As if you all need any intro to this place, you've probably read about it in the 20 other blog posts and reviews from broadsheet and the like about the trendy but laid back and casual Thai diner. You'll have read about it's warehouse appeal with it's gorgeously high ceilings (I know I mention them time and time again in this blog but I can't help but love them.), long narrow windows, punchy typography heavy posters at the front of the restaurant and very slick fit out at the bar. So I might as well say nothing and just give you pictures.
But I tend to be the chatty sort (even online) and I'll tell you what I think anyway. I love the high ceilings, I love the shelves and bottles on the wall behind the bar, which somehow remind me of one of those marble maze games where you have to tilt the marble into the end hole, and even those lantern like lights above the bar. All very cool and quite chic indeed.
(The drinks menu, so cute!)
Being a bit of a graphics nerd, I also enjoyed all the different types of type that were all over the place. From the menus, to the wall decor. It was a bit of a smorgasbord for my eyes. Very poppy, very fresh. Although it also sort of feels like the walls are constantly yelling at you. At least they look cool doing so.
Brad and I rocked up on a Saturday evening at about 7:30 or so. It was busy. It was bustling. A lady who was in front of us decided to leave and as she was leaving commented 'I don't like these places that have paper menus and use them as placemats...', which had Brad and I looking at each other going 'Huh?'
The floor staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful. We were told first to go hang out at the bar for a bit before we were to be seated and even the bar was absolutely full, there was no way we were going to get a drink before seating, but that's alright.
I took pictures instead. Teehee.
Fortunately it wasn't too long a wait before we were collected, led to and seated amongst the throng of people. Even in the heart of the chaos, I found it wasn't too hard to communicate with Brad and was thankful I wasn't shouting over the table all night!
The wine list was fun, there was something on the wine list with a name to do about zombies or aliens, which was extremely tempting (the table next to us got it and it has the most excellent label), but we ended up getting a carafe of the house white pinot gris, which is especially made for Chin Chin. I unfortunately don't remember more details about it though. I got a bit tipsy off it though.
The menu at Chin Chin is actually, a little surprisingly, quite extensive. Take your pick from a little something, or a soup, or some green stuff, curries, barbeques, mains, sides and sweets. Phew!
Brad and I started with the spicy corn and coriander fritters, with iceberg lettuce and Chin Chin's chill jam. What a delicious way to start the night! The corn fritters were light and well...corny (hurr), they reminded me slightly of St. Ali's fritters, albeit smaller and a little less herby.
Combined with the lettuce, which had a tiny silver of ginger on it and the chilli jam, it was a mix not to be missed. The chilli jam in particular really made the dish for me, I thought it was very much like a typical Malaysian sambal, with crunchy hints of dried shrimp in it. My only feedback? Need more chilli jam....
For vegetables we decided to get the "Morning Glory" (which got some funny looks from my friends when I recounted what I ate afterwards...), which is wok tossed siamese water cress with yellow bean and chilli.
This was not as spicy as I thought it would be, but I absolutely loved the flavour the yellow bean parted to it. Or if it wasn't the yellow bean, I liked whatever the heck it was. For a vegetable I'm used to coming across quite often in Chinese cuisine and not usually being overwhelmed by it, the seasoning and flavours in this were deliciously moreish! Recommended!
After reading it on a few blogs, I decided we had to try the spicy eggnet rolls with spanner crab and chilli jam. Whilst I was enamoured by the eggnet itself, which was gorgeous and even in consistency, there was a little bit too much coconut or something in there for my liking. A bit sweeter than I would have liked personally, but that didn't stop us from finishing it all up in a jiffy.
As neither of us had had boar before, we opted to get one of the mains, which was wild boar stir fried with red curry paste, snake beans, ginger and basil. Again, not overly spicy, but tasty, the boar was a bit leaner than other meats, which I expected. I thought it would be a little gamier, but the curry flavour covered that all up quite nicely. Not the most memorable dish of the night, but certainly nothing wrong with it either.
We had a tiny bit of an issue getting our last dish, as we had had our four other dishes and had about a 20-30 minute wait on this one. However, I do respect the waiters for explaining to me there had been a confusion with sending dishes out and I certainly can understand that new runners often get things mixed up now and again. Let me tell you, it's amazing how far a little bit of humility and an apology can go. With me anyway. It happens, and as long as I eventually have hot food, I'm pretty satisfied.
Our last dish, which we barely had room for, was a Massaman curry of coconut braised beef brisket with pink fur apple potatoes and crispy shallots. Ah, it was just lovely, again not one of their spicier dishes (pay attention you non-chilli eaters, I've done your homework for you!), but wonderfully rich in flavours. There was just enough warmth from the spices and just enough sweetness from the coconut. It was not so much a creamy curry but it was maybe a tad on the oily side. I would however, come back again for this. Although there are so many more dishes I want to try...
Chin Chin stayed busy almost the whole night that we were there, but even so, I quite liked the busy atmosphere. Other than our slightly late dish, we had a very pleasant experience with good food, good wine and absolutely lovely staff. I liked the honest, but updated take on the dishes.
Yeah there's a lot of hype, but these guys know what they're doing and I'm looking forward to checking out the lunch service sometime when I can get some better lighting....