Incredible Thai flavours: Thai street food as Sydney high-end dining
I’ve been awaiting Long Chim’s opening in Sydney. A branch has been open in Perth for a while. In Bangkok, last year, I dined at Nahm, which was incredible. So, David Thompson’s return to Sydney is newsworthy… and exciting.
The flavours are simply wonderful. As recommended by Terry Durack in his review in the Sydney Morning Herald, we tried a mashed shrimp curry, which was so delicious, it had an addictive quality about it. We also had watercress, and an incredible melt-in-your-mouth lamb dish flavoured with cumin.
For starters (above), the shrimp and coconut in betel leaves was perhaps one of the most subtle and complex versions I’ve tried, and the chive dumplings were probably the best I’ve ever had.
Good thing, since they were the most expensive chive dumplings I’ve ever had. And that’s the weird tension for me. When a Siamese watercress costs a buck or two in Thailand, and maybe ten or twelve bucks in a cheap Thai restaurant (except it can be hard to find this dish in Thai restaurants in Sydney), how does one judge an $18 version. The best thing would be to banish all Siamese watercress from one’s mind, and judge the dish on its own merit. And it was, indeed, perfect: still crisp (in a good way), bright green, a few beautiful pieces of chili. A second thing to do would be to consider that $18 is rather cheaper than a thousand dollar return flight to Bangkok.
But it’s hard not to compare prices when the Pad Thai here is $34. Some restaurants I know do a gourmet version of cheap food, so for example a grilled cheese sandwich that has a thin slice of beef tongue and a bechamel sauce along with some really expensive cheese makes it clear that this is no ordinary toasted sandwich. But here, there aren’t bells and whistles in particular. It’s just really, really tasty food, with authentic flavours and high-quality cooking.
Still, I think Sydneysiders will go for it, as folks love Asian food here, and authentic flavours, and enough of them have large disposable incomes. I reckon I’ll return, though banishing the idea of ‘street food’ from my mind, and instead relish the highest quality ingredients and techniques applied to amazing Thai cuisine.
By the way, from the front, the restaurant looks like it might be of modest size, but in fact, on a trip to the loo, I discovered that the place is huge and extends all the way around the back, with ample seating. We found the design and decor stylish and cool. The service was perfect, and two of us had nice glasses of wine to accompany the food.