Good thaimes at Longrain

by Forager on May 13, 2009

Yes, clearly I couldn’t help myself when the opportunity presented itself to take a stab at a Thai pun name.

Oh, I’m not making fun of Longrain – we’re great friends – we go way back. Before I discovered the tasty Thai fare there, I discovered their very delectable Bloody Mary. It’s the Bloody Mary that I compare all other Bloody Marys to. In fact, there very well might be a dedicated post(s) about my Bloody Mary obsession in the future… but before I digress any further – let me get back to the important matter of food.

When a very close friend slaving away in faraway Boston came back for a short holiday, it was long overdue for a catch up to make up for lost time. Given we’re so spoilt for good food in Sydney – I let him choose the cuisine he missed and desired the most. For him, the answer was clear: Thai. Apparently you can’t get good Thai food in Boston. Similarly, the answer for me was clear: let’s go to Longrain.

I must admit, I’ve partaken in a few long boozy Friday lunches at Longrain until the dreaded GFC hit. So as a small group of us met outside Longrain for a long and lazy Friday lunch, I felt an odd sense of nostalgia wash over me, like walking into the open embrace of a grateful old friend. But it’s probably best for my waistline (and my liver) that I don’t get to indulge as much as I used to… *sigh*

But it hasn’t been so long a break between Longrain lunches that I’ve forgotten my favourite dishes there so I am quick to order a round of betel leaf entrees to start. The betel leaves are topped with prawns, peanuts, roasted coconut and ginger and make for a messy but tantalising mouthful of fresh Asian herb flavours and crunchy textures.

Next we have the signature dish, the eggnet with pork, prawns, peanuts, bean sprouts and sweet vinegar. It’s a feast for the eyes and plunging your utensils through the fine lacework of the eggnet always results in a satisfying audible crunch. Like the betel leaves, there are plenty of fresh flavours and crunchy textures in this dish, although on previous occasions I thought this dish was excellent, that day we thought the flavours could have been slightly bolder without detriment. The abundance of bean sprouts tangled through the salad like pick-up-sticks does make the task of guiding in each mouthful whilst avoiding smears of sauce along your chin and cheeks a difficult task indeed – but rest assured, the atmosphere at Longrain is relaxed enough to allow for loud chatter and casual backhand wipes of stray sauce smears.

From the specials menu we ordered the minced pork and kingfish larb with vietnamese mint and roasted rice out of curiosity since you don’t see many fish larbs on menus and boy am I glad we did! It was one of the best larbs I’ve ever tasted. The flavours were well balanced and the addition of fish lifted the heavy and oily flavours of the pork. Simple and delightful!

Lastly, we had the Southern Thai lamb curry with roasted coconut, fried eschalots and pickled ginger. The curry was creamy with just a hint of spicyness and lamb was molten tender. We all had seconds and then thirds of the generous dish mopped up with plenty of fragrant steaming rice.

For my good friend craving Thai – Longrain helped me deliver the results we needed. It’s superb Thai food you can rely on for consistency, stylish interiors, great atmosphere and attentive service. Just the type of experience you need to remind friends how good the Sydney lifestyle is, how spoilt for food choice we are and why they really are missing out if they’re not here.

85 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills; (02)9280 2888
Open for lunch Mon – Fri 12pm – 2:30pm; open for dinner Mon – Sat 6pm – 11pm.
(There’s also a Melbourne branch on Little Bourke Street)

Foodie in the know:
Did I mention they make a mean Bloody Mary? If you end up waiting for a table – try one! If you think you know of a better one (not the one at Jimmy Liks – I know about that one) by all means – let me know!

View Longrain Restaurant & Bar in a larger map

This post is dedicated to the very smart crew I lunched with that day. Dr. Bendy – good luck in Boston, but maybe move to San Fran – better food and weather – it’s a no-brainer! Dr. and Dr. Sierro – congratulations!!

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 jem May 13, 2009 at 11:27 am

god your photos always make me hungry! from now on; I shall not check your blog before lunch time!!!

thanks for the great article on the Longrain; I’m definettly trying “Southern Thai lamb curry with roasted coconut, fried eschalots and pickled ginger” next time… love creamy curry…

hmmm… shall have coffee to kill my hunger now!!!


2 Simon Food Favourites May 13, 2009 at 11:36 am

mmmmmm Longrain. many fond food memories from this place, especially the soft shell crab and salt and pepper barramundi. i’ll have to try the Bloody Mary next time when i’ve saved a bit of money to visit again. Eggnet dish challenge was on Masterchef last nite too hehe
s :-)

3 Stephcookie May 13, 2009 at 12:15 pm

The food looks mouth-watering! I especially like the sound of the roasted coconut in the lamb curry. I bet there will be an increase in demand for the eggnet dish because of last night’s Masterchef episode 😉

4 Betty May 13, 2009 at 12:45 pm

The food looks amazing! Making me hungry!

5 Iron Chef Shellie May 13, 2009 at 2:08 pm

I can’t wait to try Longrain in Melbourne, especially after last night’s episode of master chef when they made the eggnest….mmmm

6 Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella May 13, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Great photos! I like the layout of them too :) Ahh I have many fond memories of boozy corporate lunches and one of them was here. Their cocktails are great and I spent a lot of time perched in their cocktail bar!

7 Forager May 14, 2009 at 12:03 am

Hey Jem – We don’t go to Longrain often enough anymore. We should go splurge one day :)

Hey Simon – Isn’t the soft shell crab delicious? But then, I am a bit partial to crab.. At risk of over-selling, next time you’re there do try the bloody mary and let me know what you think. It’s not a conventional version – it’s a Thai version.

Hey Stephcookie – I would’ve had no idea Longrain was on Masterchef if it weren’t for the twitter feeds. I can’t watch it until the Martini Club battle is over and we’re down to the final 8. I watch it now and instantly think “you’re out, you’re in etc..” Great idea for the sponsoring restaurants to get some press coverage!

Hey Betty – :) I must be used to it. My desktop background is a massive tonkatsu so I’m always staring at food and constantly hungry..

Hey Iron Chef Shellie – I think sales and bookings at Longrain just skyrocketed!

Hey Lorraine – Thanks! Bought a new lens for my camera and I’m still a little enamoured with it. *Sigh* those were the days huh? Bring back the boozy corporate lunch I say!

8 Arwen from Hoglet K May 15, 2009 at 7:30 pm

The food looks great. Tender curry, spicy larb, crunchy entree – I don’t know what I’d like most. Reading when I’m hungry is a mistake!

9 Y May 15, 2009 at 10:36 pm

I had a very nice caprioska at Longrain once. The food is pretty good too, but I often find it a bit too sweet for my tastes.

10 Forager May 16, 2009 at 10:35 am

Hey Arwen – I know what you mean! Reading all the other foodblogs out there just makes me constantly hungry!

Hey Y – Too sweet? I know what you mean – Longrain is fine for my palette but I often find the pad thai at many Thai places too sickly sweet for me. Thanks for visiting!

11 SMei May 22, 2009 at 11:46 pm

It was a lovely lunch. Thanks for capturing it so perfectly!

12 Forager May 23, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Hey SMei – Always a pleasure lunching with good company :)

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