A Night Out in Melbourne
Melbourne is just like NY in terms of food and drink options so it was really hard to decide where to go but we ultimately landed on Flinders Lane for dinner at Chin Chin and cocktails at Eau de Vie which fit the needs for Julison the best.
Chin Chin specializes in southeast Asian fusion cuisine, whisky cocktails, and a really long wait. They make it easy though since you can grab cocktails at their basement bar, GoGo, and they'll call you when your table is ready. They even have proper little tables you can sit at around the bar which makes it comfortable while you're passing time. We sampled 2 drinks during our wait. A tasty yet strong ginger whisky cocktail and a refreshing watermelon crush mocktail with mint.
After 45 minutes, they seated us at the bar overlooking the chef station which is always fun since you can watch them prepping the food. Chin Chin's mascot seems to be a gigantic bunny which you see sprinkled throughout the restaurant including your placemat menu.
They have an extensive menu and dishes are meant for sharing so portions are pretty hefty. We tried their signature Crispy Skinned Duck, Wok Fried Veggies, and of course rice to balance it out. The duck was stir fried with bok choy, black mushrooms, and lap cheung. Overall tasty but honestly very salty. The veggies were really good though and included baby corn, bok choy, mushrooms, green beans, cashews, and soybean sprouts stir fried with sambeol for a spicy kick.
EAU DE VIE
Around the corner from Chin Chin is Eau de Vie, a secret cocktail bar behind an unlabeled door. Like most cocktail bars, they have a variety of options depending on if you want something more traditional, floral, or something that will make hair grow on your chest. The presentation of the cocktails are quite fun with the majority coming out in science beakers and incorporating nitrogen gas smoke so a puff comes out when pouring it into your drinking glass. They also have a "bookcase" wall which doubles as a sliding door revealing a private party room. My favorite cocktail of the entire evening was their signature Smokey Rob Roy which mixes different whiskies, cigar infused Zacapa rum, vermouth and orange bitters. The drink comes served under a cloud of wood smoke as your drink comes in a glass beaker with your actual drinking glass turned down over smoky wood chips. I also tried a vodka version of Essence #2 which comes with rosemary and thyme - very simple. Alison doesn't drink but they were accommodating and made Alison a custom mocktail which was very nice, but seemed more like a glorified Caprisun with mint over ice.
All in all, a great evening of Flinders Lane exploration.