Monday, September 15, 2014

Chin Chin, Melbourne CBD by Bureaucrat

Arriving fashionably late (after 8pm) for a mid-week dinner with Ms N, there was a palpable buzz in the air at Chin Chin.  My button-down humdrum suburban sensibilities were surprised to see the presence of many school kiddies out for a late dinner with their parents during a school week among the roomful of bright young things shouting to each other about their fabulous lives while taking in dinner.

The restaurant was packed out (with more people milling about hoping for a table to become available).  It's squishy and you're almost rubbing elbows with the next table.  But somehow this sort of squishiness is part of the experience - that is, you ought to feel very special to have gotten a table in such a popular restaurant that you'd more than gladly give up a sense of personal space to be seen here and to eat the food. The service is mixed.  The staff who were dealing with the bookings and managing the tables have a bit of an attitude to them, while the ones that look after you during your meal are definitely more friendly, responsive and a little bit flirtatious with you.

As both Ms N and I had already had some pre-dinner nibbles, we settled on sharing two small plates and one larger plate. While it was tasty, the two small mouthfuls of Miang - betel leaf on braised lamb neck w smoked eggplant and mint relish - was a tad pricey at $12.  The lamb was tender and had a nice smoky flavour to it, while the roasted nuts and betel leaf added some crunch and texture to the dish.

The chilli salt chicken wings w coriander and lemon ($14) wasn't too spicy and the sauce had a nice sour twang to it.

The caramelised sticky pork w sour herb salad and chilli vinegar ($26) was definitely the best dish of the night.  Meaty slabs of tender pork which had a nice crunchy-ish and sticky crust.  It was unapologetically punchy with the sour citrus and vinegar flavours.  The freshness from the beanshoots, coriander and Thai basil cut through and otherwise rich dish.  A great balance of sweet, sour, salty and hot.

Ms N also got a drink which I forgot to note down (it was non-alcoholic).

Food – 8
Ambiance – 7
Service – 7.5
Price – 7

Chin Chin is obviously popular among the punters.  It has that too-cool-for-school vibe, interesting menu, good looking staff that are responsive and the food is pretty tasty. 

While I have nothing against the place, it's just not for me - the place is squishy, noisy and a bit pricey for my liking.

Also have a gander at Ruby Grapefruit's review back in April 2012.

Chin Chin
125 Flinders Lane
Telephone: 8663 2000

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon

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