The Potato is king in the vegetable world, there is nothing quite as versatile. The possibilities with the humble spud are endless, a firm favourite being the perfectly cooked chip, you know the one where the outside is golden and crunchy and the inside is soft and fluffy. Head to The Hand and Flowers in Marlow to try the perfect chip and then spend the rest of your days disappointed as nothing else comes close. This aside, the potato can be thrown in a barbecue and it’s wonderful, it can be mashed into a velvety smooth puree or it can be boiled and eaten just like that. It can also be sliced and fried to produce the crisp, a staple favourite of the nation as a whole, although we all disagree as to which is the best. M&S truffle crisps and Pombears definitely sit high up on my favourites list. Scott Davis however, likes them so much, he occupied a spot on Old Compton Street in Soho and opened a shop dedicated entirely to crisps and dips. I kid you not, no other food exists on the menu. When I was invited to come and try these crisps, my curiosity was piqued, could crisps really be that good that they can justify a prime London location?
£4.50 buys you a small box with 2 dips, £6.75 a medium box with 4 dips and £11.50 a large box with 6 dips. You choose whether you want savoury crisps or then sweet crisps which are coated in cinnamon sugar rather than salt, a bit like popcorn at the cinema. The potatoes here aren’t your regular bag of spuds from Tesco, oh no, here you have the: Highland Burgundy, Salad Blue, Pink Fir Apple, Shetland Black and Red Duke of York. Who knew there were so many varieties, my knowledge stretches as far as ‘the normal one, the small ones and the big ones for a baked potato’.
Next up you pick your dips from the fixed selection including: baba ghanoush, katsu curry, cheese fondue, cheesecake, salted caramel and PB&J, or then the rotating monthly specials. Once all that is out the way, you take a seat in the relatively small venue, take your photos and hope your nutritionist or dietician isn’t on Instagram because they would be unbelievably disappointed in you. The box of crisps here is absolutely massive. I’m a big guy with big hands, the photo below should help to put things into perspective.
We split our selection half sweet and half savoury, both with the crisps and the dips. Our choices are: jalapeño lime and coriander, smokey cheese fondue, ranch, PB&J, passion fruit mousse and salted caramel cheesecake. I don’t know where to start, every dip looks and smells amazing, the crisps are strangely equal in size and shape, yet each one is unique in its own way. Rather than describing all the dips and ruining it for you, I will share my favourite sweet and savoury. Smokey cheese fondue without a question, it was rich and oozing in calories and just perfect with a slightly salty crisp dipped into it. Think chalet in the Swiss Alps but with crisps rather than perfectly cubed baguette. On the sweet side, it has to be the passion fruit mouse. As someone who works in D.R. Congo where you get passion fruit in abundance, I like to think I am well placed to judge when something using the fruit has been done correctly or not. The mousse itself was light and airy, and had just the right amount of sharpness in it that you want from a passion fruit. Whether it worked with the cinnamon that was sprinkled over the crisps is something that I couldn’t quite figure out.
After getting through one third of the box, we conceded defeat. There is only so many crisps a person can physically eat and that is what confuses me about Hip Chips. I can’t figure out what would draw someone back just to eat some crisps. Yes, they are great crisps but I’m not sure I could justify paying £11.50 for some crisps and some dips, regardless of how good they are. If I were at home, with a group of friends, in front of the tv with a glass of something cold in hand, then yes, by all means, this would be the perfect accompaniment. In a restaurant setting however, I’m not so sure. I will end with this, try them at least once because you’ll be missing out if you don’t and nobody wants to sit their wondering what if.
This meal was provided free of charge by Hip Chips