Chin Chin

11 May

Chin Chin has definitely grabbed the attention of all food lovers attention in Melbourne over the past year. New establishment began in mid 2011 but has topped the ‘talk of the town’ list on Urbanspoon for more than 6months! They’ve achieved amazing recognition in such a short time. The food and ambience is based on a modern Thai genre. They’ve got a bar down in the basement, dining area is on the ground floor which has a pretty noisy environment, where frequent laughters coming from happy customers.

Caution: Chin Chin does not accept any reservations. Reaching the restaurant early doesn’t guarantee you a table as well. My first visit was on a rainy Saturday evening at 6pm and the staff told me that I would be on the waiting list and they expect my table to be ready in 2.5-3 hours. True enough, they gave me a text message after 2.5hours but I had already finished my dinner elsewhere. Such hype made me go back a second time. So, on a Friday night at 8pm, I was told that I have to wait 1-1.5hours and this time, I did.

So here we go… My review of the Melbourne hype. Was the food good? Were the hours of wait worth it??

Kingfish Sashimi w Lime, Chilli, Coconut, Thai Basil (A$14)

This appetiser/starting dish, is DIE-DIE-MUST-TRY!! It’s a Thai rendition of sashimi and it is absolutely mind-blowing. Fresh sweet juicy kingfish paired with all the traditional thai spices of lime, chilli, coconut and basil, it’s like having a dynamite exploding in my mouth. This first impression set the standards really high for the rest of the dishes. I like how all the spices and flavours complement each other. Great appetiser, definitely.

Chilli Salt Chicken Wings w Coriander and Fresh Lemon

I’m not too sure about this one. There was just a tiny hint of spiciness, with lots of salt. Sadly, this dish was very much a let-down for us. We could easily get a better quality of the same dish elsewhere. It wasn’t captivating enough, with very ordinary flavours and a very salty skin.

Chin Chin Special Fried Rice w Crab, Chicken, Pineapple and Coriander

The fried rice was somewhere between average and good. It’s got the basic fragrance of how a fried rice should be, but I was disappointed to find very little crab in the dish. Actually, it also tasted pretty plain, which was probably why the bowl of sauce was there, to allow us to blend the saltiness to our taste. Good idea, but doesn’t seem like a very glam thing to do, to be tossing and mixing your rice when other are looking.

Western Plains Organic Pork Satay w Cucumber, Pineapple, Crushed Peanuts & a 3 flavour sauce

I have to say that presentation was really bad. And I was a little hesitant on how to start on the dish. There are several individual components and is there suppose to be a suggested order of eating? There are big slices of cucumber, big slices of pineapple, some green chilli padi and basil. I thought I would go orginal and have the pork satay with the dipping sauce. The sauce had this sweet and salty punch to it, but the pork was a horror. The meat was really tough and difficult to chew. I went on to blend in the rest of the individual components and they actually did go well with the pork, which made it refreshing. Wrapping this up, I would have to say that it could potentially be one of the best dish, but the pork satay being the centre of the plate was extremely disappointing. It would be great if a different cut of meat was used and the presentation could be improved to allow diners to understand how to blend the individual components together.

 Green Curry of Grilled Chicken w Salted Duck Eggs, Pea Eggplant, Kaffir Lime Leaf & Thai Basil

I’m not a big fan of green curry but I would have to say that they are pretty generous in the amount of eggplants in the bowl. It was pretty special in the sense that salted duck egg were used. Again, a Chin Chin interpretation/rendition of a green curry. So as expected, it was slightly too salty. Not the traditional kind of green curry that we are used to having. Lastly, as a warning, it is pretty spicy!

To sum it up, I wouldn’t be willing to queue for hours to get a seat in this restaurant. Most of the dishes were only mediocre and some were pretty disappointing. I don’t see how some people can re-visit this place again and again despite the never-ending queue. BUT, Chin Chin has successfully saved themselves with the unforgettable Kingfish sashimi which is so distinct. I might go back again when the hype has quiet down.

Opening Hours:
Lunch till Late
(Mon to Sun)

125 Flinders Lane
Melbourne, VIC 3000

Food: 2/5
Ambience: 3/5
Value: 2.5/5
Service: 2/5
(Kingfish sashimi gets 4.75/5)


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