Chin Chin Restaurant – a blast of Asian flavours

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Fusion asian dishes, walk-in restaurant with no bookings except for one table of 10-12 people which means, waiting a long time to get a seat if you’re not there early. We went on a Friday night but some of the guys came late and at Chin Chin they won’t seat you unless the whole party is there. So we were told that the wait was 3hours. We were determined to dine at Chin Chin that night so we occupied ourselves for 3 hours and awaited a text message saying that our table was ready. We finally made it in and it did not disappoint.

The staff are super friendly, they were willing to help us with the menu because there’s so much to choose from but luckily our friend was a regular and she ordered us some of the popular dishes. We told them to bring them out as they were ready because we were starving at that point. To get the most out of Chin Chin, it’s definitely a good idea to order a number of dishes to share so you can taste a bit of everything.

You must try the twice cooked beef ribs. They simply melt off the bone and the flavours are superb. The crunchy school prawns with the shrimp paste dip are awesome too. The chicken salad was a good refreshing dish to complement our other dishes and everyone loved the Palm sugar ice cream sundae with salted honeycomb and lime syrup. Just saying the name makes your mouth water.

Here’s a little highlight video of our Chin Chin dinner, such a great little place. I love Melbourne.

Overall, Chin Chin is well worth the hype and with a menu with over 40 items to choose from, there’s definitely a reason to come back. Live and busy atmosphere, can be a bit squashy and tight spaced for some and if you’re willing to wait for a table or gather a group of 10-12 people then Chin Chin is ready for you.

Chin Chin
125 Flinders Ln
Melbourne VIC
Website: http://www.chinchinrestaurant.com.au

Quang Vinh – St Albans – Westsideeee

Welcome to the Westside! Quang Vinh sits on the most popular street in St Albans, ‘Alfrieda St’! In my opinion Quang Vinh is probably the best Vietnamese restaurant on the street. You can’t miss it with its big orange neon sign.Quang Vinh Store Front

I’m a big fan of trying new places and trying different and beautiful food but everyone needs a safety net when you just want a good feed without the big effort to book, travel and experiment with your taste buds. I have a regular set of dishes I order when I come here, so I guess I’m recommending the following dishes:

Chicken Spare RIbsChicken Spare Ribs: These are so crispy and so tasty that I could eat a bucket full of them.

Mongolian Sizzling BeefMongolian Sizzling Beef: Stand back when this arrives because it really does sizzle! The beef is nice and juicy and is perfect with any type of rice (fried, plain & tomato) This is a perfect dish to share.

Diced Beef With Tomato Rice

Diced Beef with Tomato Rice: I label this as the white man’s dish of choice. Every non-asian loves diced beef and to get someone who’s new to Vietnamese food or eating at a Vietnamese restaurant, start them on this dish. I’ve had a good share of diced beef and this places high on my list.

Flounder with Tamarind sauce

Flounder with Tamarind sauce: Flash fried flounder is awesome! Sometimes the tamarind sauce can be overwhelming but then you just scrape the excess off. Durrr! This is another great dish for sharing.

Seafood Hotpot

Seafood Hotpot: I’m a big fan of seafood but not so much with vegetables…typical male! So its a dish I don’t usually order but when someone else does, I tend to steal all the seafood pieces before they all disappear. It’s a good dish but not of my forte.

Quang Vinh has so many items on their menu and I probably won’t try all of them but I do like my favourites. I suggest not to order take-away as it tastes much better fresh. Went to eat there on a Wednesday night and the place was full and had to share a large table with another group of people.

When it comes to Vietnamese restaurants, service is quite poor and this place is no exception. Sometimes I feel that asian restaurants or waiters give me the impression that I should be privileged to eat at their restaurant but being engaged to one, I guess I’m used to it (jokes if you’re reading this). As I said Quang Vinh is one of my safety nets and always find myself eating there and generally the food is good.Menu

Location: Alfrieda St, St Albans, 3021
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Phone: (03) 9366 4147

China Bar Signature – All You Can Eat


Love asian food? Wish you could eat all the oysters and peking duck you can eat? Then you have to try China Bar Signature Buffet in Burwood!!! It was like a dream come true walking into that place.

