Saturday, 20 February 2016

Chin Chin Restaurant – Melbourne CBD - Melbourne, Australia


A visit to Melbourne is not complete without going to Chin Chin Restaurant. It’s one of the most famous restaurants in Melbourne and the ‘IT’ place to be. There is a lot of hype surrounding the restaurant, being one of the most reviewed on Zomato. 


Chin Chin Restaurant is a walk in restaurant and only takes reservations for groups of 10-12 people. We arrive on a Saturday night at around 8pm thinking it won’t be too crowded given that its past busy dinner time but no, we were wrong. It’s so busy and fully packed out. We’re told there is approximately a two hour wait for a table. That would mean having dinner at 10pm!



Since we were in no hurry for dinner having just consumed a waffle from Waffee and being rather full from lunch, we decide to wait. Now you may think we’re crazy waiting at those odd hours but since we’re already in town and having heard such rave reviews we had to try it. Our expectations were set high. 



Getting side tracked a bit but the waffles from Waffee are worth a mention. The plain waffle is wonderfully warm and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. 



You have the choice of waiting at the bar or they can call you once a table is available. We opt for the latter as there is still plenty to see in the CBD including a visit to the Gingerbread House and watching the Christmas lights display.

A hour and a bit in, our phone buzzes and they advise a table is available. That was indeed much quicker than we expected. I’m glad we waited as it wasn’t that long after all. At past 9pm it's still a full house and there are still customers waiting to go in.



Located on Flinders Lane, Chin Chin Restaurant is a casual eatery serving modern Thai street inspired dishes with a South-East Asian twist. It’s dimly lit and rather dark but that gives it the nice ambiance. There is that constant lively buzz from the chatter and 80’s music pumping in the background, giving it a very cool vibe.

We find our neighboring tables extremely friendly. They are locals from Melbourne and they greet us once we take a seat, not something you would expect to see in Sydney.


The menu is elaborate and there are plenty of options to choose from. All sound visually appealing even though there are no pictures. We struggle to pick only a few dishes to share but eventually decide on them after much deliberation.


We start off with the ‘Handmade Crab and Pork Cakes ($15.00)’ served with a salted duck egg and tamarind sauce.An odd sounding combination but flavours worked well. The cakes are deep fried to a lovely golden texture. Wrapped in the leaves and then dipped in the sauce, it was delicious.


The ‘Smashed Green Papaya Salad ($16.00)’ with red chilli, prawn floss, peanuts and black beans is SPICY. For a chilli lover like myself, it was fiery. The sweet, sour and hot balanced well together and the papaya was just so fresh. A simple dish, yet packed with a whole lot of punch.


Next up was the ‘Pad Seuw Beef ($24.00)’ made up of stir fried rice noodles with wagyu beef, gai lan and shallots. A popular dish at regular Thai joints but the version here was superb.  The beef wasn’t chewy and the noodles were wonderfully coated with a dark soy sauce.


The ‘Hot and Sour Steamed White Fish ($29.50)’ was the last dish to arrive. We were expecting a fillet of fish in a lovely sauce. However, it was more like a soup. Pieces of fresh fish in a tom yum style broth with chilies and baby corn. I personally found it a bit sour and compared to the other dishes this was our least favourite.


How could one leave without dessert? The ‘Palm Sugar Ice-cream Sundae ($16.50)’ with salted honeycomb and lime syrup was delightful. A scoop of the honeycomb with the robust flavours of the palm sugar ice-cream was a satisfying way to end the meal.


If you’re in Melbourne do give Chin Chin Restaurant a try as I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. It does live up to its hype. The large portion sizes, fresh ingredients and scrumptious food makes up for the higher prices and long waiting times. A memorable experience.

Next destination is Singapore (again) and Hong Kong. There is so much I want to eat in these countries I don’t think I’ll have time to try everything. I can’t wait!

Look out for upcoming posts after April.

Where

Chin Chin Restaurant
125 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
Australia

Phone no: 03 8663 2000

Waffee
1/77 Swanston St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Australia

Phone no: 03 9041 4594

Opening Hours
Chin Chin Restaurant
7 Days a week
11:00am – 11:30pm

Waffee
7 Days a Week
Monday - Thursday: 7:45am - 7:00pm
Friday: 7:45am - 11:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am - 9:00pm
Sunday: 10:00am - 6:00pm

Websites
http://www.chinchinrestaurant.com.au/

http://www.waffee.com.au/

Chin Chin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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