I don’t think many people living in Melbourne haven’t heard of Chin Chin, but being new here, I was still yet to try it and so a fellow foodie and I went to check it out. Down Flinders Lane, with it’s many great eateries, Chin Chin was packed, even when we arrived at 5pm. Luckily we timed it well and managed to get one of the last available tables (before our first dish was served there was a queue out the door).
The interior of Chin Chin is funky, and being so busy it’s loud, chaotic and very lively. It’s just about bearable to talk, but with the tables so close together and the constant bustle, it’s not the place for a chilled out catch up. Despite a slight mix up with our order at that start, service was pretty good. I was really pleased with the excellent care they took with my dietary requirements: they listened exactly to my instructions about this, and they were so flexible – which given how busy they were, and the fact they served us 10 dishes this was impressive. However, we did ask for the food to be mild for my fellow foodie – and if that was mild Chin Chin, I wouldn’t like to see spicy! I eat a lot of spicy food, and the salad blew my head off. I could have understood if this had been a more complex dish, but come on guys, just toss it in a milder dressing. At times our table got a little too full of food, and I wish they had balanced this better, allowing us to finish a few dishes before constantly bringing out more, but I do get that it was busy and this was difficult to do.
Now before I continue on to the food here, I do know I’m maybe being a little picky, but if you are repeatedly told somewhere is the best eating place in Melbourne, AND had we arrived 10 minutes later, we would have had to wait up to an hour for a table, I think the bar gets set a little higher than it would be for most.
The feed me menu was good value for price, and I did feel that they made a good effort to offer us a variety of dishes. I’ll try and cover each dish we tried, but my overall feeling was, while everything was nice, nothing wowed me. Out of 10 dishes, I was expecting to try something and think “Wow, this is the best I’ve ever had” and sadly, it just didn’t happen.
- Kingfish sashimi (above): This was enjoyable. The Kingfish was good quality and I liked the dressing.
- Chilli Salt Chicken Wings (feature photo): These were the highlight of the night for me. Juicy, loads of flavour and a great crisp to the coating. Very nicely done (but still not the best chicken wings I’ve ever had, by a long way).
- BBQ Ocean Trout Salad (I think – disclaimer: I’m guessing from reading the menu, I actually didn’t hear what it was): This was enjoyable, and had I ordered this as a main I would have been happy. The trout was soft and enjoyable, but the dressing was much too spicy for what we had asked for, and it ruined the beautiful trout flavour. It also overwhelmed the other dishes served alongside it. A good dish, but just an unsuitable choice for a feed me menu.
- Neither of us can remember what dish four was – I think that speaks for itself…
- Butter chicken (above) – This was enjoyable, the chicken was nice, and the sauce had a good flavour.
- Stir fried green beans – I really enjoyed these. I liked the little hit of chilli flavour, that made them exciting to eat and the addition of the cashews gave it a lovely, interesting texture.
- Rice – not much to say, it was rice.
- Roti – this was fine, but I am totally perplexed why people rave about it. I’m not sure if my bar for this is a little high, as we have such great Indian food back in the UK, but my friend’s mum’s cooking (she’s not a chef), would blow this out of the water!
- The dessert was Palm sugar Ice cream Sundae with salted honeycomb and lime syrup. This was yum, the honey comb was really great, but pretty awkward for two of us to share. I would happily have paid a few extra dollars for a dessert each. Just getting one between us, especially the kind of dessert it was, made it pretty awkward to eat.
Overall, it was an enjoyable meal (and lovely company). I like how loud and crazy Chin Chin is, it’s a great atmosphere, but I was just expected so so much more from such a well renowned and highly rated restaurant.