Mod Thai Kitchens in the Melbourne CBD – Cookie, Chin Chin & Red Spice Road

Y’all know how much I love me some good South East Asian food (sorry, I’ve been watching too much Everybody Dance Now and am mesmerised by Kelly Rowland’s speech).

Thai cuisine is one of my favourite things to eat whenever I feel particularly lonesome and homesick. The balance of sweet and sour gets me every single time.

I recently did a suburban Thai post of my favourite local joints to visit and I thought I would share with you some of my Melbourne CBD faves as it’s more convenient for most of you to visit :)

So sit back, tie a bib around your neck and prepare for the drool fest below :)

CookieSwanston St, Melbourne CBD

Cookie has been around for as long as I remember and I still go there for after work drinks on Fridays. During uni days, Cookie was the very first place I was introduced to Lemon, Lime and Bitters. Strange what memories are evoked by some places :)

Whilst Cookie Bar is a really cool place to hang out with your friends and workmates, it also serves a pretty mean modern Thai cuisine.

Portions are smaller than most places and prices are steeper as well, but the flavour of the food sure packs a punch.

A while ago, we went there for a farewell lunch and this was what we ordered :)

Being the resident food blogger at work certainly has its perks as everyone around the table insisted I try a spoonful of their dishes so that I could get the authentic review experience. Too cute *Winks*

Pad Thai – Rice Noodles with Egg, Beancurd, Prawns & Beansprouts ($17.50)

Duck Jungle Curry with Eggplant & Bamboo Shoots ($23.50)

Egg Net Salad with Minced Chicken, Spinach & Cashews ($22.00)

Stir Fried Sweet Potato, Eggplant with Coconut & Kaffir Lime ($19.50)

Lettuce Cup Salad with Minced Tofu, Tomato, Chilli & Kaffir Lime ($12.50)

I had the aromatic charred Fat Rice Noodle with Duck, Cabbage Green, Peppercorn and Basil ($22.00)

One of my favourite dish there was definitely the lettuce cup salad which was quite similar to a Chinese styled salt and pepper tofu dish with a Thai kick to it from the chilli and kaffir lime addition.

I liked my duck noodles as well and thought the egg net salad and pad thai was full of flavour.

It is like I mentioned quite pricey given the portion that is served.

My recommendation? Get yourself booking a team lunch there and charge it back or if you can get a client to take you out. I’m not quite sure I’d be willing to pay that kind of price despite how good the quality of the food is there.

*Disclaimer: All food ratings & review are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the service, food and quality at the time of visit

Food/ Cuisine: Thai
Dining Style: Restaurant & Bar
Overall Food Rating (Based on the Dining style): 7.75/10
Restaurant ambiance: 7/10 (it does get pretty noisy)
Service/ Attitude: 7/10
Value for money: 6/10

Opening Hours:
Monday to Thursday & Sunday, 12:00pm to 2:ooam
Friday & Saturday, 12:00pm to 3:00am

Address:
Level 1, Curtin House
252 Swanston Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

Tel: (03) 9663 7660

Website: http://www.cookie.net.au/

Twitter: @Cookiebeerhall

How to get there:

Cookie on Urbanspoon

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Chin ChinFlinders Lane, Melbourne CBD

One of the most talked about places in the last two years with no signs of declining popularity has got to be the double Chin.

Thinking about the lines forming around Chin Chin with a minimum 2 hour wait most nights gives me nightmares.

The only option to get a table there with no waiting time is if you turn up at 5.30pm for dinner or 11.00am on Sunday for lunch (that’s my secret quiet time and I think I’ve killed that by putting it up here).

What’s the lure of Chin Chin, I hear you ask?

It’s cool, funky and the food that comes out of its kitchen is fast, fresh and bursting with flavour.

It was also nice to note that the wow factor of the food and the enjoyment of the ambience we had on our very first visit was still encapsulated, not an easy feat to maintain its popularity given that a new funky restaurant opens up around the corner every other month.

On our revisit, the Boy and I ordered the Crunchy School Prawns with Nahm Prik Pla Gapi, Herbs & Crudites ($12.00) as I remembered them as one of the best I’ve had. What I really loved from this dish was the spicy chilli paste! I couldn’t get enough of it and ate it with my bowl of rice! Noms!

We also ordered the “Son in Law” Eggs with Chilli Jam ($8.00) but couldn’t get what was so exciting about this dish (Sh*t Foodies Say :P). It was still nice nevertheless.

