Chin Chin, Melbourne CBD

I’ve been wanting to go to Chin Chin for the longest time, even though I have heard mixed reviews from people. For those of you who live in Melbourne and dine out, you’re probably aware of this super popular Asian restaurant on Flinders Lane, close to other big name eateries such as Cumulus Inc, Yu-U and not too far from Mamasita.

Even though Chin Chin doesn’t take bookings (like many popular restaurants these days), they were still very full and loud at 4pm on a Friday afternoon. Luckily we didn’t have to wait and were promptly brought to a free table and had our orders taken. The walls of the restaurant were covered in vintage looking Asian posters which went well with the rustic furniture and decor.

Not too sure that the menu really went with the Japanese characters on the back of the menu as most of the food are Thai inspired but it was a fun read while we waited for our food and drinks to arrive.

I am completely addicted to coffees at the moment, it’s so terrible. So it doesn’t matter what type of cuisine the restaurant serves, if coffee is on the menu I would usually order one and that’s what I did here. My latte wasn’t all that great unfortunately, definitely not as fragrant as cafes I’ve been to around Melbourne and it was slightly burnt. I suppose I didn’t expect much from the coffee when I ordered it.

What was a total surprise though was that a girl from the next table asked a waitress whether they could make affogatos but the waitress didn’t know what it was. For such a popular restaurant, surely someone would have asked for one before? They were told after asking the barista that affogatos can’t be made as Chin Chin doesn’t stock vanilla ice cream.

Each table was equipped with a bottle of sriracha chilli sauce, although I didn’t think it was necessary. Most of the dishes we ordered were quite chilli already, but if you really like your heat then that colourful bottle is your friend.

We were told the dishes are designed to be shared and portions are not all that big. The waitress recommended us to order 3-4 dishes between the 2 of us and so that’s what we did. The first dish was the Crying Tiger – chargrilled Moodarra wagyu with a chilli tamarind dressing, ground roast rice, fried glass noodles & holy basil for $29. It was from the barbecue section. Yuye and I bought thought it was a bit too chilli and a bit on the sour side. Other than that it was a very tasty dish full of good Thai flavours and the beef was tender and cooked well.

The second dish was the crispy skinned duck, pickled cucumber & ginger salad with sesame salt and fresh lemon for $33. It was a very surprisingly large dish with a whole uncut quarter of duck.

What I didn’t like about the dish was the fact that it was a bit overcooked, which made the meat not as juicy. What I also didn’t like was the big pile of cucumber which were piled on top of the ‘crispy’ skin. As you can imagine where the cucumber touched the skin, it became not as crispy. As the duck was fairly large, I also found it a bit under-seasoned, even with the sesame salt (I found the sesame salt wasn’t all that salty). However, it was quite a fun dish to eat as Yuye and I tore through the huge piece of duck meat.

We ordered a side dish of ‘son in law’ eggs with chilli jam for $8. This dish is meant to be flash fried after boiling. Although they can be served whole or cut open, I’d always prefer to cut my own egg and see the yolk ooze out. Chin Chin cut their eggs beforehand and the yolk was gooey but not runny so I was slightly disappointed with that, however it was very well seasoned and tasted delicious.

If we had stopped ordering at this stage, our bellies would have been satisfied, but as it turned out, we had over ordered. What the waitress meant was probably to order 3-4 dishes but some of them should be entrees instead of ordering 3 whole mains. Anyway, the last dish that arrived on the table was the green curry of grilled chicken with salted duck eggs, pea eggplant, kaffir lime leaves and Thai basil for $25. This dish also came with a bowl of rice to soak up the sauce.

It was a beautiful curry that was well seasoned and about the right chilliness, although Yuye wasn’t too happy that he accidentally chewed on a huge piece of salted duck egg. If you’ve never tried salted duck eggs before, it’s quite salty, especially the egg white. It would have been better if these egg bits were cut up into smaller pieces. I liked the eggplants in the dish though as they were al dente and still had a bit of chewiness. So overall a good dish.

We did manage to finish all the dishes in the end with a bit of difficulty.

