Is all the rage in the CBD at the moment and aside from very superficially hung coat racks, it is in fact all it’s cracked up to be. More about the coat racks later, first we must mention the phenomenon of no bookings – you have to hope your wait is under an hour and that you have a pack of gum handy. I understand why restaurants do this – at first it seems almost snobby, particularly the way the waiter tells you in an arrogant tone that ‘we don’t take bookings, you’ll just have to wait in line,’ or ‘You’re going to be waiting a long time.’ Anyway, when you think about it, the idea is actually rooted in counter-snobbery, and the desire of a ‘casual vibe’ – it gives everyone equal access, rather than having the place booked out weeks in advance. The problem with restaurants and diners like this is that they are so popular it doesn’t work. The kind of place you would like to casually stroll in to, have a drink and some amazing bar food and leave, however you may have to wait a while to even get in, ruining the casual vibe and spontaneity.
Enough of that – we got in. Best seat in the house and all without a booking, at the bar overlooking all the chefs, a ‘chefs bar’ if you will. The first cocktail consumed involved dark rum with ginger beer and cinnamon bark syrup amongst other things – definitely a winner. However, the Mai Tai was a bit lost on me, too much lime syrup and Bacardi which overpowered and ignored the other essential flavours.
We ordered the fried calamari because I generally can’t walk into a place that serves fried calamari without ordering it and as calamari goes, top notch – crisp, great with the nuoc cham, sweet and spicy dipping sauce. Next we had the dry curry with spice crusted organic tofu which really hit the mark. The Chin Chin special fried rice was delicious with crab, chicken, pineapple combining to be the kind of dish you could just keep eating.
After those dishes we had probably the most perfectly balanced dessert I’ve ever had, Palm sugar ice cream sundae with salted honeycomb and lime syrup, the immaculate sweetness of the palm sugar ice cream with slightly salty honeycomb and the tartness of the lime syrup and also what seemed to be perhaps a coconut milk ice cream as well.
Back to the coat racks. Sorry on behalf of my girlfriend and I, we really shouldn’t have tried to hang two coats on the one rack…seriously, still feeling guilty about this and I’m sure karma will rear its ugly head very soon. All in all I think Chin Chin will continue to do very well. The food was great, service attentive and with a vibrant atmosphere to boot.
Don’t go. Try it. Must go.