When Chef Ashley Richey left Chin Chin to set up Tenpin in Port Melbourne, the city breathed a sigh of relief. Now there were TWO exclusive and utterly delicious SE Asian venues in town. Goodbye queues on Flinders Lane, hello beautiful Port Melbourne views and cocktails spiked with chilli and ginger.
Tenpin has moved into new digs, and the current space suits the menu much better. There's an open, casual vibe, with the obligatory 12-ft Tenpin bowling pin still standing in the corner. The artwork for the bar was ripped from an old pinball machine: all stylized King Kong battles and slick ink-splattered neon. It's a beautiful spot, contemporary and playful, and it matches the food to perfection.
For starters, you can't go past the Gado Gado peanut relish and chunky cassava crackers. A plate of chicken wings is usually also a good plan (you can either go sticky Thai BBQ or crispy-skin with nahm prik mayo). After that it's a tough call. We're partial to the epic sticky braised beef rib with hot and sour kohlrabi salad, but you wouldn't have to twist our arm too much to get us ordering a double helping of the roast duck larb with hot chilli & mint either. Tenpin's re-tzuj'd menu is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, and they're also doing $10 Turkish pizzas on Monday nights. Score.
If you're a fan of Chin Chin (but not queuing for hours) give Tenpin a crack. It's a worthy contender for the title of Best Thai in Melbourne.
Image credit: Michelle Jarni for The Urban List