It is with deep sadness that I write this open letter to Chin Chin, my ex-favourite restaurant in the entire world.
Dear Chin Chin,
I no longer love you. After having the world’s most amazing culinary experience on my previous trip to Melbourne, to say my expectations were high would be an understatement. I have travelled around the world and I’ve eaten at some of the world’s top restaurants but when I experienced the Feed Me Menu on my first trip to your restaurant my life was changed.
On my recent trip to Melbourne we centred our whole trip around our Chin Chin meal (let’s face it, Chin Chin was the entire reason for the trip) planning to go twice (maybe 3 times). Last Monday we arrived at Chin Chin at a senior citizens hour of 4:50pm to avoid the long lines, and excitedly said “Feed Me!” to our waitress. She asked if we had any allergies and I told her gluten, not thinking much of it, as I had said I was gluten free on my last trip and staff were amazingly accommodating, even using gluten free flower in some dishes.
The Feed Me menu is when you say “Feed Me” to your waiter and they surprise you with a range of favourite dishes from the asian fusion menu, accommodating any dietary requirements. It’s pretty much a gluten free foodies dream. The price of the Feed Me menu is $69 per person, but was well worth it last time because of the quality of the dishes and the amount and range of food that you got to experience.
The meal started off pretty promising, but both Matt, my boyfriend, and I noticed that portion sizes were a lot smaller than last time. We weren’t worried about it though because last time we were so full that we had to tell the waiter to stop bringing food. Despite the smaller portion sizes, the appetizers did not dissapoint. We had Chin Chin Pork “Roll Ups” with lettuce wraps, Kingfish Sashimi- the best, and Wok Fried Salt & Pepper Squid made with gluten free flower. All of this was from the “Little Something Section” section of the menu.
Next we had the Crispy Barramundi & Green Apple Salad, from the “Green Stuff” section of the menu, which was really good but only had two small pieces of Barramundi and one piece of Pork belly… Sharing one small piece of Pork belly sucks!
The waitress then brought us Pad Seuw of Six Hour Braised Wagyu which was beyond incredible. But then brought us Chin Chin Pineapple Egg Fried Rice and Aromatic Yellow Curry of Roast Pumpkin with MORE RICE. Both dishes were OK but it was way too much rice, especially considering that the Pad Seuw was made with rice noodles. I think they were trying to kill us with rice.
After we ate as much rice as humanly possible the waitress asked us if we wanted one more dish and we were surprised because we hadn’t even had very much meat at this point. When she brought us Pad Thai made with… wait for it… RICE noodles I almost fell off my chair. The Pad Thai may have been decent but I couldn’t stomach any more rice or rice noodles.
Politely we asked the waitress if we were going to get anything from the “Barbecue” or “A Bit More” sections of the menu, which had all the meat. Most of our dishes so far came from the “Rice & Noodle” section of the 7 section menu. She took huge offence to this and blamed me because I was gluten free, saying I couldn’t have meat because it all had gluten. We told her we got meat last time when I was gluten free and she basically said I was crazy… I find it hard to believe that a restaurant can make make calamari with gluten free flower but can’t manage to make one gluten free main meat dish. With a snarky attitude she rudely asked us what we wanted for dessert but stomped away without us answering when we asked her if anything was gluten free (a valid question since apparently nothing but rice is gluten free at Chin Chin).
We were brought two delicious desserts, but the night was pretty much ruined as we were so uncomfortable by this point that we just wanted to leave. I felt really bad for Matt, who was still hungry when we left. He had been waiting months for this meal.
I was expecting to write a blog post about an amazing Chin Chin experience, talking about the flavours of each dish and how great this restaurant is for gluten free people. I even got a menu that I wanted to take home and frame… I’ll probably just colour it now. I’m very sad to say that I probably won’t ever go back to Chin Chin after this horrible customer service experience and I definentely won’t be recommending it to anybody with any dietary restrictions; in my opinion its honestly not worth the risk for the price. But hey, I hear Rice Papr Scrs is supposed to be amazing so we’ll have try that one next time!