Tag Archives: Chin Chin

Rue & Co

I wrote about the new eating spot Rue & Co recently on Weekendnotes but I’m yet to express my opinion on the food.


It houses Melbourne foodie names such as St Ali (which has cafes in North and South Melbourne), Masterchef George Calombaris’ Greek venture, Jimmy Grants, and Kong, a taste of Chin Chin’s Chris Lucas’ yet-to-open restaurant.


You’ve probably heard all about it by now, but it also contains a large work of art by street artist RONE (the portrait in the first picture), whilst fairy lights and projections add to the beauty at night.
20140502_175028After examining the menus, we felt spoilt for choice. Lucky we had a group of five or so, which means we could all get something different.


As a massive lover of Chin Chin, I was eager to try Kong (menu above), influenced by Korean and Japanese food. The buns looked a little small and not too interesting as we peered over at other peoples’ meals. One friend chose the roast pork belly kong bo ssam (below). We weren’t entirely sure what it was, but the description says it is served with kimchi, ssam jang (spicy sauce) and butter lettuce ($14). We also thought it’s hard to go wrong with pork belly.

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Unfortunately it was a bit underwhelming for $14. The sauce was light and doesn’t add much flavour, and I’m not sure what the difference between lettuce and butter lettuce is, as it tasted fairly normal.

I also ordered a ssam roti roll with BBQ lemon and gochujang chicken with slaw, Korean chilli paste and zucchini kimchi ($12). This was like a normal wrap in roti bread with a touch of spice. It’s possible I’ve set my expectations too high because of Chin Chin, but I’d be happy to try the restaurant when it opens in Richmond and its full menu before I completely write it off.

Kong on Urbanspoon
Meanwhile, my friends were lining up at Jimmy Grants for the 200g slow roasted lamb shoulder ($18.50, below), served with pita bread and tzatziki sauce. I’ve heard a lot about Jimmy Grants but never had the chance to drop by the original restaurant, so this location seemed convenient.

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They also bought a serve of chips with garlic, feta and oregano ($7, above), which were nice whilst the lamb was standard, but serving size seems a bit small for $18.50.

I preferred the souvlaki, Mr. Papadopoulos ($9.50, below), which another friend ordered. It contained lamb, mustard aioli, chips, onions and parsley. This was surprisingly the best thing I tried that night – even my friend who doesn’t like Greek food enjoyed it too.

Jimmy Grant's on Urbanspoon

After this I was still hungry so it was time for round two! After much debate, we went with a shroom burger with caramelised onion and thyme from St Ali’s Church of Secular Coffee with chips ($12, below right). It’s a good option for vegetarians as the mushroom is large and juicy.


My friend didn’t realise the omission of the word ‘meat’ so was a bit disappointed haha, but I guess for non-vegetarians there are more exciting burgers. Someone on my Instagram recommended the soul searching burger, which contains kimchi and shrimp with spicy mayonnaise.

The St Ali menu has changed slightly after its initial opening from the menu below, thus now each day has a special burger and some names may have changed.
Whilst my friends went to get our burger, curiosity took the better of me and I went to try some of Jimmy Grants’ dim sims ($7.50 for 3 pieces). I’d seen many people express their love for these on Instagram, but for my friends it was a bit odd with ingredients such as peas inside. *A lovely reader has pointed out these are in fact capers not peas. Not that odd, however still not entirely to my taste. The dim sims contain cabbage, chicken, coriander and capers!

I was indifferent, but they didn’t live up to all the hype I’d observed and I would choose my sister’s homemade dim sims any day!


We didn’t have any dessert as we headed off to Sugar Hit Melbourne – Bollywood that night.

This just meant I found an excuse to drop by one morning before work. The only thing open at this time is St Ali and although it was 10am, a long line of corporates and everyday Melburnians greeted me (below).


As I overheard someone tell his colleague, “Yeah that’s what you do in Melbourne. Coffee.”

St Ali has some of the best baristas in the world, so why not drop by? I can concur my latte was great and I rarely like lattes without a hint of flavour. I eyed the interesting profiteroles on the menu last time so I bought a mixed pack of six to share with colleagues ($3 each) on this occasion.


