Sunday, April 1, 2012

Chin Chin, Melbourne CBD by Ruby Grapefruit

Chin Chin is the restaurant of the moment and the Eat and Be Merry crew was looking forward to finally checking it out. It’s also one of the crop of places that are solely or predominately no booking so with military planning and precision we left work early to get there at noon to secure a table.

The fit out is casual (almost cafeteria style) with some quirky features such as Asian posters on the walls. It’s also a big space so it got quite noisy for a week day lunchtime so I imagine it would get even louder at dinner. The menu is quite extensive and interesting so fortunately we had a group of four and were able to order a number of shared dishes. The food is modern Asian in style, similar to that being offered at say Gingerboy or Red Spice Road.

First up was the wok fried salt and pepper squid and baby octopus. The squid was tasty, crispy but tender in texture and the nuoc cham dipping sauce was really good. Our only complaint was that the baby octopus was a bit bland compared to the squid.

The crab salad was also quite good with a tasty combination of sweet, sour and chilli flavours.

The crispy barramundi and green apple salad with caramelised pork, chilli and lemongrass was a great dish. Who would have thought that adding caramelised pork to barramundi would work? This was one of our favourite dishes of the day.

The sticky caramelised pork dish was probably the stand out dish though. The pork was crispy on the outside and tender inside and was served with a salad of herbs (a little dull) and chilli vinegar to cut through any fattiness from the pork. There are a couple of places around town offering similar dishes but we thought this was the best we had tried.

Our curry dish contained tofu, beans and pumpkin. While certainly not a poor curry the flavours were a little toned down and didn’t shine through compared to the other dishes.

The roti was certainly the best I’ve ever had – it was crispy and not at all oily.

The son in law eggs (a dish we had heard a lot about) came with a nice runny yolk nicely balanced by the sweetness of the chilli jam. This dish divided our group – some of us thought it was a little dull but Big Fil liked it although he’s thought he had had better versions where the outside of the egg was crispier.

We were all quite full so decided to have one dessert to share. The three colour pudding had layers of sweet beans, pandan infused tapioca, caramel and coconut crushed iced. Most of us thought it was too sweet but of course the pandan and tapioca fan Big Fil loved it.

The service was great with the staff funky but friendly and the timing of the dishes was perfect as they only brought out a couple of dishes at a time. It was also quite good value – considering the number of dishes we ordered and a glass of wine each – with our bill coming to under $40 per person. Our visit to Chin Chin confirmed that the buzz around this restaurant is well deserved. It’s more than just the “in” place as the food definitely lives up to the hype.

Food - 9
Service - 8
Ambience - 7
Price - 8

125 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 8663 2000

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon


Bureaucrat said...

I've been looking forward to reading your review of ChinChin, Ruby ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Chilli, this review has resulted in me calling up my girlies and making a date at Sea Bay, very yum Asian food & very reasonable too (Sydney, you have to try it if you visit!)…there goes the diet! I'm visiting Melbourne this weekend for InDesign tho so definitely will pay a visit. I was wondering if I could maybe get some help? I’m working on a dating app atm, and a part of the app will have bloggers recommending 5-10 places in their city to check out for a first date, I was wondering if you might recommend maybe a few places you love? I will put links up to your blog on the app and so far we have 2,000 signed up to download the app (I'm pretty surprised but so excited!) you can pop on here – or email me on xxx

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