When it comes to delivering in the heat department: Long Chim definitely packs a punch.
Nestled in the basement of the State Buildings, David Thompson’s Thai street food joint comes with a serious reputation. While it might not be the prices normally associated with this style of food, it ensures that it still delivers with quality produce and flavour.
At the launch party when it first opened I just about burnt my insides on some of their dishes. Though I do love chilli, I knew it was a place that would easily best me. And so I waited… waited for just the right occasion where I could go for a delicious and fiery meal. I found it in October for my partner Jeremy’s 30th birthday. He is a chilli fiend, so I knew it was right up his alley!
But before we headed in, presents were in order. Not just for Jeremy but for our puppy Hugo too who turned one on the same day…
A quick Uber ride later and we were at our destination, guided to a dimly lit table for our cosy lunch.
The menu is the same for day and night, and quite expansive so we took our time browsing while enjoying some of their signature cocktails which really pack a punch.
Our savoury dishes for lunch that day were largely inspired by some of our usual picks when eating Thai food. The fish cakes ($24.00) made for an excellent share entree to begin with: the spicy fish completed by the cool slices of cucumber scattered throughout.
As far as the heat meter goes, most people would find this dish relatively easy to handle. And tasty!
The red curry with roast duck ($39.00) was a standout. Heavily layered in spice; the tender meat was still on the bone. It was a far cry from the often too sweet commercialised version floating about at various local venues. And in case you still wanted more heat, they were some deadly whole chillies ready to make you sweat.
Adding the fried rice with crab meat ($32.00) was after though but ended up being the dish that stole the show. Smoky, abundant with crab, it was vibrant and screamed at me to order another helping. A definite star on an already dazzling menu.
The green papaya salad with peanuts, chillies and dried shrimp ($25.00) came highly recommended but was the low point for us both. Taste wise it was enjoyable enough, but the heavy handed approach with the chilli meant what we had hoped would be a respite from heat ended up contributing further. Another cocktail please! Stat!
While Jeremy had protested he was too full for dessert, I somehow managed to convince him otherwise. I’m so glad I did because they were flawless.
Cripsy roti with banana was for me, heaven sent. Flaky, crunchy and filled with caramelised banana it was sweet but not cloying. I can see why there’s so much hype around this dish.
The coconut with palm sugar was Jeremy’s choice and had a nice, rich flavour go it. Again not too sweet, and the strings of coconut flesh made for a delightful textural contrast. The perfect way to end a special meal while toasting with a glass of bubbly.
Now initially this was where my blog post as supposed to end… But then I found myself back at Long Chim two more times in quick succession. These two visits were at invitation by the State Buildings team, and we tasted a great range of the bar snacks and new cocktails on offer while hanging out in the courtyard.
Cocktails enjoyed included the following:
- A Girl named Rose – grapefruit, mint and rose ($19.00)
- Dragon Eagle – toasted coconut, curry leaf and tequila ($20.00)
- Bangkok Painkiller – mandarin sherbet, coconut, pineapple and rum ($20.00)
- Kafe Mao – thai coffee, condensed milk and vodka ($19.00)
- Jungle Fizz – lemongrass, lime leaf, applejack and bubbles ($19.00)
- Or Tor Kor Mule #2 – flamin ginger beer, thai bitters and lime leaf vodka ($16.00)
The drinks were all punchy and refreshing, just the thing to accompany the heatwave of bar snacks that we shared to dine on:
- Crunchy prawns with herbs, shallots and chillies ($20.00)
- Chiang mai lap of chicken with northern spices and herbs ($20.00)
- Beef skewers with cumin, coriander and turmeric ($18.00)
- Fish cakes with cucumber relish ($24.00)
- Chive cakes with dark soy, garlic and chillies ($18.00)
- Cured pork sausages with ginger and chillies ($22.00)
- Dried prawns with ginger and toasted coconut in betel leaves ($18.00)
- Grilled pork ($18.00)
What a feast!
The thing I love about Thai food is the way every dish has both freshness, depth of spice and flavour, and texture. And of course – being properly focussed on street food from the region, it is eye-wateringly hot.
My favourite dish of the bar snacks is easily the crunchy prawns, though the cured sausage runs a close second. The former is teeming with fresh herbs, the crispy little seafood bites enhanced by the pops of chilli heat. The latter is fatty: deliciously so. The sausages are small and oily – probably the mildest of the dishes on the menu (and a nice relief from the fire building in my mouth).
By far the hottest dish was the larb. It had all of us fanning our faces (some of us demanding milk) and sadly I had to admit defeat on this one! Though a bit of rice ordered did make it slightly easier to eat once mixed in.
So my three visits to Long Chim were all pretty great as you can probably tell from this post. The range of food dishes and drinks we tried all impressed us. I’ve definitely got some favourites under my belt that I’ll return for happily – and feel like I’ve started working my way through the generous menu.
I’m looking forward to hanging out here throughout summer in the courtyard: it feels like just the right spot to while away my weekend afternoons in the sunshine.