Chin Chin, CBD

12/30/2013 , , 1 Comments

Chin Chin is one of the most popular restaurants in Melbourne, and is frequently in the talk of the town section on Urbanspoon. It's located on Flinders Lane past Russell St, next to a restaurant I have previously blogged about, The Meatball and Wine Bar. Despite all the hype and good reviews I have heard about this place, I was a bit disappointed as I thought it was just average, and definitely not the best Thai/SE Asian food I've had.

The interior design is quite simple, with a lot of tables in a vast, open space. The large windows on one side allow for plenty of natural light to come in, though it did get quite dark the later it became, as the interior lights themselves aren't very bright. There is some art on the walls, as well as a row of lights going across the bar. One feature I liked about the bar area we were sitting at was that there were hooks for us to hang our bags on, so they didn't have to be put on the floor.

Similar to Mamasita, at Chin Chins you can't be seated at a table unless everyone in your group is there. It was already quite full when we went on a Friday at 5:30pm, and our group of three had to be seated at the bar. We didn't get told that the decorated placements also doubled as the menu, and only realised when we flipped it over ourselves to examine. I did see that another member of staff flipped the placemats for the people she was serving as they were sitting down, so there was a bit of inconsistency in this aspect. It was quite noisy because of the number of people there, and with the loud music in the background, meant we had to raise our voices slightly to hear each other above all the other noises.

Between the three of us, we decided on two main dishes plus steamed jasmine rice ($3 per bowl) and an entree to share. The entree we ordered was the Grilled roti madtarbak ($12), and the two mains were the Massaman Curry ($26) and the Pad Thai ($23). The grilled roti was filled with Indian spiced beef and a cucumber relish, and had a very strong herb taste to it. The lightly burnt and crunch from the roti mixed with the soft meat and vermicelli made for a good combination of textures, though there was more roti than filling, so we were left eating just the pastry by the end. It was good to have by itself or with the dipping sauce, though it was quite spicy if you had too much sauce and can't really handle spicy food.

The Pad Thai noodles came with chopped prawns, peanuts, dried shrimp and bean sprouts. It had very strong flavours; in particular it was quite sour compared to most Pad Thai that I have had, though this may be partly due to the lemon juice we squeezed on top. There was quite a lot more peanuts in the Pad Thai as well, a very generous portion as opposed to the normal garnish on top of the dish. The prawns were very fresh and there was a lot in the dish, and the slight sweetness in the sauce made for a good balance to the strong sour flavours.

The Masaman curry consisted of coconut braised beef with kipfler potatoes, peanuts and shallots. This curry was quite watery and darker in colour than the average curry, and we found it to be quite strong and heavy in taste, even when you had it with the rice. It would've been good to have more vegetables besides the potatoes to balance out the heaviness and the sweetness from the coconut- we found ourselves constantly needing to drink water to cleanse our palette. However, the beef was quite good; despite being in very big chunks, it fell apart easily when cut into, and was full of flavour and not dry at all. The potatoes were also good, with just enough flavour and not too soggy. There was also some small pineapple bits in the curry which too may have added to the sweetness - I actually accidentally mistook it for the potato because of the dark lighting of the restaurant. The copious amount of chopped peanuts made for added texture, again different to normal curries. We were left with quite a lot of sauce at the end, as one whole bowl of rice was not enough to use it all up.

One downside I found when paying the bill was that Chin Chin automatically adds a donation supporting a charity to the bill. We would've happily added an amount to our bill, but to have it on there without us knowing (were we to not have looked at the bill properly) is not something I have experienced before. 

The portions are definitely not worth the prices in my opinion, but there is good, strong flavours in all the dishes and you definitely wouldn't be having any issues with the food being bland. I probably wouldn't visit Chin Chin again - I feel it is a bit over-hyped and there was no wow factor that I was expecting, given how popular the restaurant is.

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

1 comment:

  1. Oh woww! I'm a blogger living in Sydney and about to visit Melbourne! All I've been hearing is amazing things about Chin Chin! Definitely a different take!



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