Longrain – Sydney

85 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills

www.longrain.com.au

Continuing our mission to try all things Thai in Sydney led us inevitably to Longrain, the one hat restaurant as famous for its cocktails as much as its food. It was a Tuesday so we were well behaved and let the cocktails be. My wife though continues to be amazed at my transformation from someone who’d previously dismissed Thai food out of hand to someone who can’t get enough. The cuisine in Sydney really is a different level to what I’ve had previously.

My first visit here and I was impressed by the layout and sense of space, which was not apparent from outside. The normal horror of shared tables did not materialise as the other diners are just out of arms reach across the table and its possible to be on a date without professing your love to the world. The lighting is also nicely seductive, but makes photo taking very difficult. Hence the shoddy quality of the below…

The menu full of sharing dishes is not really to my liking, but we had a fun, engaging waiting who was happy to give some half portions of curries. I guess this makes sharing a little easier.

 

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We begun with a salad of crispy duck, fish sauce, green mango and basil. This was a great start. A good balance of textures, with a nice sharp & sour kick. The duck itself was cooked on the bone, fat and all. It made the sharing in the dim light a little tricky, but we each had our equal share.

 

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We followed with a curry dish – braised beef shin with chilli & coriander. (Trust me it’s there in the photo….) The meat was really unctuous and spoon soft. The ‘gravy’ (!) was molasses sweet and soothing in its own way. It would have made a handy soup since there was a lot of it.

 

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Our final main dish were trout fillets wrapped in banana leaf with red curry young coconut & roasted rice. You can just about make it out…. Trout is great fish, but here it was beaten into submission by a really heavy spicing, which essentially destroyed all flavour. I expected subtlety and range of flavours,but they were non-existent and masked a lovely moist fish. It wasn’t even a dish which were inclined to finish, which says a lot.

 

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We finished with a Som Tum (as you do). This pretty much always lives up to expectations. This variation had a gentle beginning and a mighty kick after a few mouthfuls. It was a fine example.

 

We expected a lot from Longrain and it didn’t really live up to expectations. A couple of the dishes were very good, but the fish was a real disappointment. Though I’m prepared to put this down to poor ordering, it shouldn’t really happen in a restaurant of this calibre. This brings me to the pricing which hoffers around $40 a dish. At this price the expectations are high and it doesn’t quite meet them when compared to the value of Sailors Thai.  At the price it’s easy to hit $140 without trying and it needs to be a little better at this point.

I’ll go back, but it’s got some questions to answer.

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