Smoke & Mirrors at Sydney's Chin Chin Restaurant

Neon decadence?  Yes please!

I was pretty excited about this booking although I didn't really know what to expect.  Having eaten at Chin Chin before (albeit in Melbourne) I knew the venue would be rocking some pretty cool vibes.

The Smoke & Mirrors experience was set in the basement area of the restaurant.  The venue teamed up with Sydney artist Frida Las Vegas, lover of pop culture and the 80's, to transform the space into a neon concrete jungle.

The tunes of epic 80's anthems filled the air and the neon lit room welcomed you to an oversized communal dining table.  The room was dotted with some very cool velvet covered chairs and sofas all perfectly placed with Frida's neon artworks taking main stage.

Once we were seated and the Rose was ordered the only thing to do was decide on whether we were having al la carte or the set menu.  After a short deliberation we went with the set menu, big mistake!

We didn't bother to ask which dishes were on the set menu and it turned out that pretty much most of the dishes were on the set menu!  Seriously, this was a sight to behold.  Apart from the first entree of kingfish cerviche, not one dish was finished.  We were literally surrounded by dishes and now encroaching on our neighbours dining space.  To be honest I was hoping they'd start digging in to help us out.

I hate to admit it but there were a few dishes that we only managed a mouthful of (just to taste) and nothing more.  Thankfully the friendly staff were very understanding and promptly packed us up with the Worlds largest doggy bag of decadent delights.  Even the special fairy floss topped dessert wasn't finished.

With that done and dusted we decided to head upstairs for a more relaxed beverage.  Whilst the neon lit space was spectacular in its design, it didn't really lend itself to a quiet after-dinner drink.  If we were gearing up to head out after it would have been the perfect party starter.  But alas, we were not.

With such a cool vibe and outlandish design it was a shame that the venue was pretty quiet when we were there.  We had to take a 9.15 pm booking but when we arrived there was a lot of vacant dining space and so it lacked the atmosphere that a neon lit dinner could otherwise provide.  Perhaps although I didn't know what to expect, I was thinking it would be busy, loud and maybe even a little manic.  I do wonder what it was like at the earlier sittings.

My take on it?  Service was good, staff are all happy, funky and very friendly, the food was really tasty and well presented (we just had too much of it) and the neon lit theme is awesome.  Shame about the mild atmosphere on the night.

I wanted to get more pics of the space but the neon lighting was not helping my inner photographer at all.  And rightly so, I do not want to be the person who ruins Frida's awesome display of neon art.


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