It's the "in" place in Melbourne right now and as Melbournians would attest, once you make this list, you will be inundated. You cant fault the food - wonderfully fresh, a wide menu selection and a very clever "feed me" option - and judging by the fellow patrons on the Sunday we went, most people opted for this. I wouldnt do it again though, because the dishes come thick and fast and one dish morphs into the other.
As many have said, the restaurant accepts no reservations (which doesnt bother me). I had arranged to meet a mate there at 12.30pm Sunday. He was waiting in the bar downstairs (a good place to wait and have a drink - music is funky (old vinyl turntables) but the service was a bit slow) but I am being a bit picky.
Staff were extremely friendly and professional and came and got us when a table was ready. Calling it a table is unfair. Chris Lucas has obviously got someone with a PhD in Yield Management from one of the major airlines - because they pack em wide and they pack em deep. You cant swing a cat in the place. Dont go if you are on a hot date or you are wanting to confess your undying love for someone because they wont be able to hear a word you say - but the tables either side of you will be. Chin Chin is perfect if you have been married for a long time, because you can simply eat and drink and not worry about talking!
Pork pancakes were excellent (like Peking Duck), the caramalised Pork was terrific, but a lot of the other dishes sort of blended into one another (only so much fresh mint, been shoots, coriander, spring onion and fish sauce you can stomach in one sitting). The quantity of food is not the issue - as they will keep feeding you if hungry if you opt for the Feed Me menu.
If I went again, I would go a la carte and ensure I ordered a couple of green vegetable dishes
Wine list is excellent - with a reserve white and red category. Have no idea why they serve Singha beer though - wouldn't wash my dog in it let alone pay $9 a glass.
Its a happening place, plenty of buzz, plenty of atmosphere, great fresh Asian inspired food with a terrific wine list and a team of pro's running the place. You just have to set your expectations appropriately.
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