Why do some restaurants work and some don’t? It might be just me but there seems to have been a lot of closures in the last year, of both old and new (and those in-between) places.
One place that is still going strong and commanding long waits for a table is Chin Chin on Flinders lane. This was my third visit to this Asian fusion mecca. I blogged my first visit, but didn’t end up blogging the second as we were at a table half in the sun and half in the shade so the photos were particularly bad. Though I can say I enjoyed the food more the second time around.
Onto my third visit, on the first night of Melbourne’s January heatwave, which saw temperatures of 40+C four days in a row.
I caught the train into the city and walked up from Flinders street station, ogling at people wearing jeans and long sleeved shirts, it made me feel hotter just looking at them.
Into Chin Chin and J was already seated at a table down the right hand side of the room. It was early so easy to get a table, but it quickly become full, busy and noisy.
The usual placemats with the menu on the back.
Looking towards the bar, and staff station.
Towards the back of the restaurant where staff were having a briefing and a tasting of that evening’s wines next to the kitchen.
I had sent a text to J requesting a cold and refreshing drink. Waiting on the table was a jug of cucumber punch.
The cucumber punch is a pimped up G&T and definitely hit the spot, in fact it went down a little too well, and we may have ordered a second jug…
Chin Chin has a great menu, with everything designed to share, and making a decision was quite hard. To start with we had the Laab Gai (stir fried spiced minced chicken, lime, and ground roasted rice served with iceberg lettuce cups).
Great fresh flavours and a good chilli kick.
Next out was the crispy barramundi and green apple salad with caramelised pork, peanuts, chilli and lemongrass.
This is not the best value for money dish on the menu but I liked it a lot better than I thought I would.
Our last savoury dish was the Jungle curry (hay braised Greenvale pork shoulder, turmeric, krachai and peanuts).
The curries come with rice and we ordered a serve of roti bread as well. This curry is hot, but I didn’t find it as hot as I thought it would be, though J was struggling a little.
When ordering any of the more spicy dishes, the waitress did check to make sure we could handle the heat, and I noticed each table was asked this so they try to make sure you don’t order something you won’t enjoy.
We finished off with a serve of the grilled roti stuffed with banana and served with condensed milk.
It may not have had chocolate in it, but I really liked this dessert.
I am finding that I like the food more at Chin Chin with each visit. This time I enjoyed the fresh and bold, but yet complimentary, flavours and really couldn’t fault anything food wise.
What I don’t like, and will never like, is the proximity of the tables to each other. Specifically the ones down the right hand side wall. There is maybe only 20 centimetres between each table and you really feel like you are dining with the people next to you. You don’t want to be discussing anything private with your dining partner as everyone can hear, and it was a bit annoying listening to the loud drunk conversation of the youths next to us.
And with the tables being so close, if the wait staff need to get in-between the tables to place a dish down or point out something on the menu then you end up being closer than necessary to their bottom halves.
And speaking of wait staff, while we had no direct issue with anyone, and the lasses that took our orders were lovely, the lads bringing out the food were struggling to figure out which table each dish belonged to. A couple of our dishes ended up on the wrong table and the mum and daughter next to us got a dish that was meant for the couple on the other side of them. Another issue with the tables being so close together, people can’t easily discern table number or location?
Price wise we were happy with what we paid for two jugs of cocktails and the food (I actually thought they must have missed a dish as it seemed too reasonable, but they didn’t!)