The tables are prepared nicely, there’s plenty of space and the place is nice and clean.


Their dinner sessions are from 5:45pm-7:45pm & 8pm-10pm. 2hrs you say? Trust me it’s plenty of time and I advise you to take your time because it’s easy to get full at this place.

Want some raw fish? Ask the sushi chef and he’d slice you some raw salmon, yellowtail & raw tuna. I couldn’t stop myself from having too much sushi & sashimi but thought to myself I can get sushi anytime, so I diverted my tactics to seafood!!!

I probably had 2 dozens oysters, a dozen prawns and a whole lot of scallops.

Peking duck is my favourite and there was an unlimited supply of it. There were two chefs stationed at the peking duck and duck soup section making sure there was enough duck to go around. At one point they were struggling to keep up but managed to keep up with my demands.

They even had a section for noodle lovers, where you could tell the chef to put together the ingredients and then he’d cook the noodle dish for you.

You can’t call it an asian buffet without the dim sim section.

I didn’t manage my time well and got full with 45mins. I had another 1hr 15mins to go but couldn’t help myself to the beautiful wall of desserts!!!

And if you’re a fan of those $1 asian flavoured ice-creams at your local asian grocery store then stuff your face with all these (I know I did)

I would have to make this place one of my top 10 restaurants to try and I’m going to make any excuse to go here at least once a year from now on.
There’s plenty more food there but I can’t cover it all, so only my favourites this time around.

Here’s a few tips for you:
-No need to arrive early (just make sure you book – plenty of tables)
-Take your time (eat slowly)
-Don’t have too much sushi (filled with rice = get full quickly)
-Don’t waste food, I think they have a disclaimer that they’ll charge you if you waste food
AND
-Make sure you leave room for dessert!!!!

Checkout their website for prices, times and reservation details

http://www.chinabarsignature.com/

Location:380 Burwood Highway, Burwood East, VIC 3151
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Mandala Restaurant – Asian Flavours

Nice and cosy vibrant restaurant with a wonderful array of Asian flavours and tasty dishes. I did admire and applaud their presentation of their entree and desserts although our main dishes had the salad dumped on top of the meat or main dish which disappointed me. The other annoying thing was our main dishes had a side salad that had the same flavours and mixture as our ordered side salad. Does that make sense? Well it does to me and got sick of eating the same salad over and over again. So I recommend to just enjoy the salad that comes with your main.

Enough whinging, now on with the dishes. First we started off with some Salt and Pepper Squid (with asian slaw and soy vinegar), Momos (pan fried pork dumplings with sesame tomato dip) and some Apple Chaat (spiced potato, fried lentil, yogurt raita, mint and tamarind chutney). The dipping sauces did it for me for the entrees and I couldn’t wait for my lamb main.

We shared our mains and ordered a Chilli Caramel Pork Hock (with asian herb salad and orange caramel), Slow Cooked Lamb Shank (with spiced bokchoy, wombok and market vegetables) and ordered a  (with pickled plum, toasted peanuts, cherry tomato). I thought the Chilli Caramel Pork was a bit too sweet although worked well with the salad. The slow cooked lamb shank was just as I expected and melted in my mouth and the soft shell crab hardly disappoints but this time it was a little salty for my liking.

Dessert is my favourite part of every meal and because I’m a diabetic it is often a rare occasion for my partner to allow me to have dessert so I cherished it “like a fat kid loves cake”. Dessert went a little something like this Pistachio Kulfi (with wild berries and mango puree) and Mandala Melt (strawberry, pistachio and mascarpone). I know my favourite part of the night was the dessert but I reckon the desserts were fantastic and I’d go back to try those desserts again but for a challenge I might try cook something similar to those desserts.

Mandala was definitely worth the visit but the mains somewhat disappointed me. I would definitely recommend trying their desserts and to have a walk down to the toilet as the little journey on the stone path was quite pleasant or on a beautiful warm night you could ask to sit outside and watch everyone go to the toilet 🙂

For more information and booking information you can visit site (it also includes their full menu)

http://mandalarestaurant.com.au

Location:133 Commercial Road, South Yarra 3141, Melbourne, Australia