The first time I tried to visit Chin Chin in Melbourne's CBD, we arrived before 6pm and were told there would be a 4 hour wait for a table of two! So we went round the corner and had a truly fantastic meal at Movida Next Door instead! Luckily on my next Melbourne trip we tried for a late Friday lunch and were seated straight away.
There is a lot of hype surrounding this restaurant. It is one of the most reviewed on Urbanspoon, and now I can see why. The offering seems simple - modern Asian dishes to share by exec chef Ben Cooper - but the food and drinks are excellent, the decor appealed to the designer in me, and the place exudes a very cool, very Melbourne vibe.
Arriving back from Malaysia just the day before, my mind was still on Asian flavours and it was rather difficult to choose a drink because the whole cocktai list sounded great. This Lemongrass cocktail with 10 cane rum, fresh lime, ginger syrup and palm sugar hit the spot perfectly. Refreshing, delicious with a nice kick from the ginger syrup, I really loved this drink!
I couldn't go past the Chin Chin Pork Roll Ups with red braised suckling pig (mmmm), pancakes, sour herbs and slaw. Get interactive with your entree and build your own pork pancake! This dish made a perfectly relaxed and delicious start to the meal. I can hardly remember a time where sharing menus weren't the norm! I think the concept is here to stay, and it works particularly well with this style of Modern Asian cuisine.
We also shared the Caramelised Sticky Pork with sour herbs and chilli vinegar. The pork fell apart under your fork into a tangle of crispy, sweet pork. While it was seriously delicious, I almost wish we had picked something a little more different to our entree as the two dishes were quite similar and there are so many amazing sounding dishes on the menu. A return visit is definitely required!
The Palm Sugar Ice Cream sundae with salted honeycomb and lime syrup was our first pick off the dessert menu, and our favourite of the day. While the flavours weren't overly complex, they worked quite well together. Steve and I had a spoon fight for the last pieces of honeycomb.
As I mentioned, we had just flown in from Malaysia the day before, with our first stop being Melbourne's new Mamak outpost, we definitley had roti on the brain! I knew we had to try the Grilled Banana Roti Bread, even though we were struggling for stomach space by this point! My eyes lit up when I saw the pool of condensed milk that it was served in. We enjoyed this dish but the roti was quite thick in places and not flaky like the similar dish at Mamak. I liked the addition of cinnamon, and I suppose I should have expected it, but this dish was super sweet, even for me!
Restaurants like Chin Chin and Ms G's almost need a restaurant genre all of their own - modern fusion Asian casual fine dining, perhaps? But I can now definitey understand why it's so popular. Take my advice though, and head over there early as there are no bookings taken for smaller groups, or have a drink in the very cool Go Go Bar.
Chin Chin, 125 Flinders Lane Melbourne (03) 8663 2000