Modern Asian Restaurants: Chin Chin
In the early days, I was rejected from this place numerous times and due to the ridiculous wait times, I never ended up hanging around. But finally, on a late Sunday lunch in 2012, I managed to avoid rejection.
Now, I am an avid fan of this popular restaurant, and I have visited four or five times without needing to wait. I will let you in on that secret later. Due to my many visits, I realise I have quite a lot of dishes to talk about, so here it goes!
The number one dish we keep going back to Chin Chin for is the twice cooked Victorian beef short ribs with coriander and prik nam pla (Thai sauce) (below, far right, $29). The beef is so delicate, it literally falls off the bone. The sauce on the side adds a bit of a sweet, lime taste if you’re after it, but if not, the sauce that it already lies in and coriander are already rich enough to satisfy the tastebuds.
My first time there, I also fell in love with the barramundi and caramelised pork belly green apple salad (top left, $27). On my most recent trip, we found the pork a bit dry, perhaps indicating that rumours I’ve heard of the restaurant’s quality deteriorating might just be true.
After several visits, I kept checking Urbanspoon to see what other dishes were popular. The son-in-law eggs with chill jam (above, bottom left, $8), kept popping up so we gave that a go. The flavours, as usual, were rich and interesting and the outsides of the eggs had a nice texture, almost like a subtly crispy skin. I wouldn’t mind ordering it again as a side to help fill me up a bit more for $8, but not a must-have dish.
Pictured above, is the barbecue pork satay ($23). I keep forgetting it’s a main on the menu from this picture, as this was treated as an entree even from the way they served our food (they served this first). As good as it was (I could find no fault), I don’t think it’s special enough to differentiate from other satay skewers for half the price at most Asian restaurants.
My friend also enjoys the Massaman curry ($29), however one time we ordered the green curry ($25), and discovered that their curries can be a bit salty. Other satisfying dishes I’ve tried include the DIY pork rolls-ups ($19), kind of like peking duck but with braised suckling pig.
Another friend was quite a fan of the wagyu salad or Crying Tiger (above, $29). I did like it, but sadly I couldn’t enjoy it as much as her, being the weak person when it comes to chilli! The other dish pictured is just some fried rice ($18), I don’t feel it’s anything special to talk about and I say stick to steamed rice.
What I crave from Chin Chin besides the beef, is the grilled banana roti with condensed milk (below, $12)! The pastry-like roti oozes with warm banana, and combined with the sweet condensed milk, it makes an excellent way to end a good meal at Chin Chin. I’m not sure why the palm sugar ice cream sundae (below, $14) seems more popular – I found it hard to eat a lot of it due to too many strong flavours, as if the abundance of salted honeycomb, palm sugar icecream and lime syrup were all competing to win.
Now on how to get in? Well firstly, dinner will always be hard. If you are really keen, it’s probably better to go early dinner around 5 or so, and not on a weekend night. It’s a good idea to give the restaurant a call, because even if you can’t book (they only book for 10+), you can at least ask how long the wait is or if there are any free tables before heading there.
Lunch is often not that hard due to most people being at work, or you can go at an off-peak time between lunch and dinner around 2-3pm and it won’t be so hard!
I was meant to to write about other restaurants, then I realised I’ve visited Chin Chin enough to constitute one post. Look out for Part 2!
Chin Chin is located at 125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne and is open 11am until late. They have also opened GoGo Bar underneath, where you can have some drinks whilst waiting for your table or enjoy some bar food/entrees from the Chin Chin menu.