And then the best dish of all times came out! Crispy Barramundi and Green Apple Salad with Caramelised Pork, Chilli & Lemongrass ($26.00).

It was sticky, it had pork, it was sweet, it had pork, it was sour, it had pork, it was fresh, it had pork.

That’s pretty much all that went through my head as I ate spoonful after spoonful of it. The barramundi was also very crispy on the outside but tender on the inside.

Such balance in flavours makes you wanting to come back for more after each spoonful.

We also had the Crispy Skinned Duck, Pickled Cucumber & Ginger Salad with Sesame Salt & Fresh Lemon ($33.00) which was delicious but couldn’t match up to the dish we had before. The salad was much the same as the barramundi and pork dish so it didn’t provide us with the wow factor but it was good nevertheless.

All I’m saying is, if you go to Chin Chin and can’t decide what to order, make the crispy barramundi and sticky pork dish the one thing you MUST order :)

*Disclaimer: All food ratings & review are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the service, food and quality at the time of visit

Food/ Cuisine: South-East Asian (mainly Thai)
Dining Style: Restaurant
Overall Food Rating (Based on the Dining style): 8/10
Restaurant ambiance: 8/10
Service/ Attitude: 7.5/10
Value for money: 7/10

Opening Hours:
Monday to Sunday, 11:00am to late

Address:
125 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000

Tel: (03) 8663 2000

Website: http://chinchinrestaurant.com.au/

Twitter: @chinchinmelb

How to get there:

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon

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Red Spice RoadMcKillop St, Melbourne CBD

If you are looking for Asian food which is good and affordable in a cool funky Melbourne establishment, look no further. Red Spice Road (RSR) is definitely the place to visit.

I will suggest that you go for their banquet options and you’d be rolling out the door by the end of the meal.

Food portion is not only generous, the flavours infused in the cuisine served is amazingly delicious and will most definitely whet your appetite.

I’ve had their lunch banquets a couple of times now and each visit did not disappoint. The whole table would be having their own private “moments” before finally admitting defeat to the portions of the food and rolling out the door. But somehow we always have room for desserts!

On our first visit, we had the Betel Leaf topped with Smoked Chicken, Prawn, Chilli, Coriander and Lemongrass as our appetiser. The second time, we had a lovely cup of Tom Kha, a Spicy Coconut Broth with Prawn and Chicken.

I’ve also had the Som Tam – Spicy Green Papaya, Tomato, Snake Bean, Peanut and Dried Shrimp Salad, which would have been better if it was spicier, but all the main elements of a good Som Tam was there.

On to the mains!

Pork Belly with Chilli Caramel, Apple Slaw and Black Vinegar and the Chicken with Cashews, Green Onion, Chilli, Soy and Sichuan Pepper

My favourite dish of all times would definitely be the pork belly dish and I’ve been torn to admit that I can’t choose between the pork belly dish at RSR and Double Chin.

Don’t choose, have both!!!

For dessert, we had the Passionfruit Brulee with Puffed Wild Rice and Coconut Ice-Cream.

The menu changes quite often for the lunch banquet but it all comes from their ala carte menu. I’ve also had the Massaman Curry Chicken and Squid Salad (Yum Talay) which were delicious as well. For desserts I’ve had the Lychee Filled Jam Doughnuts with Cinnamon Ice-Cream and the Choc, Chilli, Mint Parfait with Salted Peanut Caramel, Rice Puffs and Pineapple Sorbet. They are as good as they sound on the menu.

I’ve been there twice now to do their Lunch Banquets and each time I’ve come away extremely pleased, happy and rolling out the door. For the quality and quantity of the food, the lunch banquet option is definitely value for money!

Lunch Banquet options are as follows:

Choose 3 mains and entree $25 per person (minimum of 2 pax) or all 5 mains and an entree $30 per person (minimum of 6 pax).

Banquets are for the entire group only and if you have 12 or more guests, you must participate in a banquet.

They will cater to dietary requirements if you ask and they will allow 5 people to do the 5 main banquet if required.

