NOTE: ALL the photos in this post was taken by my cousin and VERY-soon-to-be hubby (but edited by me), because I accidentally deleted ALL my photos of this meal from my camera before uploading them to my computer. Bah!! Aren't they boootifuuul...? All credits for these amazing photos goes to both of them =]
I know I'm a little late to the party, but I'm glad I FINALLY got the chance to blog about Chin Chin even though this meal happened over 6 months ago (along with the butt load of other reviews still sitting in my drafts folder). It was a beautiful Saturday morning and I hadn't caught up with my cousin for so long. And neither of us had tried Chin Chin before so we were all really looking forward to it.
Okay, seriously. Who hasn't heard of this place? It's been the talk of the town on Urbanspoon and also word-of-mouth from friends for yonks. But, I must be honest. When I think of Chin Chin, I can't help but think of Ms G's in Sydney too, and vice versa. These two restaurants are soooo similar to one another in too many ways and I'll explain why another day. Another restaurant that I have yet to blog about (because it's awesome!!!).
First of all, I think the whole interior is set out really well. High ceilings, good table layout with an even better bar. The buzz of the restaurant really does bode well with its reputation of being a "hip and happening" restaurant in Melbourne's CBD.
Now, let's get on to the FOOD...
Kingfish Sashimi with Lime, Chilli, Coconut and Thai Basil -- $14
Beautiful dish. Fish was fresh and so were the strong contrasting flavours that seemed to come together in absolute harmony. Nice.
Chin Chin Pork "Roll Ups" -- $18
(red braised suckling pigs with pancakes, slaw and sour herbs)
This was really tasty. The pork had just enough of fats to give it more moisture and flavour without being too rich.
Oh and you should know that our table was pretty funny because the 3 of us had our Canon DSLRs and was crazily snapping away at everything in sight lol. That's me at the right ;p
Crispy Skinned Mandarin Duck -- $33
(braised in Master Stock with yellow bean)
Beautiful on the plate. Skin was still crisp and the meat was just alright with the wings a tad overcooked. This dish wasn't bad but neither was it "wow".
"Scud City" That's Real Hot! Jungle Curry -- $30
(with Moreton Bay Bugs, pickled garlic and ginger)
I'm sorry that we didn't have a nicer photo of this! I did have a really good one but it got lost UGH. Shame...
Anyway, this dish was a huge miss. I get that it wasn't the creamy curry but that we're normally used to but more so like a light broth with a lot of aromatics in it. Similar to the Northeastern Thai cuisine I had at House in Sydney. Still, it was only spicy but really tasteless. Bugs were so mushy, unfresh and bland as well.
The additional roti that we ordered was pretty fail too. Not heated through properly and still tough and doughy. Really...?
Palm Sugar Ice Cream Sundae -- $14
(with salted honeycomb and lime syrup)
This was amazing. The texture of the ice cream was phenomenal unlike anything I've had before. It was so smooth and creamy yet had sort of a chewy, elastic bite. And the addition of lime syrup to this dessert was pure genius.
Overall, I'm glad I finally got to give this place a go because now I know. However, there's a couple of reasons why I actually WON'T be coming back, at least not anytime soon.
First, even though we went there just as they opened for lunch and before it got busy, there was a 1.5 hour wait JUST for our first entree to arrive. Then about another 30min for the rest to come. Even though we had a great time catching up, it was seriously WTH. This was WAY too long... C'mon. And I don't think many people could afford to take more than a 2 hour lunch, honestly. Thank goodness I had fantastic company with me. Still, this was quite a huge turn off.
And though they had a few good and some okay dishes (with the dessert being most memorable), but the mains were a pretty big flop. They really are better for their entrees and dessert. Still, it's not like this place was super cheap or as affordable to make me want to come back again anyway. And I'm not some hissy diner who can't wait for a table, because I'm not. I've waited way longer than this before. I just found that this time round, it wasn't as worth the wait as compared to, say, my meal at Porteño.
I know, I know that there really are some signature dishes that I didn't get to taste but given the price and the wait and not-so-great dining experience, I think I'll pass because I don't think I'd be too keen to try them soon anyway. Let's just say I'm prolly one of the few people who's not really on the "Chin Chin-fanboy-bandwagon" for now. Sorry...?
Hope no one is too taken aback by what I'm saying here. It's just my personal opinion but I did realise later that there's a fair number of people who felt the same way about this place too. Despite everything, I really did have an AMAZING catch up with J and H (who's getting MARRIED tomorrow omg!!), so I appreciated that a lot. We had a blast just chatting away even though our food took forever to come.
So there you go. My "verdict" on Melbourne's most talked about restaurant. My meal at Ms G's (whom I regard as Chin Chin's Sydney counterpart), however, was something else. Must say that it was a lot better (food et al.). Seriously can't wait to blog about that someday, so stay tuned! Hope you're having a fantastic long Easter weekend, everybody!