No pork for you!

Chin Chin

125 Flinders Lane, CBD

Chin Chin

He says:
Marg and I had been planning on hitting up Chin Chin for a while, and it was with great sadness that I found this article from The Age during my mid Friday morning procrastination. A review in The Age is great for the budding restaurateur, but bad if you’re a diner trying to get a table. The solution to this unexpected proverbial spanner? Getting to dinner early: Saturday 5:45pm early.

Unfortunately, 5:45pm was apparently not early enough to snag a table at Chin Chin. After waiting awkwardly at the bar for 30 minutes, we were seated at our table. The service was attentive, and informative (the Wine Guy in particular), which was surprising because the place was frantic by this point. They almost needed a bouncer at the door, there were that many people trying to get in. Not to mention the people at the bar shooting death stares to the diners occupying tables.

The food was impressive enough to justify the hype and the crowd. Of the dishes we had, the duck was the standout. It was well presented, tender, and not outrageously priced; there was more than enough for the five of us. I also really liked the pork rollup, but you’d want to get one between two.

The only real disappointment with Chin Chin was the number of menu items that weren’t available. We weren’t able to order the Roti, the Caramelised Pork (so sad) or the Banana Fritter due to supply issues. I can understand that they’ve had to deal with a huge surge in demand, but running out of signature items on a Saturday night is awkward for everyone.

Regardless of the lack of Pork, I loved Chin Chin. Once you’re at a table, the food is great and the service is attentive. Just be prepared to wait for it.

The bar

She says:
On Saturday Gerard and I headed to Chin Chin with our friends the Prominent Eurasian, Strawberry Fields and Colin Hill. Chin Chin has been getting a lot of buzz since it opened a few months ago and has almost been written up to death so there’s probably not a lot that I can add in terms of talking about atmosphere and fit out, although I do want to mention that I really like the oversize poster style pictures wallpapering the building. The restaurant itself is big and hectic. When we went it was absolutely packed and there were staff running all over the place.

Even though it was full, the service was still pretty good. What wasn’t so good was the restaurant’s pre planning. As Gerard mentioned when we were ordering we were told that not one, not two but three of the things we wanted were sold out (the caramelised pork, roti and banana fritters). I was a little surprised that so many things were sold out at 6pm. They were definitely busy, but I was pretty darn disappointed about the pork. I’d really been looking forward to that. On the plus side our waiter re-appeared about half way through our meal with surprise bowls of roti which had been sourced from somewhere after we ordered.

Despite the madness and the wait I enjoyed Chin Chin and would definitely go again. Worth a half hour wait, maybe not worth the hour and a half wait that the people behind us in the line were told to expect.

But now, to the important details… the food!

Chin Chin uptown

We ate:
We ordered a bunch of dishes to share. None of them were the caramelised pork. That made me very sad. Almost so sad that I didn’t want to eat, then I saw the food we did get and realised it looked delicious. It wasn’t caramelised pork though.

We started with the spicy eggnet omelette w/ spanner crab & chilli jam ($12 for 2). The crab was good and they were definitely tasty but they didn’t really live up to the ‘spicy’ title.

Spicy eggnet omelettes

We also had the chin chin pork roll ups (suckling pig with pancakes, slaw and sour herbs – $16). There were 4 pancakes which made it a little awkward with 5 people. The pork was good and everything worked really well together.

Pork roll ups

Next up was the wok fried salt and pepper squid with nuoc cham & vietnamese mint (small serve – $14). The squid was crispy but the sauce was the highlight of this dish. Reaaaaally good.

Wok fried squid

From the ‘Green Stuff’ section of the menu we had the steamed spanner crab and chicken salad with ruby grapefruit, coconut and fragrant herbs ($23). This was the best salad I’ve had in a long time, it helped that there was a lot of crab. If it wouldn’t have completely humiliated everyone I was with (and probably me) I totally would have licked the bowl. Not just a little either.

Spanner crab salad

In terms of the ‘mains’ we started with a massaman curry of coconut braised beef brisket with pink fur apples, potatoes and crispy challots ($18). The curry was pretty tasty, definitely not spicy.

Massaman curry

We also had the crispy skinned mandarin duck ($33). People actually licked this plate. Well, not so much licked as scooped the last of the sauce up with a spoon and poured it over any other food we could find. It was easily the best dish of the night. I can only imagine what the caramelised pork would have been like.

Crispy skin duck

On the side we also had two serves of jasmine rice ($3 each) and two serves of roti ($6 each).

We ordered three desserts to share. The first was the three colour pudding (layers of sweet beans, pandan infused tapioca, caramel and coconut crushed ice – $12). This was Gerard’s favourite. The caramel part was pretty delicious.

Three layer pudding

The next dessert was the palm sugar ice cream sundae with salted honeycomb and lime jelly ($14). This was me and Strawberry Fields’ favourite dessert but Gerard wasn’t a fan, I think he found it a little too tart. I thought the balance of flavours was pretty good though. Also it had honeycomb in it.


Our last dessert was the layered jellies of coconut milk, passionfruit with slow poached pineapple with toasted coconut ($12). For someone who is a long time fan of asian desserts, this was nice, very sweet.

The final word: As the masses have proclaimed, the wait is worth it at Chin Chin. Bring a couple of friends and enjoy the dining experience.

Price range: We spent just under $40 a head on food plus drinks (at $7 a beer).

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon

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