The chocolate and hazelnut was great, with a little hazelnut on top, chocolate cream inside and a bit of a crumbly texture akin to a cookie and different to your normal profiteroles.

The salted caramel was great too, with the salty hint not too strong. I can’t decide which one I liked more!

Church of Secular Coffee on Urbanspoon

Overall, the food did not wow me as much as I’d think these big names would. Maybe I didn’t try the right items, but I think it’s the atmosphere and beauty of Rue & Co that really draws you in.

Rue & Co is open from 7am until late every day and is located at 80 Collins St, Melbourne CBD.

Modern Asian Restaurants: Chin Chin

Chin Chin

In the early days, I was rejected from this place numerous times and due to the ridiculous wait times, I never ended up hanging around. But finally, on a late Sunday lunch in 2012, I managed to avoid rejection.

Now, I am an avid fan of this popular restaurant, and I have visited four or five times without needing to wait. I will let you in on that secret later. Due to my many visits, I realise I have quite a lot of dishes to talk about, so here it goes!

The number one dish we keep going back to Chin Chin for is the twice cooked Victorian beef short ribs with coriander and prik nam pla (Thai sauce) (below, far right, $29). The beef is so delicate, it literally falls off the bone. The sauce on the side adds a bit of a sweet, lime taste if you’re after it, but if not, the sauce that it already lies in and coriander are already rich enough to satisfy the tastebuds.


My first time there, I also fell in love with the barramundi and caramelised pork belly green apple salad (top left, $27). On my most recent trip, we found the pork a bit dry, perhaps indicating that rumours I’ve heard of the restaurant’s quality deteriorating might just be true.

After several visits, I kept checking Urbanspoon to see what other dishes were popular. The son-in-law eggs with chill jam (above, bottom left, $8), kept popping up so we gave that a go. The flavours, as usual, were rich and interesting and the outsides of the eggs had a nice texture, almost like a subtly crispy skin. I wouldn’t mind ordering it again as a side to help fill me up a bit more for $8, but not a must-have dish.


Pictured above, is the barbecue pork satay ($23). I keep forgetting it’s a main on the menu from this picture, as this was treated as an entree even from the way they served our food (they served this first). As good as it was (I could find no fault), I don’t think it’s special enough to differentiate from other satay skewers for half the price at most Asian restaurants.

My friend also enjoys the Massaman curry ($29), however one time we ordered the green curry ($25), and discovered that their curries can be a bit salty. Other satisfying dishes I’ve tried include the DIY pork rolls-ups ($19), kind of like peking duck but with braised suckling pig.


Another friend was quite a fan of the wagyu salad or Crying Tiger (above, $29). I did like it, but sadly I couldn’t enjoy it as much as her, being the weak person when it comes to chilli! The other dish pictured is just some fried rice ($18), I don’t feel it’s anything special to talk about and I say stick to steamed rice.

What I crave from Chin Chin besides the beef, is the grilled banana roti with condensed milk (below, $12)! The pastry-like roti oozes with warm banana, and combined with the sweet condensed milk, it makes an excellent way to end a good meal at Chin Chin. I’m not sure why the palm sugar ice cream sundae (below, $14) seems more popular – I found it hard to eat a lot of it due to too many strong flavours, as if the abundance of salted honeycomb, palm sugar icecream and lime syrup were all competing to win.


Now on how to get in? Well firstly, dinner will always be hard. If you are really keen, it’s probably better to go early dinner around 5 or so, and not on a weekend night. It’s a good idea to give the restaurant a call, because even if you can’t book (they only book for 10+), you can at least ask how long the wait is or if there are any free tables before heading there.

Lunch is often not that hard due to most people being at work, or you can go at an off-peak time between lunch and dinner around 2-3pm and it won’t be so hard!

I was meant to to write about other restaurants, then I realised I’ve visited Chin Chin enough to constitute one post. Look out for Part 2!

Chin Chin is located at 125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne and is open 11am until late. They have also opened GoGo Bar underneath, where you can have some drinks whilst waiting for your table or enjoy some bar food/entrees from the Chin Chin menu.

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon