Pictured: Katie Ridgway, killing it in the kitchen
This review is long long overdue and I promise there is no favouritism on my part (this review has been heavily vetted by the PLN team for any partiality, bias and prejudice).
The winner of the (inaugural) PLN Restaurant of the Year (2018 edition) is Chin Chin Sydney. This is a review that we feel completely comfortable providing. In fact, having occupied tables of various sizes and shapes (on multiple occasions) within the Chin Chin castle in the iconic Griffiths Tea building in Surry Hills during the course of the year, we feel almost "at home" providing it.
Lets take you on a Gilligans Island-esque short voyage through a selection of our favourite dishes/accompanying beverages. After many many times of trying, and the PLN team putting its waistline on the line, this is the PLN Chin Chin go-to menu!!! Follow these simple steps:
As you peruse the list of pan-Asian food delights you simply must start with either the spritz or dragon fruit cocktail.
For the wine lovers among us you need not fret about the wine list – head sommelier Jacq Turner (who shares a passion with the PLN team for the best beach town in the whole world, Yamba) has all things covered. Go for the keg wine…yes that is right…the rosé and the pinot noir (Brokenwood) come in handy easily consumable 1 litre carafes and are speedily replenished.
The starters are easy…and awesome - KINGFISH SASHIMI (lime, chilli, coconut & thai basil) and CHIN CHIN PORK "ROLL UPS" (slow cooked pulled pork pancakes, slaw & plum sauce). The former looks somewhat understated for the flavours that it delivers, and the latter is a twist on the old roll-your-own favourites found elsewhere.
For the mains we strongly suggest the best Pad Seuw in the whole of the metropolis of Sydney - PAD SEUW OF BRAISED WAGYU BEEF (gai laan, rice noodles & shallots) along with the ROTISSERIE PORK BELLY W. FENNEL (pickle & scud chilli death sauce). That chilli sauce is not mis-named. For the adventurous a relatively recent addition to the menu is the CHARGRILLED KINGFISH WINGS (with roasted chilli & lime). To be frank they look a bit odd, but grab one in your mitt, wrap your laughing gear around it and you will be amazed.
For the veggies among us, and we know there are a few out there, jump into the CHARGRILLED BROCCOLINI (with blackbean & sambal oelek) and the BARBEQUED CAULIFLOWER (with curry spiced coconut cream, curry leaf & chilli), and add in some roti and jasmine rice for fun.
We then arrive at the pièce de résistance, the masterpiece, the magnum opus, the masterwork, the tour de force, the showpiece, prize, gem, jewel…and that is of course the SOUTHERN THAI GOAT CURRY with shredded coconut & mint yoghurt. We simply call it the "OMG". If you eat nothing else for the rest of your time on our little planet or if you have one last meal request or if you are looking to impress some subcontinent friends (or any friends come to think of it) then THIS IS IT. You will then die happy.
But wait there is more, and it is not a set of steak knives. Grab a little bottle of sauternes and tuck into the COCONUT SAGO (with lime curd and pineapple granita) and the VIETNAMESE ICED COFFEE PANNA COTTA (with cashew praline).
Feeling tired? Before you escape the clutches of the Chin Chin crew lob into one of their espresso martinis, awesome, then find your way out and hey presto there you go.
Chin Chin conquered. Cuisine adventure experienced. Waistline expanded.