*Disclaimer: All food ratings & review are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the service, food and quality at the time of visit

Food/ Cuisine: South-East Asian (mainly Thai)
Dining Style: Restaurant
Overall Food Rating (Based on the Dining style): 7.75/10
Restaurant ambiance: 7/10
Service/ Attitude: 6.5/10 (wait staff here can get quite snarky at times, but it does get crazy busy in here)
Value for money: 8.5/10

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday, 12:00pm to 3:00pm & 5:00pm to late
Saturday, 12:00pm to 3:00pm & 6:00pm to late
Closed Sundays

Address:
27 McKillop Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

Tel: (03) 9603 1601

Website: http://www.redspiceroad.com

Twitter: @redspiceroad

How to get there:

Red Spice Road on Urbanspoon

37 Comments

    • I miss you too and I made sure there was Som Tam in there just for you!

      Reply
      • im glad this review had Som Tum, or it wouldnt have been liked :P. *jokes* seems this som tum is missing cherry tomatoes. and the modern ones should have soft shell crabs.

        Reply
        • Oh no! Luckily I love Som Tum!

          Reply
  1. love how you’re compiling them into a post! I have yet to try Chin Chin- I will definitely try the crispy prawn thing!! :D
    Vien recently posted…Koko Black, Carlton

    Reply
    • It’s worth a visit! Yes order the school prawns!

      Reply
    • RSR is definitely worth a visit and Chin Chin for that barramundi and pork dish. Cookie, if you’re feeling particularly rich and wealthy … :P

      Reply
    • It’s just so cute and pretty aint’ it?

      Reply
    • I wanna go Chat Thai! But I never have enough time when I’m over there :(

      Reply
  2. Wow, these sound incredible and I love how healthy they are.

    Reply
    • They are kind of healthy? Really fresh produce!

      Reply
  3. I love thai food! and Chin Chin is a definite winner for me! Can’t wait to head back and try the other dishes that I havent had! hehe Thanks for the wonderful review, Cookie looks good too so might wanna head there to try what they have to offer too! (:
    Lianne recently posted…Prawn Mac N Cheese

    Reply
    • Seriously go try RSR as well! It’s awesome!

      Reply
  4. I’ve never tried Cookie or Red Spice Road…shameful I know! Although I like Thai food a lot, just not what we usually choose when we’re in the city. Must go to them some time. :)

    For some weird reason (I hope it’s just me), I can’t seem to see any of the photos except the last one. :/
    Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake recently posted…Universal Restaurant, Carlton

    Reply
      • Oh hahahah *blush*

        Reply
    • I do love Thai food a lot too!

      Reply
    • You must You must you must! On your week off!

      Reply
  5. Thai food should be tasty, healthy and affordable just like back at home and the establishment should be the same. Cookie was tasty but left very hungry. I’ve heard good stuff about Chin Chin and on the places to dine on the bucket list. this review was very helpful though. thanks

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comments! I love Chin Chin too!

      Reply
    • You’ll be fine if you go off peak times when everyone is working :)

      Reply
  6. You’re having me MA MA MA MA MASSIVE Thai food cravings! And these are all places that I’ve been meaning to try…but the wait really puts me off hahaha i think i’m gonna go to Chin Chin extra early and get the Feed Me menu wakkakakaa

    Great reviews!!!
    Daisy@Nevertoosweet recently posted…New Nest – Two Bird One Stone

    Reply
    • So so so so sorryyyyyy!! I live to give people food cravings :P

      Reply
  7. Awwww man… LOVE your double/tripple whammy posts! Cookie is the only one out of the three that I haven’t tried yet. But, after your “warning”, I don’t think I’m in any hurry at all to try it. I mean, Mod Asian/Thai is not a new cuisine and there seems to be plenty of new places/alternatives so it makes it even harder to justify. Went to RSR and LOOOOOVED it too amagad lah!
    Winston recently posted…Movida Next Door, CBD

    Reply
    • I love my double triple whammy posts too :P

      Reply
    • Thanks Anh!

      Reply
  8. SEE. I’m not the only person who has moments. :p

    Hey, RSR is really reasonably priced. I need to check it out.
    Agnes recently posted…Celeriac and apple soup

    Reply
    • Yeah Yeah yeah… my moments always seem to involve pork!

      Reply
    • Awww thanks Heidi!

      Reply
  9. Haha I know all about being the ‘resident food blogger’ in my work group. I cop a lot of sh*t from colleagues every time I take photos of my dish at work lunches but once they stop laughing, they’re like, ‘Oh, Libby, you want to uh, try some of mine?’ haha score!
    Libby recently posted…Raise the Red Lantern

    Reply

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