Dining Out: Chin Chin, Melbourne

by April@MyFoodTrail on July 12, 2011

in Dining Out, Melbourne, Modern Thai

Chin Chin
125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
(03) 8663 2000
Cuisine: Modern Thai
Prices: $9 for crunchy school prawns to $34 for Moreton Bay bugs

Outside Chin Chin

Down Flinders Lane

Hi all, it’s Hubby here making my restaurant review debut (I have previously made a cameo recipe post a while ago).

Recently, April has lost her blogging “mojo”. I put it down to a combination of recovering from jaw surgery, being too busy and me nagging her to spend more time with me rather than tapping away on the keyboard (sorry guys!). So being the loving, supportive husband I am, I’ve decided to help her clear the backlog of restaurant reviews.

According to April, Chin Chin has been all the rave of late on twitter/in the blogosphere/word of mouth, so we decided to try it out to see what all the fuss was about. We were working to a strict curfew of finishing dinner by 7pm or shortly after, so I could watch my beloved football team (the tragically hopeless Adelaide Crows – who actually won that night, to break a 6 match losing streak – onya boys!).

We had arranged to meet at the restaurant before 6pm to secure a table as they do not take bookings. I arrived first and was somewhat surprised that at 5.45pm, I had only just managed to secure one of the few (non-share) tables left. I was seated and had my drink order taken swiftly – I chose to start the evening with a “Ranga Red Ale” ($8.00) while I waited for April to arrive. Not a bad drop for a cold wintry night, and an aptly named brew might I add!

The atmosphere was already buzzing, with all of the non-shared tables now full and many of the shared tables filling up on the perimeter of the room. The décor certainly fits the bill for one of the hottest restaurants at the minute, with retro-looking asian posters covering most of the exposed brick walls. The wait staff looked bubbly, efficient, and decidedly hipster-ish.

Inside Chin Chin

Posters on the wall

Shortly after, April arrived and it was straight down to business. She had already done her homework on which dishes were “must haves”, although we considered a few different and interesting dishes like stir-fried wild boar and goat curry. In the end, we decided to play it safe and ordered the dishes she had heard good things about.

The first entrée to arrive was the Spicy Eggnet Omelette Rolls with Spanner Crab & Chilli Jam. The two rolls of thin egg net omelette were filled with a salad of shredded crab and what I thought was shredded coconut and papaya. I love coconut and its fibrous texture, and it was a perfect match for the delicate spanner crab. The Chilli Jam added flavour and punch to make a pretty damn good dish. I’d definitely order this again.

Spicy eggnet omelette roll

Spicy Eggnet Omelette Rolls with Spanner Crab & Chilli Jam (2) $12

Next came the Grilled Roti Madtarbak filled with Indian Spiced Beef & Cucumber Relish. Murtabak (as I know it to be spelt in Malaysia/Singapore) is one of my favourite dishes, so I was interested to see what this modern rendition was like. Four small, flat pieces of perfectly crisp, but not oily roti were filled with a deliciously spiced beef curry. The cucumber relish really took the dish to another level though – it was sweet, tangy and had the freshness and crunch of the cucumber. This dish was a winner, my only complaint was the serve was a bit small.

Grilled roti madtarbak

Grilled Roti Madtarbak filled with Indian Spiced Beef & Cucumber Relish $12

The first main to arrive was the Green Curry of Rockling, Eggplant, Snake Beans & Thai Basil. The curry was very fragrant and had quite a kick for a green curry. The Thai Basil added a nice sweetness to the dish (perhaps a little too much for my liking) as well. We had two gripes though: we only counted 6 small chunks of fish, and the eggplant is actually eggplant seeds which look like large peas, but are crunchy and “pop” in your mouth with an explosion of a flavour I can only describe as unpleasant. There was also baby corn in the curry which wasn’t mentioned on the menu.

Green curry

Green Curry of Rockling, Eggplant, Snake Beans & Thai Basil $16

We ordered a second curry dish, Massaman Curry of Coconut Braised Beef Brisket with Pink Fur Apple Potatoes & Crispy Shallots. As with the green curry, this was served with a bowl of rice. I had high hopes for this dish as I am a fan of slow cooked secondary cuts, however I was disappointed that the brisket was dry and a little on the tough side. There was a decent amount of meat and the curry was what you’d expect of a Massaman – a little on the sweet side with lovely fried shallots sprinkled on top. The curry was very oily though and even after scooping away most of the oil from top of the dish, when we finished there was still a pool of oil at the bottom.

