Friday, 10 August 2012

Putting the fire in your belly

It's always great to eat out and enjoy the amazing foods that Melbourne has to offer and with the industry growing like it is, it is truly becoming harder to choose where to eat.

Some restaurants choose to modernise flavours and experiment in changing flavours to play with your mind and others choose to use flavours, additives and so on to introduce bolder flavours but less produce. But what about the flavours that are hidden in just fresh produce. Are these becoming forgotten flavours that once was the only type of cooking?

Here at Chin Chin they respect what is fresh produce utilising their own individual flavours to present such a modern bold flavoured experience which blew my mind.

A shared Cucumber cocktail or love potion as I would like to call it, was the cooling agent for what was going to become the tower of inferno. Fresh cucumber mixed with gin, ginger and lime was served  to us and on a summers day I could truly be seen creating this mixture and relaxing. So refreshing and nothing so over powering you couldn't taste the other flavours.

A great little dish was the Chin Chin pork roll ups - pulled red braised suckling pig with delicate light pancakes (similar to those of the Peking duck pancakes), slaw and Asian herbs. The tender braised pork was so juicy and with it's accompaniment of the Asian herbs of chilli, coriander and mint through the cabbage bound together perfectly, a match in heaven. Making your own pancakes and adding an accompanying sauce was a realisation that tonight was going to be rather tasty. These little pancakes were a great idea and thinking about it,  a perfect lunch course for all you CBD folks who want something exciting rather than your Vegemite sandwiches.

The dishes came out slowly which was actually nice, being able to savour those flavours that you have just enjoyed.  To follow had their Crying Tiger - Wagyu beef char grilled with roasted ground rice, fried glass noodles and holy basil dressed with a tamarind dressing. Melt in your mouth wagyu strips mixed with fresh basil, chilli and onion and fresh lime juice was pleasant and with the extra zing from the tamarind dressing really made your taste buds pop from its powerful flavours. The added texture of roasted rice was unique and played with the flavours of the dish. Fried glass noodles also added that extra element of surprise reminding me of the texture of prawn crackers. I think this is what set off to the start of such powerful spice hits as from here on my mouth was beginning to heat up a little but the acidity from the lime was just cutting through it enough to control it.

We tried a small side dish of the Son in law eggs which was served with a chilli jam and oh goodness these were a delight. The soft eggs were so rich with the yolk still slightly runny and coated with a light dusting of something that I am still unsure of, but almost like pillows for your tongue these were remarkable and a must have when you visit. The chilli jam was sweet and bursted with chilli hits.

Now I warn you of the next dish, it is HOT! the menu does indicate this but I am too adding the caution note. The Scud City - a jungle curry of wild boar with turmeric, Karachi and peanuts. I now understand why Tarzan swung through the tree vines screaming. It wasn't to call to the animals, it was the fact that he had eaten one of these jungle curries and his mouth was on fire. This deep rich green Curry was mild on it's first mouthful but it's when reaching to eat this tender boar that the intense heat struck.

The boar I believed had been dry rubbed prior to being cooked within the curry which would have held such powerful spices. The sauce combined with kafiar lime leaves, red and green chilli and two stalks of peppercorns proved both power and extreme heat. Served with jasmine rice it was lovely but I have now found the chilli threshold. After sharing just one serve the heat effected me so much I was teary.  I was glad that I had the cooling agent of the cucumber cocktail to reduce some of the heat, but the heat kept on going so an urgent need of some dessert was in order to smother this flame.

A quick suggestion of dessert from our waiter of which one would be a light and refreshing finish to our evening.  Our choice lead to the Candied toddy palm, with honey roasted pineapple pieces finished with a coconut sorbet and crushed ice and dark palm sugar caramel. Similar to sugared fruits this very sweet dessert was a refreshing cool enjoyable one especially after something so hot.

The other which came recommended was the Coconut sago topped with a sweetcorn ice cream puffed wild rice and praline. This dessert was spectacular! It would have to be the most amazing thing I have ever had dessert wise. Sweet sago coated in delicate coconut flavours and such smooth sweetcorn ice cream was perfect just like this but with the additive of the puffed wild rice and golden praline pieces added further depth and crunch.  It was like no other dessert I had ever eaten so subtle and delicate, it's almost unexplainable, so you are going to have to have one yourself to see what I mean by spectacular.

It was over all a pleasant experience filled with fresh flavoursome produce and they full filled the expectations on their menu especially when they say it's hot, as often than not people say it is but they just skim the heat factor in the end. Service was slightly slow but going in the late afternoon where trade tends to lag and staff in restaurants usually have their tea break could have been the factors of this. Once the demand of seating increased by about 5:30 it was all hands on deck from the team, so it's noticeable that service is their. We did enjoy the fact we could enjoy everything quietly and take pleasure in all the amazing flavours that were on offer.

Chin Chin does fill very early in the night so make note to get in the early hours of the evening or lunch to ensure you get a spot, as they are not taking reservations for small tables. It has a great overall feel with a quirky design which made for a relaxed environment.

These guys are respected for their freshness and hand made dishes of which for any foodie such as myself would entice to return time and time again, and if it doesn't then perhaps the fact that you may become star struck like I was seeing Chris and Julia from the first year's Master Chef. If these foodies go here then it must be good signs that perhaps you should too.


Chin Chin
125 Flinders Lane
Melbourne
8663 - 2000

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon