of chillied dips to pick from and I’m going to make the most of that.
Starting with their Jalapeño, Lime & Coriander – A massive and immediate shock to the system after the dessert-style sauces:
Unlike some supermarket dips, there’s no sweetness to it at all and the yoghurt base is actually tangy. Plus, the lightly-citrussed and herby, green taste hits hard, as well.
It’s such a contrast to the rich, sweet, sticky chocolate that came before and it definitely makes me think that pudding first was a mistake, despite fitting the naritive. Yet that contrast is also what drives home the quality.
This dip uses proper yoghurt and doesn’t hide its tang with added sugar. It’s not ashamed of what it is. Or, for that matter, of its spice.
This jalapeño yoghurt certainly isn’t killer but I can taste its savoury, green chilli even before it leaves its
in the back of my mouth. And that, to me, means rather more than its high-end-of-mild kick. A welcome surprise.
Their katsu curry, on the other hand, would be hard pressed to surprise anyone. It’s the most orange version of the dish that I’ve ever seen:
Yet it’s all natural, so we know that that colour comes from added peppers. Ones which carry it well into my medium, with a
Once again, though, they aren’t just there for bite. They provide top notes of red chilli to the rich and creamy sauce, beneath which lies a bold, japanese curry base. Not quite, perhaps, what I’m used to but I don’t think I’ve ever had a good katsu with a kick. Or with quite so much of a toasted greens taste, from coriander leaf, to balance it all.
I most certainly approve!
This next one, though, was a must try from the moment that I first saw it on their website – Veggie Cheviche.
It’s almost an oxymoron, with how intrinsically fish-based ceviché normally is, but it’s not the seafood that actually makes the dish.
No, the heart of peruvian ceviché is a substance known as “tiger’s milk” – Essentially a marinade of citrus, onions and chilli – that’s used to break down proteins in a very similar way to cooking them. And it’s one of the few places where rocoto peppers are traditionally seen.
The person behind the counter during my visit was, sadly, unable to confirm whether those peppers were present in their dip. All that they could tell me was that their peppers hailed from peru but that would certainly imply that they were. I did not, after all, pick up on any notes of lemondrop or aji amarillo.
In fact, the pepper that combines with HipChips’ super-rich, herby, tomato base is probably closer to the scotch bonnet, if anything, furthering the savoury fruitiness of their ceviché even more.
Whether it’s actually cooked or not, you’ve got to enjoy your tomatoes thoroughly roasted to get the most out of this one. Yet I do and, with the lime brightening it up a tad, this was the first pot to go, for me, all but vanishing in the space of three paragraphs.
It’s not overly hot, though, despite the good amount of chilli in it. Just marginally hotter than the jalapeño, in fact, with a dull
that lingers in my gums like little else.
I like it a lot but I can’t spend all of my crisps on it. There’s one more dip for me to try and it’s the one that I was invited here to review:
An unlabelled “flavour of the month” which, for september, is a buttery buffalo dip made with Slow Richie’s scotch bonnet sauce and topped with blue cheese ranch. American to the core and the one required item in my lunchbox.
I’m told that other customers have been loving it but, honestly, I’d be surprised if the ones next to me are. That blue cheese is pungent!
It’s not the mild blue cheese that I had at Sticky Sisters. It stinks! And, if I’m one hundred percent honest, it tastes just as bad on its own.
To enjoy this limited edition dip, you either have love blue cheese or really dig deep to reach the hot sauce. To get the intended blend of very unsubtle, creamy flavours that brings out the best in both.
Eaten this way, the cheese is toned down to strong but enjoyable levels that really add a tonne to what is, otherwise, just a pleasant
buttery wing sauce.
Together, they’re a powerful taste of the states that cheese and chicken fans are going to absolutely adore but, personally, I still preferred the rest of the menu.
Not one of my six dips has been a disappointment, though. I’ve loved working my way through HipChips’ selection box and I’d thoroughly recommend them to all of you. They may have seemed silly on the surface but they were a massive step up from the chips and dips of my youth. In both dips and sheer potato quality.
It’s well worth visiting soho just for them but, if you can’t make it to the restaurant, there is an alternative:
Their three-dip savoury selection, now on sale in Sainsbury’s.
It’s a little smaller than the gigantic box that I was given in store and the preservatives change the texture a tad but the katsu still tastes as great as ever and it’s somewhat easier to tuck into on the train home.
Plus, I’m now wishing that I’d chosen the mild, paprika-forward, Moroccan Style Yoghurt before. That spice blend is on point!