125 Flinders Lane
+61 3 8663 2000
There are several
infamous establishments in Melbourne that have a no-booking policy. Chin Chin is one of them. I was fortunate last year to dine at Chin Chin in their early months, before the sudden explosion of fame resulted in two to three hour long-waits during peak dining hours. I enjoyed my meal then and you read all about it in fakeboo’s blog.
The Angmoh has become a foodie ever since we started going out. He displayed an interest in some of the restaurants that I had dined at, which he had yet to experience, including the Double Chin. When I found out he was going to spoil me with tickets to several gigs in the Melbourne Comedy Festival, I decided to take him out to dinner.
We thought we would be clever and turn up early, hoping a table of 2 to be available at 5pm. Boy were we wrong. The restaurant was packed and we were told that there would be a 30 minute wait. We headed downstairs to the Go Go Bar for some pre-dinner drinks. Interestingly, the bar menu is prepared by the kitchen of Chin Chin. 15 minutes in, we were informed (via SMS) our table was ready. It was a delightful surprise and we quickly shuffled back up.
The memory of Chin Chin and its lovely décor kept true. I love everything about it: vintage Thai posters on one end, a snazzy white-tiled benchtop for elevated dining, the neon pink outline of a rabbit on a large shiny mirror and of course, the tall windows stretching across an entire wall.
The menu had grown slightly in the past year. It has a shared-plate concept and we decided to have a salad, two meat dishes and an entrée.
I had heard many good things about son-in-law eggs, but had yet to try them. This problem was immediately rectified as soon as our dish came. Oh Lordy Lord, where have I been! They were delicious! The yolks were a congealed gooey mess, oozing out of solid yet soft whites. The egginess matched well with the chilli jam, and the bites of basil and chilli made everything even tastier. I was elated when The Angmoh declined splitting the last egg. Ho Ho Ho, more for me! I think I would very much like to see son-in-law eggs on roti as a café brunch dish one day.
The papaya salad was fresh and zingy, with a slight kick of heat. However, I thought it didn’t have the Thai quadrants of sweet, salty, sour and spicy balanced out. We found 2 whole birds’ eye chillies, and dared each other to eat the chilli raw. The waitress saw what we were up to and warned us against it. She was definitely onto something: 10 seconds into chewing and swallowing the chilli, seeds and all, my eyes started tearing and my mouth burst into flame. No amount of ice seemed to help put out the heat, and I was on the verge of asking for some Thai milk tea. The Angmoh, on the other hand, handled the chilli like a boss. After a long tortuous while, it became slightly more bearable and back onto dinner we resumed.
The sticky pork was “unreal”, as described by The Angmoh. The meat was fall-apart tender, filled with delicious porkiness, and the skin was crisp with the slightest hint of melting fat. I loved the herbs that came with it; it cut through the rich unctuous pork and sweet vinegary dressing and gave the dish a fantastic balance.
The barbequed goat turned out to be different from our expectations. I was thinking we would be getting chunks of char-grilled goat, smokey and spicy from the Indian marinade. It turned out to be more like a pulled goat dish, full of Indian flavours, but slightly on the sweet side. The lemon and raita was much needed to balance out the sugar. The Angmoh wasn’t a fan of the mint, but I felt it was needed to cut through the rich sweetness of the meat.
Our meal at Chin Chin was extremely enjoyable. The Angmoh has his eye on some of the other dishes on the menu and is keen to return. We would definitely have to do either rock up when it’s just opening or have a mid-arvo meal because when we left (at 6.30pm), the waiting time had become 3hours!