Chin Chin serves up modern Thai and Asian cuisine that is vibrant and full of flavour (with a few small downsides). The beautifully presented dishes and good ambiance might be what customers keep coming back for, although in my opinion, the food is a tad expensive. It is a different way of enjoying Thai cuisine compared to the usual small takeaway places. I do recommend steering away from their coffees as there are plenty of better coffee places nearby.

Chin Chin
Phone: (03) 8663 2000
125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon

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16 comments… add one
  • Ming @ sweetandsourfork July 15, 2012, 7:29 pm

    I recently went to Chin Chin and I have to say, you two ordered a lot of food :p All the photos look very delicious as usual, especially the grilled chicken curry, mmm!

  • love2dine July 16, 2012, 1:41 am

    chin chin restaurant… woW! i love the deco especially the 1st picture… superb!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake July 21, 2012, 7:06 pm

      I liked the decor as well! I tried playing with the settings in Lightroom with the first picture so that’s how it turned out. 🙂

  • Daisy@Nevertoosweet July 16, 2012, 8:58 am

    I’ve been meaning to go to Chin chin too 🙂 but haven’t had the time and hahaha to be quite honest the wait kind of turns me off…but then if i can go straight after work at say 4:15pm I might be able to miss the crowd hehe ~

    Great review! I love your honesty, and have heard that it is a tad expensive for the food you get and portions aren’t exactly big but have you heard of the ‘Feed Me menu’ I heard it’s $65 per head and it’s all you can eat? 🙂

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake July 21, 2012, 7:05 pm

      The wait turned me off for a while too, but if you go early like we did, you should be able to get a table in no time. I was thinking about getting the ‘feed me menu’ but we weren’t all that hungry so definitely wouldn’t be able to get the value out of it…:P

  • kitchenriffs July 16, 2012, 9:34 am

    Nice review. Even though I’ll likely never eat there (it’s rather far from home!) I always enjoy reading reviews about any restaurant, any where. One of my pet restaurant peeves is when the wait staff suggests you order more dishes than is really necessary. I’ve taken to ordering what I think I’ll want; and if I’m hungry, then ordering more. Great pictures! It looks like a fun place.

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake July 21, 2012, 7:02 pm

      Haha it is a bit far for you isn’t it. 😛 It wasn’t really their fault I think, although they didn’t specify what type of dish, they did say order 3 if you’re not too hungry and order 4 if you’re hungry…we weren’t actually all THAT hungry but we thought we’d order 4 anyway. 😛 Your plan is a good idea! Since that way the food will stay warm as well as I take photos and eat the rest of them. 😀

  • Choc Chip Uru July 16, 2012, 9:49 am

    Fantastic review my friend 😀
    Your style of writing makes me feel as if I am experiencing it with you 🙂
    They seem to have a great range and nothing wrong with overordering on occasion 😉

    Choc Chip Uru

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake July 21, 2012, 7:00 pm

      Haha thanks Uru! I know, on occasion that is. 😉 I seem to always over order so it’s a very bad thing. 😛

  • Tania @ A Perfect Pantry July 16, 2012, 11:40 am

    Great review. So much food… you must have been full by the time you walked out.

  • whaleshark July 16, 2012, 1:21 pm

    The restaurant looks very elegant and the dishes looks great. I think this is an expensive but remarkable restaurant . Thanks!

  • Carolyn Jung July 16, 2012, 2:05 pm

    The look of the place reminds me a little of Ping in Portland, Ore., which also specializes in N. Thai cuisine. It’s wonderful food. It has that same eclectic decor. Too fun!

  • choux choux August 11, 2012, 12:45 pm

    The first (and only) time I went was at like… 10pm so nautrally there was no wait! I thought the food was pretty delicious and since I wasn’t paying, it made everything taste better hehe. I can’t remember what we ordered but there was like a squid ink papaya and calamari salad that i adored but when I recommended it to my friends, they hated it! Oops. My friend did the “degustation” once and it was a full blown feast! I suppose that’s value for you! I really want to go back and try everything else, especially the desserts! I hear their palm sugar ice cream is to die for 🙂


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