Last night I went to Chin Chin (125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne) which opened only a matter of weeks ago.
First impressions were that the space looks great, loved the lighting and loved the decorative touches, particularly the graffiti style wallpaper at the entrance. Whilst we arrived early, apparently so had everyone else and had already been seated, leaving only a table for 2 when there was 3 of us (there is substantial seating along the walls but we wanted to be old-school and sit round a table). It was no problem to add an extra seat, considering the possible wait might have been an hour.
Unfortunately this place “is so hot right now” and our lovely waiter was the hardest working man in Melbourne last night. His section had clearly been seated all at once and while drink orders were taken immediately it was a while before anyone came back to take a wine or food order. The only other negative, was the table was clearly too small for the crockery and the number of dishes we ordered, with the nifty hands of another waiter we got ourselves sorted, if only those beautiful elongated plates were a teeny bit smaller (I’d like those for home!)
So, the food, and oh boy any niggles about table size or waiting for a wine were worth the food. How fresh and flavoursome. Once we had ordered the food started coming pronto. We had:
Crunchy School Prawns -dish of the night for me – with nam prik pla gapi which was incredible. Hot but somehow fresh, loved it!
Pork roll-ups -the coriander and lime salad was perfect and just worked so well with the pork
Chicken dumplings – no brainer Yum
Sour orange curry – yes we ate it all, not scared of fish heads no way (the waiter did kindly point out when we ordered this dish to expect a fish head – yep) delicious!
Chicken salad – I can’t remember the correct name, but think fresh (again) lime and coriander and just well bloody fresh
And for sweets we shared banana roti with condensed milk – I wanted this to be good, which it was, and my guests loved it, but for me I have such strong food memories of eating this from the market in Chiang Mai where it was made while you watched and so crunchy and the banana almost soft and warm. Apparently this dish was just put on the menu last night, it’s a winner but maybe just a little bit more crunch on the roti. The roti we had with our “mains” was the perfect balance of crunchy and soft.
We drank the house wine (Yabby Lake Pinot Gris) by the carafe.
There was a continual line of people coming or trying to come into the restaurant the entire time we were there and there were many cool young things milling round the bar. Once the dust settles this is the kind of place I will rely upon time and time again with a vast enough menu to try something new each visit, but those crunchy school prawns are locked in as a dead-set favourite. Some restaurants just make sense and this is one of them.
Sorry no photos, I’m too busy eating and talking to ever take photo’s. Use your imagination that’s what it’s for or better still get thee to Chin Chin.