Massaman curry

Massaman Curry of Coconut Braised Beef Brisket w. Pink Fur Apple Potatoes & Crispy Shallots $18

We ordered the Son in law eggs with Chilli Jam as a side dish to accompany our mains, as we’d seen Dani (OMG, like, how annoying is she?) from MasterChef cook it, and had eaten it at Gingerboy recently. The eggs were nicely deep fried but I like the yolk to be runny and ooze out, which these didn’t. They were soft though. I also thought the chilli jam and overall flavour wasn’t as punchy or memorable as Gingerboy’s ones.

Son in law eggs

Son in law eggs with Chilli Jam $8

We also ordered a serve of Chin Chin’s in house roti Bread to go with the curries. The roti was disappointing – rubbery and soft rather than flakey and crispy, and reminded me a little of the kind you can buy from the Asian grocer.

Roti bread

Chin Chin’s in house Roti Bread $8

To wash it down, we had a carafe of the house Pinot Gris which was good value at $18 for 500ml. While it was a little on the sweet side, it was a great match for the spicy dishes.

Overall, we were really impressed by the entrees, however a little disappointed with the rest. We probably shouldn’t have ordered two curries as they were very rich. While the atmosphere was great (if not a little too noisy after 6.30pm, we had to almost yell to hear each other) and the wait staff were quite attentive, helpful and friendly, I wouldn’t say the meal lived up to my expectations. Perhaps if we had ordered the boar and the goat it may have been a different story? Maybe next time, but there are so many other places to try first…

Written by Hubby

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Iron Chef Shellie July 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm

LOL!! too good of your hubby to help April clear the back log!

I don't think any amount of bribery will get Hamsley to blog for me 😛

I really wanna go to Chin Chin!


Yasmeen July 12, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Great post, Hubby. LOL 🙂

I've heard so much about this place. I need to get myself in gear and just GO! The food looks sensational.


Agnes July 12, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Hah, well done to Hubby! Maybe he'll be taking over the food blog from now on? 😉


msihua July 12, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Well done *clap clap* to hubby! He had to put in the Crows somehow didn't he?

You are learning well on using hubby my young padawan 😛


CC11 July 12, 2011 at 4:35 pm

That's the thing with Melbourne, there are so many places to try that unless a place is fantastic you probably won't return


Cherrie Pie July 12, 2011 at 9:42 pm

great post Mr Food Trail. Maybe you should start yr own blog so you and April can be tapping the keyboard together… the couple that blogs together, stays together. LOL

By the way, I haven't been to Chin chin yet but there are dishes that I want to try, like that goat curry


imasugarjunkie July 13, 2011 at 10:16 am

Great work Mr hubby! 🙂

Ive been hearing so much about this place, but I think i will wait till all the fuss dies down before I give it a try!


food, glorious food July 13, 2011 at 5:43 pm

I must be the only person in Melbourne who hasn't been to Chin Chin yet – although based on this review…perhaps I should just wait for the 'hype' to dine down. I've heard mixed reviews…

….btw….if we're talking Son in Law Eggs – I can't go past Gingerboy….best son in law eggs I've ever tried.


mademoiselle délicieuse July 13, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Hooray for guest-blogging by Hubby! Perhaps it can become a regular feature?


penny aka jeroxie July 13, 2011 at 11:25 pm

nice one the hubby! we were not impressed with the curry as well. heading down again this friday. 😛


Diamond July 16, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Nice written by hubby
I`ve heard a lot about your place.
But I am just feeling hungry again after reading your blog .

Excellent Post!!



GourmetGetaways July 17, 2011 at 8:26 am

Good on hubby for having a go at the blogging. I wouldnt be able to get MrGG to do that job! He is the chief taster and thats it 🙂


Mr Food Trail July 18, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Thanks everyone for your comments, I quite enjoyed putting together the post. Who knows, I might be a semi-regular guest poster if April will let me!




Two fit and fun gals July 20, 2011 at 11:56 pm

gr8 photo's and luv that hubby has written a post 😀
yum luv roti!


Best Lunch in melbourne August 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Nice blog about lunch in melbourne i like it thanks for this such information


prolix August 3, 2011 at 1:36 pm

I have enjoyed reading your articles. It is well written. It looks like you spend a large amount of time and effort in writing the blog. I am appreciating your effort. .

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