VIC, Melbourne – Chin Chin

Cuisine: Asian
Location: VIC, Melbourne CBD

My former work mate mentioned that Chin Chin Restaurant is hugely popular with large queues and long wait times. By the time I got out of the MCG and made my way to Federation Square I thought it best to try my luck. There were a handful of small groups waiting outside. A couple entered just before me and were told they would have a 3 hr wait from the people who already pre-listed. She suggested they come for lunch instead. That didn’t bode well so when my turn came I asked for a table for one and got taken straight through. Bonus! Always going on your own seems the best bet as I snagged a spot at the bar.

The place was jam packed with staff rushing about. Watching the kitchen, the bar staff preparing drinks at a breakneck speed, waiters busily ferrying food here and there, this place was certainly popular. They also had a projector displaying music videos on the nearby outside wall. I’ve never seen this but provides a visual aspect to the catchy music playing in the background.

The menu is rather overwhelming. There’s a huge range of dishes to choose from, maybe a bit too many, but then after you eat the food here, you’ll want to come back to try every single dish on the menu. If you’re too stuck for choice, you could just get the “Just feed me” for $66 where a surprise range of dishes will be wheeled out. Or, the friendly bar staff can give you some recommendations of dishes to try. The menu is more sharing, but you can easily eat for one. There’s different sections in the menu so you can have several small entrees, or a mains, or a slightly bigger mains, or order sides, or… well just order randomly!

Miang – Betel leaf of braised lamb neck with smoked eggplant & mint relish $12

Chin Chin - Miang

Chin Chin – Miang

A pretty small entrée but after you have this, you’ll want more. Effectively, they’re two bites, spoon the contents of the leaf and eat. Then be treated to an explosion of flavours. Sweet, sour, acidity, and then the delicious flavour of the tender protein. It’s so delicious and the flavours are perfectly balanced. Then it’s on to the next leaf to enjoy.

Rendang curry of spice crusted braised beef brisket with chilli oil $24

Chin Chin - Beef Rendang

Chin Chin – Beef Rendang

Wow, could this be any more flavour packed? Such delicious array of spices carefully concocted to produce a curry full of flavour in the pile of very very tender meat. It just pulls apart in strands and is best enjoyed with the steamed white rice that comes with the curry. It’s a little too intense to eat on it’s own and the spice kick, some of it chilli, is a little too much to bear without the steamed rice. A bit too much for one person but I enjoyed every bit of it. Easily the best rendang I’ve eaten. I can see why this place is hugely popular.

Coconut sago with sweet corn ice cream, praline and puffed wild rice $13

Chin Chin - Coconut Sago & Sweet Corn Ice Cream

Chin Chin – Coconut Sago & Sweet Corn Ice Cream

Somehow, I still had room for dessert even though I couldn’t finish all the curry – really a pile of meat. In that regard they’re very generous with the curry because there’s all flesh on the plate. The first spoonful was just delightful. Slightly creamy, lovely freshness, a flavour of coconut, crunch from the wild rice, what else can I say but just a fantastic finish to dinner. I enjoyed each bite and loved the soft textures against the crunch, the soft sago, every morsel.


Chin Chin Food Review Summary

Verdict: I was fortunate to grab a seat at the hugely popular and very busy Chin Chin. There’s large queues and long wait times to try the various dishes on the extensive menu. The place is buzzing and there’s lots of very busy staff where ever you look. I loved my small entrée of Miang which just had delicious flavours in the two mouthfuls. Excellent balance of Asian flavours – sweet, sour, acidity. The beef rending was extremely tender, generous, and absolutely flavour packed. The spice mix just oozed flavour, carried intensity and a slight chilli kick, but was best enjoyed with the steamed rice. The dessert was just fantastic. Soft, creamy, fresh, crunch. A great balance of flavours. After eating these meals you know the chefs have clearly got some skill in delivering perfectly executed flavours. I’m impressed.
Price: Reasonable
Taste: Delicious
Value: Excellent
Recommendation: Highly Recommend


Chin Chin Restaurant Details
Chin Chin on Urbanspoon

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VIC, Melbourne - Chin Chin, reviewed by Shaun on 2014-04-25T22:50:57+00:00 rating 4.9 out of 5