The influential Melbourne Thai/pan-Asian restaurant Chin Chin is coming to Sydney. The Lucas Group (which includes Chin Chin and Go Go, Baby, Kong, and the upcoming Hawker Hall in Windsor) has confirmed a Surry Hills location, nabbing the ground-level space at the bottom of the historic Griffiths Teas building – which for many years has sat empty on the corner of Wentworth Avenue and Commonwealth Street.

“We looked in many areas throughout Sydney, but ultimately it was the building itself which drove the location decision,” says owner Chris Lucas, who is planning a 2016 opening.

The search for a space took more than a year. “Much like the 100-year-old building in Flinders Lane that houses Chin Chin in Melbourne, I instantly loved the Griffiths Teas building. [It] excites me from a design point of view and the opportunity to breathe life back into such a prominent and significant building is exciting, too,” says Lucas. The building has been bought by the Cornerstone Property Group, which plans to refit the upper levels as apartments, accommodating Chin Chin on the ground floor.

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“I’m also excited by the local feel of Surry Hills. It’s such a beautiful village with an eclectic mix of urban culture,” says Lucas. “I can’t wait to be part of such a beautiful area in such a historic building.”

Executive chef Benjamin Cooper (Chin Chin and Kong) will be in the kitchen, and while the plan is for a Sydney version of the original Chin Chin, it will also have aspects that are uniquely its own. “I want to embrace the local feel and style of Sydney. Engaging with the local community and culture is first and foremost for us.”