There’s not that many restaurants in Sydney who can lay claim to an almost 20 year heritage, but Longrain can. First opening back in 1999 in a converted warehouse space in Surry Hills, it quickly established its reputation as a high-end Thai restaurant who also served kick-arse cocktails, and that rep has stuck with them to this day.
Always full and buzzing with life, there are two seating options open to you as a diner. Turn right when you enter and there are large communal tables designed for sharing with others, a great way to meet new people if that’s something you like to do over dinner. If you’re more of a ‘stranger danger’ type person - or have a larger group with you - take a left on entry and head to the smaller tables and booths instead. You should probably book if you want one of these though, once they’re all full the wait for an empty one could be a while.
The kitchen is open to the restaurant so you can watch the team of chefs, led by Executive Chef Griff Pamment (ex Rockpool and Billy Kwong’s), dance the kitchen dance like worker bees busily working at their stations to pump out some fantastic dishes.
The drinks menu is curated by owner and restaurateur, Sam Christie. It’s an extensive list which caters for all tastes and is well matched to the dishes. On our visit we enjoyed a few cocktails then moved on to whites to cut through the heat and richness of the dishes we sampled (listed below).
The menu is bursting with flavours and lots of “oh wow, lets try that” options. In the end there were too many to choose from so we threw our hands in the air and let the chefs decide which dishes they’d like to send out. It was the perfect decision because everything was served in a tasting size so we got to sample more dishes than a regular table for two would normally consume – although by the end of the evening we were full to bursting.
We found every dish to be that great balance of sweet, sour, salty and spice that only an experienced team can produce dish after dish. In a city like Sydney where there’s a Thai restaurant in every suburb (sometimes many many more… looking at you Newtown), Longrain is one of the best we’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. The two curries we ate were pretty much perfect. I don’t like chilli for chilli’s sake, preferring to taste all of the other ingredients too instead of just lip searing burn that obliterates your palate for the rest of the meal. These ones were spicy, but with a depth of flavour that let all of the ingredients shine.
It’s hard to decide what our favourite dish was on the night. We’d have to call it a tie between the fresh, salty, crunchy ocean trout tartare with wonton crisps and the rich peanut curry with brisket so tender you can poke it with a fork and it falls apart.
Betel leaf, prawn, peanut, watermelon, mint ($6 each)
Betel leaf, pomelo, coconut, cashew, chilli ($5 each)
Seafood spring roll, Thai basil, sweetcorn, green chilli ($8 each)
Ocean trout tartare, coconut & lime, wonton crisps ($22)
Green curry Queensland kin prawns, Thai eggplant, baby corn, basil ($26/$38)
Peanut curry, Rangers Valley beef brisket, bullhorn peppers ($26/$38)
Yam bean & nashi salad, Thai basil, chilli jam, coconut & lime ($14)
Black sticky rice, passionfruit jelly, vanilla tapioca, seasonal fruit ($12)
Spiced quince, lychee, coconut ash ice cream swirl, butter oat biscuit crumb ($17).
Longrain not only has its HQ here in Surry Hills, Christie has also opened off shoots in both Melbourne, and more recently Tokyo. From all reports we’ve heard here at Scoop, the two out-of-towners are serving up equally as good food as the stalwart.
Feature by Melanie Pike
Images by @joshpikeshots
|85 Commonwealth St|
|Surry Hills NSW 2010|
|+61 2 9280 2888|
Mon – Fri 6pm – late
Fri only from 12pm