I hadn’t been to Melbourne since 2009. Back then was GG and my first interstate trip together. I’d been to Hobart and Melbourne for the week for work then GG flew over on the Friday to meet me. Good memories.
So fast forward a few more years and we were making our highly anticipated return visit. The schedule was largely focused on where we would be eating along with a spot of shopping, a footy game and catching up with wonderful friends who now called Melbourne home.
We arrived at the hotel (Novotel on Collins – nice spot, big rooms and very central) around 3pm and after a short sojourn in the hotel we were off to try our luck with getting into Chin Chin. I’d secured us a map at the airport and after one wrong turn which did have me question whether I should be in charge of navigation we made it to Flinders Lane. Looking up and down it it didn’t seem overly busy but when we found Chin Chin and pushed open the door we saw where the crowd had been hiding. The place was pumping! A table left just as we arrived so we only had to wait a few moments and were shown to our seats. We were presented with a fairly extensive menu but I didn’t feel too daunted because I had pencilled in the Feed Me menu for GG and I. As our friendly waitress explained for $66 you would get a selection of six of so dishes along with dessert. It meant we didn’t have to choose anything except our drinks, so that worked for us.
We were in Melbourne for a long weekend so kicked things off with a glass of fizz. Cheers to us!
The first dish was kingfish sashimi and it was just sensational. Lively, vibrant flavours that literally kickstarted your taste buds into action. The kingfish was so fresh and the thin slices just melted in your mouth along with the zesty nam jim seasoning. Just so good and definitely lifted the excitement factor for the dishes still to come.
Some pulled pork, herb salad and thin pancakes along with a spicy plum sauce arrived and we each eagerly prepared our pancakes. Again another big win with the slow cooked pork, just full of flavour. Yum!!!
A plate of crispy squid arrived next which we generously spritzed with the accompanying fresh lemon wedges. It was sensational squid and I liked that it was paired with fresh mint leaves and a punchy chilli sauce, which may have had the appearance of a small bowl of fire I actually was able to partake in.
Onwards and upwards! Next to be delivered was a barramundi and pork belly salad. Can’t say I’ve ever had a pork and fish salad before but if they were all like this I’d have them all day every day! The lightly battered barra pieces were amazing as were the chunky cubes of pork belly. Rendered to decadent perfection they were such a tasty pairing. Plus it was great to have the refreshing finish from all the mixed greens. They are definitely extremely well versed in the flavour stakes in the Chin Chin kitchen. Everything is very well seasoned and all the sauces are just brimming with kick.
The next dish to arrive was Son in Laws Eggs with Chilli Jam. I like Eggs and am all for them being highlighted as the star of a dish. These were just perfect. Really liked how they were lightly crumbed and there was still a little oozy yolk goodness in the middle. And again the chilli jam had punch but worked a treat with these lovingly prepared eggs.
Beef short ribs came next and we were confident this would be the last savoury in our feed me line up. To say this menu was generous was a massive understatement and our ravenous appetite had been considerably dented at this point. But the meat on the ribs slid tantalizingly off the bones and just fell apart after its quality time slow cooking.
We soon discovered we were wrong about the ribs being last and we were presented with a soft shell crab curry with some steamed rice. Where would we find room for this I wondered. I was only able to make a token effort with this dish and mainly stuck to polishing off the baby corns, but it was tasty and quite spicy given the abundance of red chilli’s I could spy in this dry style curry dish.
Wowsers I was glad we just had one dessert to share between us and it as nice to have something sweet to round out this magic visit. We had asked if we could have the honey comb and salted caramel sundae and were told yes. Lovely! It was a dainty affair when it was presented in its elegant small glass. The flavours were a wonderful combination. The salty swirls of caramel and the ever sweet honeycomb pieces. We managed I polish this off between us.
What a way to kick off our Melbourne looong weekend. I had had Chin Chin on my wish list for ages now and I was very glad to finally make it along. I could duly appreciate the massive crowds and tales of long waits I had heard about. I left with their cookbook in tow and a hope that we’d one day head back again.