Let me start with a random-ish diversion. Instead of wondering how the restaurant name came about, instead, the name Chin Chin just makes me think of this Club des Belugas song in which the So You Think You Can Dance contestants did the most amazing routine too. Just watch the routine, it's amazing. Then try to get the song out of your head. I bet you can't.
Anyway, Chin Chin has been one of the hottest restaurants in Melbourne for quite a while and it would seem like all of Melbourne has gone. Here is a restaurant where social media marketing has really work, and it has managed to sustain a constant stream of people wanting to go there. It's like an avalanche where once you have embedded yourself, the system has it's own momentum and other people will start tweeting/Instagramming/Facebooking for you, causing yet more people to go and do the same. I am one of those people. It took me ages to go there as I was slightly deterred by the long queues. I don't mind the no booking policy but just didn't get round to going for one reason or another.
Finally, one Sunday morning many moons ago, Agnes, Alastair, Andy and I went there for lunch. We were told by the influential and pretty I-Hua that you can snag a table on Sunday lunch without queuing if you get there right as they open. I really like sleeping in on weekends but made an exception and dragged myself there in time for opening. We indeed got a table right away. But within half an hour to an hour, the place was packed and there was a queue already. The various seating options were all filled up and the room was really buzzing. People were enjoying themselves in the industrial fitout, and sound was getting quite high.
We ordered an assortment of things to share, as you do if you're Asian. The menu also encourages sharing as the wait staff told us. We started off with the School Prawns, which were so good. Fried to crispy goodness and served with a zingy sauce. The Pork Roll Ups (think Peking Duck but with pulled pork) was quite good. The pork was elevated by the accompaniments and sauce.
The Son In Law Eggs were excellent. Crunchy outsides, soft centres and a really strong sauce with a lot of kick.
My friend Jordan recommended we order the Crispy Barramundi and Pork Salad. It was indeed a good dish, with all elements very tasty, but I found it a bit too salty. This needed a big bowl of rice to go with it.
Beef Ribs were an amazing dish. Tender and fatty, it was divine. From the larger plates, we ordered a Green Curry Chicken and a BBQ Goat dish because it sounded interesting. The curry was good but lacked some punch for me. The goat was also good in flavour and the meat very tender but way too salty for me. I could only eat a tiny bit of it before I couldn't eat any more.
By this stage, we were so full, but what the heck. I love desserts so convinced everyone to have some. We shared the Dessert Platter and the Ice Cream Sundae with Honeycomb. All the desserts were really disappointing for me. The platter had these little cakes which were not that great, some coconut jellies and caramel popcorn. Even the popcorn wasn't that good as the caramel was quite bitter. The sundae, which I had read some people really liked, was super bitter that I couldn't eat it. Maybe they burnt the same caramel? Who knows. Whatever the reason, it was not nice at all.
From all the food that we ate, I think the meal was around $50. Not too bad. Service was friendly and efficient and I think they manage the large amount of diners very well. I'd go back as there looked to be many more interesting dishes to try. I just wish a few items were a bit less salty.