“Omg! You haven’t been to Chin Chin yet?” was always the response I’d get from friends, family and acquaintances alike when I’d say I haven’t been to Melbourne’s Asian cuisine power house.
The next part of the conversation always went something like, ” Last time I went there we had a two hour wait, but we just went to Go Go bar downstairs and had drinks. It’s really cool. By the time we got seated we were so drunk I don’t remember what we ate. But it was so good! Be prepared to spend a lot, but it’s so worth it. Totally worth it.”
After the third time I heard this story I smiled politely, probably even laughed a bit, and immediately crossed Chin Chin off my I Will Eat You Someday List. As sad as it was, I would never make the effort to get to know Chin Chin.
It wasn’t until last sunday, after a spontaneous trip to see ACMI’s music video exhibition, when I thought about it again. We needed somewhere to eat and I’m not sure why it popped into my head, but it was 4:30pm and I thought surely Chin Chin would not packed. I was right!
The place was nearly empty. I wanted to go down to Go Go Bar just to have the true(ish) experience. I thought we had time. Thankfully we took the smart road and followed the waitress to our seat. Choosing from such a large and detailed menu can be hard, especially when everything is meant to be shared.
We almost succumbed to the “Feed Me” option($66) where they serve you up selections from ChinChin’s favorite dishes. We did a pretty good job on our own though.
Our calamari was perfectly crisp, even after being dipped in the chili oil sauce it came with. The grilled roti was good, but definitely the one we could have done without. Our three mains were excellent. Even the one we didn’t order. Haha, yup! We “accidentally” accepted a plate that wasn’t ours. I put quotations around accidentally not because we did it on purpose, we didn’t, but because we enjoyed the dry red curry of soft shell with snake beans, thai basil and kaffir lime leaf so much after they told us we could keep it.
My favorite was the rendang curry of spiced crusted braised beef brisket with chili oil.
If there is one place that lives up to all its hype it’s Chin Chin. It’s like the Neil Patrick Harris of Melbourne restaurants. Just as cool in person as he is on TV. Yes, I’ve met him. I spent about .5 seconds with him on the streets of NY, but that’s another story but another time.
125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne Australia