I’d been keen to visit the well-known Chin Chin on my last visit to Melbourne but we just ran out of time. However on this trip I was determined to have dinner there with my friend Mara. As they don’t accept bookings, we knew there’d be a queue so we thought we’d go early put our names on the list, go see a movie, then come back later for dinner. However when we arrived at 6:30pm, there was already a 3 hour wait and they were not taking anymore names. I pleaded with the guy on the door and explained we were over from Perth, leaving the next day and even if we had to eat at midnight we were eating at Chin Chin that night! The guy (also from Perth) suggested we come back later after the movie and he promised he’d remember us and would be sure we’d have more luck getting a table then. So off to the movie we went. When we returned he did indeed remember us and after a short 10 minute wait we were shown to our table.
Once seated we were able to take in the room and atmosphere better. The room is open and dimly lit with a large bar down one side. Tables are somewhat close together but with the music playing you can’t hear the conversation at the table next to you. There are stairs leading downstairs to their GoGo Cocktail Bar which you can also enter down Higsons laneway. Higsons laneway hosts a not-for-profit public projection art space, with arty images being projected along one wall which you can see from inside the restaurant (but also cleverly lighting up the laneway), for emerging and established contemporary based video artists.
We finally order some wine, perused our placemat menu which Mara was really pleased at the choices available. If you can’t decide what to order, there is a ‘Feed Me’ option for $66pp where you are served a selection of Chin Chin’s favourite dishes. Mara fancied the Fried Squid ($14), a plate of different pieces of squid served with a lemon wedge. Each piece was lightly coated in a salt and pepper batter, crispy and tender to chew.
After hearing such great things about it, I was keen to try the Massaman Curry ($25). A large bowl of coconut braised beef with Kipler potatoes, peanuts and crispy shallots and a bowl of rice. It was an incredibly generous serving (I finished it all – quite piggy of me really!). The meat was slow cooked and tender when pierced with my fork. The sauce was creamy and rich with the peanuts adding crunchiness to the creamy texture. The potatoes were cooked perfectly well too. I’d also ordered a side of Roti Bread ($4) which had been grilled golden and crisp and was very moorish.
Mara chose the Crispy Skinned Duck ($33) served with pickled cucumber and ginger salad with sesame seeds and fresh lemon. Although it’s hard to see from the photo, the colours in the salad looked pretty. Mara really enjoyed the duck which was very crispy on the outside but tender underneath. The salad was tangy and refreshing and the sesame seeds came in a little bowl so you could sprinkle over as much or as little as you liked.
There was as selection of sweet afters to choose from. Mara ordered the Palm Sugar Sundae ($14) with salted honeycomb and lime syrup. The honeycomb scattered over the creamy ice cream was very moorish and the lime syrup took the edge of the sweetness.
Chin Chin definitely lived up to our expectations and the hype it still creates, despite opening in 2011. Afterall it’s one of the most reviewed and talk about restaurants in Melbourne. If you haven’t been I highly recommend you visit soon to check out what the hype is all about. I promise you wont be disappointed.
125 Flinders Lane