We finally made it inside Chin Chin this time as we rocked up at at 4.30pm (yes, even too early for folks at the nursing home to have dinner. Chin Chin kindly refer to this dining time as a "rockstar's breakfast"). Surprisingly the place was already buzzing, with well over half of the tables in this vast restaurant already full. Needles to say we were so beside ourselves a getting a table we couldn't even begin to deice what to order. Lucky for us Chin Chin offers a "Feed Me" menu. For $66 they'll just bring you dishes until you cannot fit another morsel in (drinks not included). Yes, it sounds too good to be true...but believe me, it's true.
It's SO hot outside during our February visit (why so grossly hot Melbourne?) that I cannot even think of ordering anything alcoholic. I have my eyes set on something cold...really cold and the frozen coconut juice crush ($8.00) has my name all over it. It was so good I had two and it was a great way to cool down. The Boy favours booze on a hot day and found the White Rabbit Ale ($10.00) went down a treat.
I've heard nothing but good things about the food at Chin Chin so my expectations were really HIGH which is often not a good thing! I was ready to be wowed, to have my socks blown clear off. I can happily say that everything was amazing - not one disappointing dish amongst everything we ate.
Our delicious dinner began with a simple but oh-so-flavoursome dish of Kingfish Sashimi with lime, chilli, coconut + Thai basil. This dish was SO good, so zesty and vibrant, that I was still trying to slurp up all the marinade as the waitress cleared the plate away.
The Chin Chin pork "roll ups" are a perfect example of less is more. Fresh, simple ingredients - red braised suckling pig with pancakes, slaw + Asian herbs - that come together for a great punchy, tasty dish.
Next up is the spicy corn + coriander fritters with iceberg lettuce + chilli jam. These were scrumptious when you wrapped a crunchy corn fritter in a fresh lettuce leaf and added a good dab of chilli sauce. Fresh, crunchy and sweet form the corn with just a bit of spice from the chilli jam. There were also great textures in the crispy Barramundi + green apple salad with caramelized pork, peanuts, chillis and lemongrass - the crispiness from the fish, peanuts and green apple salad married well with the tender pork.
The twice cooked grass-fed Victorian beef short rib with coriander and prik nahm pla sauce was up there with as one of my favourite dishes (along with the sashimi and corn fritters). The beef was SO tender and so flavousome - it just fell straight off the bone. The ribs were accompanied by a side of simple steamed Gai Laan with toasted sesame seeds, ginger + oyster sauce. I've tried to make this at home before but cannot get the sauce right - any tips anyone (please)?
When it appears that the meal is probably at its end our waitress comes over and asks if we're full or if we want any more dishes. The Boy + I look at each other and agree we could probably fit in another dish...or two, but I urge the waitress to not let us order anything else after this - warning her that our appetites are quite literally endless (like this $66 deal by the looks of it). She returns with a plate of piled high with crispy steamed duck with pickled cucumber + ginger salad with sesame salt and fresh lemon and my special request dish - "son in law" eggs with chilli jam which is a dish I've always wanted to try - a boiled egg with a soft yolk that is then crumbed and fried.
Although we really have no room for dessert we manage to squeeze in the candied toddy palm, honey roasted pineapple, coconut sorbet with crushed ice and dark palm sugar caramel. I really loved this but I found the ice-cubes unwieldy to navigate around. At this stage I really was wishing I was wearing my nightie as my tummy lost the ability to pull itself in and my dress just wasn't loose enough. OINK!
Our meal at Chin Chin was stellar - beyond my expectations and I really cannot wait to go back (and we did just this very weekend). They only take bookings for one large table so I'm not kidding when I say get there early or be prepared to wait...a really long time.
Chin Chin is at 125 Flinders Street, Melbourne. Phone them on 03 8663 2000.