You know how you sometimes hear about a cool new restaurant, really like the sound of it, and vow to go there soon only to realize 5 years and many broken dinner promises later that you still haven’t been?
So what happens when this place you have been meaning to eat at turns out to be one of the best dining options in town? Martin Boetz’s Longrain, Melbourne (the sister restaurant to the Sydney flagship) was that place for us.
From the extremely efficient service, the sexy dining room, the brilliant cocktails, to the sublime Thai food (Martin is David Thompson’s protoge, so you wouldn’t expect anything less), we can’t think of anything we don’t like about this place.
Sure, they don’t take bookings – but as I stated in our post about Izakaya Den, that doesn’t seem to affect us as we tend to eat earlier than most. Even the well-spaced communal seating (the large, private round tables can be booked for parties of 8 or more) doesn’t phase us at all.
Having tried most of the stayers on the menu by now, one of our favourite ways to start the night (after ordering the obligatory cocktails, of course) is always with the Betel Leaves. Given a choice between toppings of “Prawn, Peanuts, Mint, Chilli Paste” and “Smoked Trout, Chilli, Roasted Galangal, Garlic” (all $6 each), we decided to order both. The satay sauce and the kick of the chilli were in perfect harmony with the just-cooked prawn meat, whilst the smoky trout and the salmon roe, galangal and garlic made for a brilliant bite.
Next up for us tonight was the very well priced “Eggnet with Pork, Prawn, Peanuts, Bean Sprouts” ($27.50). A true favourite of ours, it’s a great dish to share, and comes with an excellent side dish of pickled cucumber to take away some of the heat from this spicy eggnet-wrapped delight.
Beyond brilliant both in technique and flavour is the “Salt and Pepper Silken Tofu with Fried Eschalots and Garlic” ($16). As someone who would have never thought of eating a dish entirely based around what is essentially coagulated soy milk, the beautifully crisp coating, well balanced, and extremely delicate dish almost defies belief. The sweet and sour Taramind and Sesame sauce is served on the side so that you can season to your own taste – I love it, but Ritsy prefers to eat the tofu as it comes.
As we like to try at least one thing different every time we go, tonight we ordered the “Sour Orange Curry of King Prawns with Betel Leaf and Heirloom Tomato” ($44) from the specials board. The super prawn-flavoured, aromatic, mildly spiced curry and the heirloom tomatoes were to die for. The fluffy white rice we ordered ($3 pp) was perfect for soaking up all that yummy sauce.
As there were three of us dining, we thought it would be fun to finish with the “Dessert Sample Plate” ($38). With 6 desserts in total, it could have probably fed four!!! All desserts were pretty good – on the night we dined, we received “Vanilla Tapioca with Young Coconut Longan, Passionfruit”, “White Sticky Rice Parcels with Custard Apple, poached in Coconut Cream”, “Taro and Coconut Pudding with Roasted Peanut Ice Cream”, “Pineapple and Passionfruit Sorbet”, “Coconut Jelly”, and a “Caramel Custard”.
Whilst it’s hard to choose a favourite in this, the king of dessert tasting plates (yes, it is better than the one at Gingerboy…just!), my vote goes to the Taro and Coconut pudding. Eeeyum!
We left, as we always do, super full and feeling like we needed to walk all the way home after all that dessert.
Whilst it may not be for everyone, if you even have the slightest liking to Thai food, you’re not likely to do better than to enter the large wooden doors at Longrain.