The Sydney version of Chin Chin (the original opened in Melbourne in 2011) fills the enormous ground level of the iconic Griffiths Tea Building.
The first thing you see, in the entrance, is a hot-pink neon bunny. Turn left for GoGo bar, which serves Michael Chiem (of PS40)’s cocktails. The list is an exercise in taking big, bold flavours, such as coriander and lardo (Hey Zeus) or green curry paste and lime (Green Curry Mary), and teasing out subtle, well-balanced combinations. The Dragonfruit – Bloody Shiraz gin, lemon, bitters, dragonfruit and sunflower kernel orgeat (a syrup) – lingers with a lip-smacking tanginess.
To your right is a grand space of marble tabletops, bentwood chairs in light-coloured wood and a palpable buzz. This is a good-time restaurant where you yell across the table and laugh loudly and order an extra round of wine on tap (there’s five to pick from, plus another 130 bottles).
You’ll likely over order, it’s hard not to with a 60-dish menu. Start with something light, a classic like the kingfish sashimi with lime, coconut and move into sticky-sweet territory with pad seuw with Wagyu beef. The Scud Cityjungle curry with grilled pork has a heat warning on the menu –it’s not exaggerating. It creeps up on you after a few mouthfuls and leaves you dazed, perspiring and wanting more.
The event space, Chii Town, serves a unique offering of dishes, largely off the menu.There is also the option of ordering rotisserie items such as whole suckling pig and mud crab.
For the rest of January, Chin Chin will donate $2 from every table that dines at the restaurant to the NSW Rural Fire Service and Wires. Diners are encouraged to match that amount.