I’m a BIG HUGE fan of Chin Chin. Love the menu as place mats. Love the Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce on every table. Love the GoGo Bar down at the basement. Love the Asian-inspired tropical cocktails with lemongrass twigs. Love the brightly lit pink bunny ears. Hey, I even love the Thai language lessons (in the little girl’s room).
What’s not to love about Chin Chin? …. oh yes, and there’s Chin Chin’s brilliant and talented executive chef, Benjamin Cooper, who just released Chin Chin, the cookbook – featuring all recipes in the restaurant’s menu! By the way, have you seen him in Masterchef Australia Season 6 2014? He totally rocked the house down.
My family was in town last month, so, naturally, there were lots and lots of restaurant visits and food tours – indulging in fine foods that we don’t usually eat. My dad fell in love with Chin Chin’s bold and beautiful modernised classic Thai flavours when I introduced him to Chin Chin last year. This time round, it’s no surprise that dad wanted to come here again 🙂
We arrived at 11am (Chin Chin do not take bookings). We thought we were early, but surprise surprise, there was already a queue of hungry people waiting 🙂
…And that’s how the restaurant looks like at 11am … lots of space!
One of the things you must try in Chin Chin is their house-made non alcoholic cocktails. We had Coconut Crush, their special cocktail of the day, which had a mix of fresh tropical pineapple and coconut (of course) with ice crush. So refreshing.
Kingfish sashimi, Salt & Pepper Kingfish Wings $22, Coconut Crush (non alcoholic)
Then, we further smashed our taste buds with fresh Kingfish Sashimi that is boldly dressed with lime, chilli, coconut cream and thai basil leaves. Wonderfully flavoured and so delicate – just as I remembered it. Then, there’s the crispy Salt & Pepper Kingfish Wings served with Asian herb salad & Nuoc Cham – best eaten with fingers. Whilst they may be just wings, they are certainly juicy and delicious. Remember, finger licking is part of the table manners here 🙂
Chilli Salt Chicken Wings, Rendang Curry of Spice Crusted Braised Beef Brisket $24
The highlight dish of the day is Chin Chin’s new menu Rendang Curry of Spice Crusted Braised Beef Brisket. Coming from Malaysian background, rendang is very familiar to me. There are 2 types of rendang – wet and dry. To make the dry version, the curry is diligently stirred and cooked for hours until the coconut milk evaporated and the meat absorbs the spices. Whilst, in the wet version, the curry is cooked for shorter time and much of the coconut milk hasn’t evaporated. Chin Chin’s Rendang Curry has made my day! Not only was it rich in spices, the flavour was very intense and beautifully cooked.
Last to come was Caramelised Sticky Pork. My family hands were very quick when it comes to food. When the pork dish came, everyone just went for it before I had the chance to shoot. That sweet caramelisation around the crispy edges of the pork and the layers of pork meat was melt-in-mouth. This dish reminded me of Red Spice Road’s Pork belly with Apple Slaw which was simple to create at home and equally as delicious. Check out the recipe here
Palm Sugar Ice-cream Sundae with Honeycomb and Lime Syrup $15
Of course, you can’t complete a dinner without dessert, right? This Palm Sugar Ice-cream Sundae is not just a sweet dessert – each layer in the dessert cup unleash a certain flavour that will surely surprise your taste buds! The perfect ending to a perfect dinner.
If you are mad about Chin Chin like me, don’t forget to buy Chin Chin, the Book with recipes from Benjamin Cooper. I have tried some of the recipes at home and they are perfect for home cooks like you and me. Check some of the tried & tested recipes here – Lime Icy Poles, Chilli Salt Chicken Wings with Bandit Sauce, Chicken Dumplings with Vinegar Dressing, Spicy Corn & Coriander Fritters and Seared Scallops with sweet Fish Sauce .
Verdict : Need I say more? Chin Chin is one of the most-raved about restaurant. To sum it all up, I absolutely love love love Chin Chin – for bringing us a great mix of classic & modern Thai, Asian flavours. If you’ve not been there, you’ve haven’t tasted Melbourne yet.
To die for : Kingfish Sashimi, Rendang Curry of Spice Crusted Braised Beef Brisket
Price : $$$
Yummy Factor : +4
Noise Level : High
Tip : To avoid the queue, be at Chin Chin’s front door at 11am
125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Victoria
P: 03 8663 2000
Mon-Sun: Lunch, Dinner & Late
You may also like : Red Spice Road