Chin Chin

I’ve joined the hordes of people worshipping at the temple of Chin Chin.  Rumours of the seriously good Asian food being served up at Chin Chin had reached me while I was still living in London.  Then came the reports of up to three hour waits to get tables and friends who tried to go for lunch were told to come back at 3.30 in the afternoon.  All of a sudden I was not quite so enthusiastic about joining the Chin Chin cult.

The beautifully designed mosaic tiled bar at Chin Chin

The secret it turns out, is to head to Chin Chin this week.  Everyone in Australia is still at the beach or on summer holidays so my friend Claire and I just walked right in for a table at Chin Chin without a care in the world.  Once in, we liked what we saw.  The warehouse style space on Flinders Lane is a perfect inner city playground.

Spicy and slow cooked BBQ goat

A huge mosaic tiled bar lines one side of the room while chefs do their thing in a partly open kitchen.   Huge pink neon bunny ears hang on one wall and bright blue metal stools add pops of colour.  The whole restaurant has been designed to within an inch of its life and I could not help but love it.

Lychee cocktail

Claire and I tucked into cocktails including a brilliant lychee concoction which included a huge ball of iced rose petals that slowly melted into the alcohol while we checked out the menu which also doubled as a placemat.  The food is best described as “Asian fusion” even though in some circles that is a dirty phrase.  It jumps around the continent from dumplings to Thai style curries to a porky take on peking duck rolls.

Kingfish sashimi – check out the beautiful crockery at Chin Chin as well

Whether you waltz in to Chin Chin this week or queue for hours next week, here’s what I’d order.  The Kingfish sashimi ($16) with thick slices of fish almost translucent and dripping with the acidity of lime juice and the punch of a chilli dressing.   Crunchy deep fried corn and coriander fritters ($12) wrapped in an iceberg lettuce leaf and lathered with chilli jam, essentially the culinary equivalent of crack cocaine.

Corn and coriander fritters

You also can’t miss the wild Barramundi salad ($26) with its textural contrast between the crispy deep fried fish, sticky sweet cubes of caramalised pork and the slithers of green apple.

Wild Barramundi salad

Here’s what I’d skip.  The pork roll ups ($18) are fun because you construct them yourself but they were timid in comparison to the other dishes we tried.  Similarly while the BBQ goat ($28) was slow cooked and spicy, the dish was pleasant rather than possessing.

Pork roll ups

The wine list at Chin Chin sits comfortably beside the spotlight hogging food.  It is a proudly parochial  all Australian affair and we loved the crisp and dry Pachamama riesling ($39).

Chin Chin’s famous neon bunny ears

Yes, I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid and am now already planning my next pilgrimage to that culinary temple called Chin Chin.

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Update – July 2012
I went for dinner at Chin Chin on a Saturday night with friends which meant a two hour wait for a table.  We didn’t mind as we waited with cocktails at Go Go bar, but bear that time frame in mind if you don’t like queuing.  The “Feed Me” menu was brilliant although Chin Chin’s duck liver and chilli dish almost burned our throats with some seriously spicy flavours.

Details: Chin Chin, 125 Flinders Lane  Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia (Ph: +61 (3) 8663 2000)  Open 7 days, lunch until late.
Damage: Pricey.  Our bill came to $173 for two with drinks.

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon


  1. I wish I had gone here on my last trip. It was suggested to me but things got in the way. The food looks superb and I really enjoyed Pearl too 🙂

  2. Chalk another one up on the list for the next trip to Melbourne.

  3. I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews (aside from the queues and the dreaded no bookings policy) and TPG is a big fan – you’re all making me very jealous. Why have I not been yet?

  4. Oh WHY is this on the other side of the planet? Looks ace, I can see why there are queues. And I want one of those neon rabbits for my flat x

  5. Lorraine – Put it on the list for your next trip…

    Tori – I have a long list happening for Sydney as well

    Greedy Diva – I can’t believe TPG went without you – how rude!

    Katy – I want the neon rabbit as well, so cool.

  6. So want to go, this place looks fab. And I ♥ the rose petal ice cube, so cute!

  7. […] to be “catchy”).  Besides the prime Flinders Lane location (right next door to Chin Chin) Woody P has a top team involved in particular Clinton Camilleri, Healesville Hotel’s […]

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