I recently celebrated my 14 year wedding anniversary. To celebrate I headed into the city with my husband (I am thinking of trademarking that….. a noun to describe the man I am married to beside “other half” “himself” “MOTH”. I’ll let you know how I get on.) We in turn went to Chin Chin and ate dinner with two complete strangers (125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne).
Excuse me, how rude am I? They are not strangers, one of them was a backpacker out visiting Australia from Spain and the other was a young man who grew up in Melbourne with his sister before she moved to the Country, got divorced and then hooked up with the before mentioned back packer. I don’t know their names or anything because we were never formally introduced but we sat SO CLOSE TO EACH OTHER in the restaurant that I heard every word they uttered. If I were being precise (don’t worry I won’t make a habit of it) I would say that the young spanish gentleman was sitting closer to my husband than I was. At one stage they even offered to share their food with us. Wish I was brave enough to have pretended I did not realise he was joking…..
This is my prevailing memory of Chin Chin. Dinner with three dudes.
Now let me get to the food.
It was delicious, as befits the restaurant’s “hot as right now” status. Chin Chin’s has been hot right now for a while and I am desperately hoping that someone else will come along and steal their thunder so maybe they can concentrate on other things like separating their tables appropriately. How about Dutch food Melbourne? A restaurant in the shape of a clog in the forecourt at Fed Square. Croquette’s anyone? Lasagne with peaches in it? Oliebollen?
Hang on, shame on me for joking, Olibollen are actually delicious. Try them!
In the moments where my mouth could concentrate, I thoroughly enjoyed the corn and zucchini fritters with chilli jam. My husband ordered the Massaman curry because he always does. It was almost perfect. The meat was pre roasted and sticky and melty all at once. The onion and potatoes were also pre roasted and then they had gone all gooey in the massaman sauce. It was sweet and rich and probably had enough saturated fat in it to keep a whole family of walrus’ warm through winter. As always I benefited from his lack of interest in the health properties of a meal when ordering. I also ordered the Chin Chin pork roll ups ($18) and a chicken/ coconut salad. It was all very tasty and the highlight would be those fritters. Service was rushed and all of our food was brought out at once. I assume the line snaking out the door had something to do with this.
I really wanted to love Chin Chin’s and I thought I would. I had been turned back from the door before because the line was too long, I mean what is not to love about that level of popularity. All the cool kids seem to love it, the bloggers have gone mad for it. But frankly, it gave me the irrits.
I have been to LOTS of restaurants where it is all about the food and I am happy to ignore the decor and service (nearly every single dumpling house for instance). This was not one of them, nor were the prices reflective of this style of dining. This restaurant was reported to have ambience, je ne sais quois, X factor etc etc. But all I got from it was delicious food and a head ache.
Here’s a photo to distract us from my grumpiness (and I’m not even that old…..)
By the way, I think backpacker-guy (BG) and grew-up-in-the-city-but-sister-moved-to-the-country-guy(GUITCBSMTTCG) had a nice dinner. BG seemed to pass all the tests set for him by GUITCBSMTTCG (that is definitely too long). They enjoyed their meal.
It was just a pity that considering their proximity, I was not brave enough to sample their food. Maybe next time.