When it comes to Chin Chin, you can never just decide to go there for a meal at the very last minute. Chances are you will never be able to get a seat. To make things worse, they don't accept reservations unless it's for a table of 10-12 people. So it really is a challenge to get seats at later timings and you really just have to try your luck and be early so you can hopefully get seats in the restaurant. I guess that's what you have to put up with for wanting to dine at one of the hottest place in Melbourne at the moment.
A while back, the first time we walked in was on a Saturday evening and as expected, they were fully booked. The second time, we thought maybe on a weekday night, it may not be as crowded and we may get a seat. Unfortunately, we were on the waiting list and had to wait for about 1hr 45mins. For the third time, we were planning to have yum cha on a Sunday afternoon when we drove past Chin Chin and decided to try once again since it was early. They had just opened for their lunch session and FINALLY we were able to get seats!! Woohoo! You can never imagine how glad we were.
The interior of the restaurant has a trendy industrial look to it and I kind of like the vibe of the place. The restaurant had only just opened and seats were already starting to fill up. Thank goodness we were early.
I always like the idea of having the menu printed on a big piece of paper so it acts as a "placemat" as well! It just saves you the trouble of sharing menus or asking for the menu again when you want to order more stuff and it leaves less mess on the table.
The food served at Chin Chin is mostly Thai fusion cuisine and the idea is to order a variety of dishes to share. The menu consists of so many mouth-watering dishes so it will be good to go with more people so you can try more dishes! There were 5 of us on that day and so we went with 5 dishes to share.
I just have to say that it was absolutely amazing!! This dish was one of everyone's favourite for the day and if you have no idea what to order, I will recommend that you try this dish. The dressing was the star of the dish. I love the sourness, the creaminess and the spiciness of it and all of these elements just blended so well together. They really complemented the kingfish sashimi and I would say that it definitely is a good entree to keep your appetites going for the rest of the meal!
The second dish we had was the Chin Chin pork "roll ups" which was red braised suckling pig with thin crepe-like skins, salad and a dressing.
Chin Chin Pork "Roll Ups"
This dish reminded me of the chinese peking duck dish only that it was pork instead of the duck. The pork was shredded into pieces so it was easier to chew and overall it was not bad a dish but I wouldn't say that it was my favourite dish of the day.
Next, we chose a dish that was recommended from one of my friends as he came here before previously and it's the caramelised sticky pork which came with siamese water cress and chilli vinegar.
Caramelised Sticky Pork
This dish was really not bad. Firstly, the name already does sound good and the dish does it's name justice. The dressing on the pork is a little sweet and sticky and it does remind of me of the dressing on barbecued buffalo wings or ribs. But I do have to say that the pork was little tough though and it would be perfect if the meat was a little more tender. I also do like the fact that almost every one of the their meat dishes are paired with salad or veggies. It makes me feel less guilty of indulging and makes me feel like I'm eating a balanced meal haha!
Next, we decided to order a veggie dish because we felt like we were having too much meat and partly because we ordered rice and we needed something to go with it as well. So we ordered a steamed gai laan with sesame seeds, oyster sauce and ginger.
Steamed Gai Laan
Looking at the dish, we thought it was going to a really simple and blend dish. Coming from an asian background, I had my fair share of gai laan and the way some were cooked were really blend and tasteless. But surprisingly, this dish wasn't blend at all and the dressing was pretty good. The gai laan also was of the right texture, not too hard or too soft. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise for all of us. Didn't know veggies can taste just as good by itself! - words from a meat lover haha.
For the final dish, we decided to choose a curry to go with the rice and after much deliberation, we chose the massaman curry with coconut braised beef brisket and pink fur apple potatoes. (Apparently, a few of them didn't read the description clearly and thought there were apples in the curry lol!)
Massaman Curry of Coconut Braised Beef Brisket
We chose this curry as all of us have heard of massaman curry but had never tried it before. And I just have to say that this is hands down, my absolute favourite dish of the day!! I have never tried any other massaman curry before so I can't really compare but this is really good. The curry is not very spicy at all but has a sweetness to it and the wonderful variety of textures from the creamy curry to the tender beef brisket, the soft potatoes and the crispiness of the shallots is just perfect. This is one of everyone's favourite as well so I highly recommend this dish if you do not know what to order!
Overall, I will say that we really enjoyed our meal at Chin Chin's and not only was the food good but the service was generally good as well. I guess that's why it's always so crowded and so difficult to get a seat if you are not early. I will definitely come back for more and hopefully I'll be able to make it in the next time!