‘Chin Chin‘ have always been the buzzwords when I ask for recommendations for the hottest Melbourne restaurants in town. I’ve also been pretty late in the trend, considering that their head chef has since gone on to expand onto Kong, which has created quite a bit of a buzz too!
However, with Chin Chin, the words ‘long queues’, ‘1h wait’, ‘overrated’ usually pop up during the conversation. That is why I was reluctant to give it a go – I usually can only do dinner in the city on weekday nights and all these don’t sound appealing when you’re tired and hungry after work!
But anyway, Vivi was in town for work and we found that the only time we could do dinner was Sunday. I didn’t have anything on on that Sunday evening and because it was only 2 of us, I thought it would be easier to get a table. So I asked Vivi if we could meet early at 5pm (to prepare for a long waiting time) and she was fine with it.
So Chin Chin it was!
Vivi got there promptly at 5pm (I was caught up in something oops). She was told it was going to be a 30-45minute wait and she would get a text when the table was ready. So she went down to the Gogo Bar to wait for me.
Haha I guess to us Singaporeans, this is nothing but overpriced roti prata! While Vivi did like the peanut sauce, this doesn’t really justify the $9 price tag!
The setting at Gogo Bar was comfortable, casual and even somewhat peaceful – it wasn’t at all noisy but I guess it could be because it was still early in the evening. We sat there and caught up for awhile. And true to the staff’s word, at about 35minutes later, Vivi got her text and we headed upstairs.
We didn’t take too long to decide what we want and the food didn’t take very long too. I was quite impressed with that, considering that it was full-house.
Now, I’ve heard alot about the Son-in-law eggs so the moment I spied it on the menu, I knew we had to get it.
Verdict? I love how the outside had the rubbery texture but the inside was all gooey and soft. The chilli jam was fab too. I guess if you want to take this cynically, this is really nothing but glamourised sambal eggs. But I guess the unique factor would be that the egg is all soft inside instead of being hard-boiled.
The next dish was also ordered upon many reviews on Urbanspoon:
So did this dish live up to its apparent popularity? Well, the first bite I took was the barramundi and I found it really salty, hard and dry 😦
The next bite I took was into the caramelised pork which was all soft and melty – what a world of difference! I also detected seasonings of honey, fish sauce, lemongrass with peanuts sprinkled on top – elements that were all light and appetising at the same time. Yum!
I also enjoyed the fresh apple salad that were sliced up so finely to give a delightful acidic crunch. So yes, the only disappointment on this dish was the fish which is quite a shame really!
I did hear some good things about the beef ribs and for us, this was the Dish of the Night. The beef just slides off the bone and melts in your mouth… mmmm. It also goes wonderfully with the fish sauce accompanying with it. Lots of tender care (pun fully intended) has been put into this all right!
We ordered this because I got greedy and couldn’t go past it when I saw ‘soft shell crab’. However, unfortunately, I would have to say that this was the dish that impressed us the least. The seasonings and overall flavour of the dish were good, but I found the soft shell crab to be not very fleshy. I felt like I was eating more shell than crab and that disappointed me a little.
So as you can tell, we probably ordered a little too much so we asked if we could pack the leftover food. And the staff said yes. Yay!
I was the privileged one who got to take the doggy bag and because we felt so stuffed, we decided to take a walk down to Southbank and walk along the Yarra River. Nice little Vivi helped me carry the doggy bag around – thanks Vivi!
So it was quite a nice evening – balmy Spring weather and catching up with an old friend over a pretty decent meal 🙂 It was also quite a treat having those leftovers for lunch the next day – whoop!
I would say the food at Chin Chin is quite creative and spot-on with its flavours and I can see why people would find it a hot spot, as the menu is quite extensive and I hear that it’s always changing.
So while I may be reluctant to make this 1 of my Top Picks due to its no-reservation policy and pricey tags, I reckon Chin Chin is still worth a go, if you have time to spare and are in the mood for some Thai dishes with a twist!