Melbourne is a foodie city, both a blessing and a curse for burgeoning restauranteurs who need to be a cut above to make the cut. But if all the requisite elements align – if good food meets good design and is backed by adequate publicity – then a restaurant’s name will become part of the touted household lexicon in Melbourne.
Chin Chin, a bubblegum-bright Thai restaurant from the scene-dominating Lucas Group, is one of the restaurants that has well and truly established itself as a household name in the southern capital. And now, it’s brought its one-two punch of fine food and savvy design to Sydney’s foodie epicentre, Surry Hills.
Designed by interior designer George Livissianis, Chin Chin’s Sydney iteration is located on the ground floor of the heritage-listed 100-year-old Griffiths Teas building.
The design team behind Chin Chin’s latest outpost, which opened yesterday, have blended the building’s heritage with something a little more modern. The restaurant consists of two main spaces – a 160-seat restaurant and a 100-seat bar – which have retained original features of the building, such as its façade and floorboards. Many of the table tops are also made of recycled timber beams.
The restaurant itself features white walls, and blonde timber and stone finishes. Natural light is maximised through the large original windows. In addition to the restaurant and bar is Chii Town, an events space and private dining room for up to 125 people. The rest of the project has been designed with a darker palette of marble, charcoal and steel.
"Of course, we're giving it a 21st century overhaul, but we've taken great pains to preserve the original elegance of the building," Chin Chin’s owner, Chris Lucas, told the Australian Financial Review. "If it's been here for over a hundred years, one assumes it's done something right."