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Chin Chin - A Melbourne Phenomenon
Chin Chin is a Melbourne phenomenon that continues to constantly draw a packed house and is surely among the best dining experiences in this city. It's a restaurant with "wow" factor. This is Asian (Thai, Malay, Chinese) cuisine that is so inventive and multidimensional if not exciting. The noise levels are high, there is movement all around, and the food aromatic and visually appealing. It seems like you're in Asia (which I am most fond of). Surely Chin Chin is one of the best sensory dining experiences around.
Chin Chin is chic. The vibe is sensational with modern chic decor, sexy lighting, a cool bar area where you can perch on a stool, and the hum of the dining area. Getting a table at Chin Chin can be difficult unless you are prepared to wait (you can always visit Go Go Bar in the interim). This can be at least an hour or two. The no booking policy means you take your chances (they only take bookings for groups of 10-12). So it was incredible that we walked in and scored a table to seat 9.
My family and I enjoyed the best night here with a stunning family from America (who know the great restaurants of the world). When catching up with friends from out of town you need a place that brings something refreshing and different to the table. We were all agreed that Chin Chin delivered on all fronts. It was a perfect place to rendezvous after we last saw each other in Arizona thirteen years ago.
The "Feed Me" option is one of the outstanding dining choices in Melbourne. The whole concept of "feed me" is very cool. We are trusting this restaurant to serve us awesome food based on their inspiration and creativity. What was brilliant is that Chin Chin show flexibility around this menu if people have preferences or allergies etc. For $66 this option is great value and definitely the recommended way to go.
What is also cool is that unlike some other restaurants, the kids don't have to eat from the "Feed Me" option. You can order seperately for kids. Big tick.
The "Feed Me" option comes with a substantial amount of food (we were suprised at the number of dishes that we received), and quality to boot.
The Wine List is also great and contains some really top notch wines including European wines.
The Kingfish sashimi was applauded by all - with delicate sashimi and great flavours of lime, chilli, cocunut and Thai basil. This was one of the outstanding dishes of the night - and there were quite a few of them.
The Spicy Corn and coriander fritters were a delight with a great texture, crispy outside, and it was wonderful to wrap it in the iceburg lettuce with a hit of chilli jam.
The crowd pleasers kept on coming including the Wok fried salt and pepper calamari with nuoc cham and Vietnamese mint. Perfectly cooked crispy calamari.
Crispy Wild Barramundi was another great dish.
I was a little confused over our next dish which seemed to be Massaman curry but contained tofu. It was delicious but could it be they just invented something not on the menu?
The meals were coming out at a fair pace. Chin Chin were in overdrive. I was loving it all but it was an intense culinary experience.
The Salt and pepper soft shell crab was an absolute sensation. My friend who has eaten many of these over the years in fine restaurants said that this was his best ever. One of the highlights of the night. (Photo difficult in the light and I don't want to use a flash). They also gave us a plate of different types of chilli.
So much diversity in this menu. The Crispy quail were also outstanding and tender and juicy.
By this time we were thinking that the amount of food was substantial but there was much more to come. The Caramelised sticky pork (above) was amazing.
The Twice cooked Hopkins River short ribs were amazing - so tender and again a highlight.
After all this it was difficult to fit in dessert. But the desserts were also refreshing and impressive.
We had such a fabulous night at Chin Chin. In many ways it breaks some moulds. Highly recommended.