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Chilli time at Chin Chin…

Another dunch at another no-bookings restaurant… Dunch is a 3pm Friday lunch that allows us to get into the super popular restaurants and means we don’t have to go back to work!

Finally Frank goes to Chin Chin!

With the Friday lunch gang who survived the habenero chilli incident at Mamasita we were looking forward to more hot dishes ahead of us. The restaurant was absolutely packed. Even at 3pm. According to the waitress Chin Chin is actually packed from the minute it opens until the minute it closes every day. I believe her. Unlike our Mamasita experience we were not even slightly rushed through our meal. We sat at our table until 7pm stuffing ourselves with the ‘feed me’ menu (highly recommended but make sure you are hungry!)

A cocktail on a arrival… Do it!
Kingfish Sashimi with lime, chilli, coconut and thai basil

The papaya salad was really hot! We thought we could handle it and to our credit no one ordered milk but it was def the hottest dish of the day. The girls needed a ciggie break after this one just to calm the palate…?

Spicy hot green papaya salad with chargrilled red chilli, prawn floss and peanuts
Organic pork satay with cucumber, pineapple, crushed peanuts and 3 flavour sauce
Crispy skin duck with pickled cucumber and ginger salad and sesame salt and fresh lemon
Organic silken tofu salad with thai basil and hot, sweet, bitter dressing

The tofu was my favourite dish. Fried tofu is one of my favourite things ever and in combination with chilli and the dressing it was an absolute winner.

Massaman Curry – Hopkins River braised beef brisket with pink fir apple potatoes and crispy shallots

This was the first time I have tried Massaman curry. Another one of those times I wonder why the hell it took me so long. I have had it at least three times since!

Palm sugar ice-cream sundae with salted honeycomb and lime syrup

An obligatory dessert of course. YUM! We actually had two desserts the sundae above and the grilled banana roti bread with condensed milk and cinnamon sugar which was sensational but looked pretty average in my photo so just trust me, It’s a must-order. Now you understand why you need to be hungry to order ‘feed me’in fact, I think there was meant to be another course but we just couldn’t fit it in and still have room for dessert.

Chin Chin was every bit as good as the hype! I hate waiting for restaurants but I probably would wait in the cool downstairs bar for this one…. Or go again for Friday dunch of course.

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon

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Friday Dunch at Mamasita…

Finally after three cancellations this lunch went ahead… but not without a few hiccups… We turned it into a dunch as work kept getting in the way and dunch allowed us to finish everything we needed to at the office before enjoying a serious business lunch/dinner… and a few friday froffies…. or margaritas as was the case…

We couldn’t choose between two city restaurants that don’t allow bookings; Mamasita or Chin Chins? Both have been open for over a year but the no bookings policy had kept us away… Dunch was once again the perfect solution to a no booking policy… Can’t be too many peeps that want to eat at 3:30pm…

Finally, it was time to try out the famed Mamasita… where the queues start at 5pm and snake down the street until midnight, or so I had heard… I was very late to our late lunch due to public transport issues… I hadn’t “not driven” on a Friday night for as long as I could remember… since way before Feb… so I was kinda excited and the long trip drew out this excitement further… I walked up the stairs, once I found the tiny hidden door at the top of Collins St, and was surprised by the understated-ness (is that a word?) of the room. I found the ladies at a table in the middle of the restaurant, the first round of wines nearly empty. The tables seemed close together but besides a big group of girls up near the bar, there weren’t many others in for dunch… perfect… The waitress was pretty keen to take our food orders, trying twice to rush us along before we had decided on a bottle of wine. Once we had the drinks sorted, and because we were feeling some pressure to order, we turned our food fate over to our waitress with the instructions:

Bring us your best…. and we are REALLY hungry…

If you have read a few previous posts you will know this is my preferred way of ordering as good restaurants will generally assume you don’t mind spending some cash and will deliver the best experience they can (not over-the-top in the cash department though… like you know when a sommelier up-sells you on every bottle? Now that is annoying)…

We started with the famous corn, no pics as we were starving! haha. It was good. It didn’t blow my mind but it’s corn you know? How good can it be? Here are a few pics of the rest of our meal and corresponding thoughts..

Tostaditas - de Carnitas & de Cangrejo

Little crunchy bites of goodness. De Carnitas on the left, pork shoulder, pickled jalapeno, and a little crackle on top and de Crangrejo on the right, crabmeat, avocado, cucumber and habanero… so this last ingredient is pretty interesting… It’s the tiny red sliver on top and is described in Wikipedia as:

The habanero chili is one of the more intensely piquant species of chili peppers of the capsicum genus…

I WISH THAT I KNEW THAT BEFORE I ATE IT! It was so hot… The four of us were in agony… It’s funny now to think back but at the time… it must have only spent a little time in my mouth as it only felt like it was burning a hole in one little part of my tongue as opposed to one of the ladies lips that turned bright red… the bottle of wine was quickly emptied… the girls went for a ciggie break and I had to order a glass of milk…. pretty embarrassing for us but we could have used a little warning… Luckily our next dish was a refreshing palate cleanser

Ceviche - kingfish

The restaurant was filling by now and as first thought, the tables were REALLY close together… The dishes were coming out super fast too. In fact we actually asked if we could slow the pace a little… We were beginning to understand that this was not the type of restaurant you went to for a long, leisurely, comfortable, relaxing lunch…

The rest of the dishes were pretty good but we were all very careful with any chilli that we saw…

Soft taco - chicken
Ensalada de quinoa - corn, coriander, spinach chilli & pico verde
Deep fried polenta

The deep-fried polenta was our last savoury course and was sensational. I have to say now though, as I write this and re-read the menu, I sorta wish we had tried some pulled pork but I guess this is because of my pork obsession! As per my rules, dessert was required. I had a corn ice cream cone and the ladies had margaritas

dessert = 3 margaritas & an ice cream cone with caramel popcorn

By now we could see the top of the queue we had heard so much about poking up the stairs. The pressure was on us again, with staff asking couple of times if we wanted anything else, so we decided to move to the next destination rather than stay for a couple more cocktails and let the throngs come for their mexican…

I thought the food was pretty good… the price was excellent at under $360 for the four of us with quite a few drinks… but I have to say, I don’t understand the queues, with so much good food in Melbourne, why waste hours of precious time waiting in a line on Collins St… to then be rushed through your meal in a busy, close-sitting restaurant? Dunch was the perfect way to eat Mamasita… can’t wait for Chin Chins next!

Mamasita on Urbanspoon