Saturday, 3 September 2011

Chin Chin

125 Flinders Lane
Melbourne, 3000

Contrary to what you might believe, the name ‘Chin Chin’ actually has nothing to do with Chins. From what I’ve heard it’s actually Japanese slang for, now how shall I put this delicately, the male phallus. But just as restaurant names in Melbourne have been raising more and more eyebrows (Naked for Satan, anyone?), the food has also been getting better and better. Specialising in Asian dishes, the menu at Chin Chin is ample and designed to share, and there is also a bar offering a myriad of inventive cocktails, all in a lofty, warehouse-like space on Flinders Lane.

Aformentioned Lofty Warehouse-Like Space

And when I say that Chin Chin is popular to a fault, I really do mean it. Whilst we were one of the first people in the restaurant at 11:40, the queue was out the door by noon. Thank goodness experience taught us to arrive unreasonably early at places like this.

Wine Glass/Placemat and Plate/Tables

Besides competing on the food front, Melbourne restaurants seem to be trying to be outdoing each other in creativity too. And Chin Chin is definitely winning. I loved everything from the gorgeously printed placemats (menu on reverse), to the uniquely beautiful plates, and all the way down to the drinks menu labelled ‘XXX R18+ Adults Only’.

Kingfish Sashimi with Lime, Chilli, Coconut, and Thai Basil ($14)

Not only did we eat with our mouths today, but we also ate with our eyes. Everything about the Kingfish Sashimi with Lime, Chilli, Coconut, and Thai Basil ($14) was beautiful – the plate, the presentation, and of course, the taste itself. The thick, toothsome slices of kingfish were enhanced, rather than overshadowed, by the tart dressing and herbs, and the acid and the spice were smoothed out wonderfully by daubs of creamy coconut cream. Even the non-sashimi-eating Chris liked it, and it left our tastebuds hungry for more.

Kingfish Sashimi with Lime, Chilli, Coconut, and Thai Basil ($14)

And because it was such a beautiful dish, I thought it deserved a close-up. Honk if you’re drooling! 

Massaman Curry of Coconut Braised Hopkins River Beef Brisket with Pink Fur Apple Potatoes and Crispy Shallots ($21)
The main we had today was a Massaman Curry of Coconut Braised Hopkins River Beef Brisket with Pink Fur Apple Potatoes and Crispy Shallots ($21). At first I thought 21 dollars was a bit steep for a curry, but the bowl that landed on our table was huge! Flavour wise, it was also impeccable. Substantial chunks of tender beef brisket swam just below the surface of a smooth, sweet and creamy curry, with texture added by a generous scattering of crispy shallots and crushed peanuts. I was this close to drinking it like a soup.

Jasmine Rice

But alas! The curry was served with a bowl of jasmine rice, and decency meant that I had to have the curry on the rice. The waiter (friendly and helpful) kindly told us to give him a shout if we wanted a refill.

By the time we left an hour later, the restaurant was at capacity, and the noise level made it difficult for us to hear each other across the table. But regardless of the noise, this was possibly one of the best meals I’ve recently had, and we left not with a business card, but a small box of matches, with a cheeky picture of a smoking rabbit inside the cover.

Rating: 17/20 – Go Now!

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon



  2. It tastes even better than it looks! Go go go!

  3. Thank you for the review, I actually dropped by today. Friendly service! Had the Chinchin special rice and the Massaman curry with a friend to share. It was absolutely delicious. Wished I took photos!

  4. I'm glad you enjoyed it, it makes for such an indulgent weekday lunch! :D

  5. I've been glued to your blog since June but I never had the chance to comment - and I've been to some places that you've recommended.

    So a big, big thank you!

  6. I'm glad you've been enjoying my blog, so a big bit thank you back to you as well!