Michelin Starred David Thomson – whose Bangkok restaurant Nahm has featured in the world’s top 50 list – marked his long awaited return to Australia with the opening of street food inspired Long Chim in Perth in December 2015. Perth? Yes, perhaps he is trying to help them get over the death of the mining boom, though plans for a Sydney arm are apparently underway (hopefully this is what he was working on that night, as he was frequently checking his laptop in between walking around the restaurant and the kitchen).
Long Chim can be found in the new Cathedral Square precinct; the state buildings, after years of being abandoned, have been bought to life with stunning effect – the hotel features some beautiful rooms – currently with mining boom prices, these may need adjustment – and a few restaurants and bars including Petition, Wildflower and Post. As you walk down the corridor you can see these venues in action, all bustling and busy with Christmas cheer. Head to the basement and you’ll find Long Chim, with its street art walls and shelves of Asian groceries. It has only been open a few days when we try it and already service is quite smooth and the staff attentive.
We opt for a banquet which is a great way to try lots of dishes. We start with dried prawns with ginger, toasted coconut in betel leaves. These have flavour and texture and are a hit at the table.
The beef skewers (with cumin coriander and turmeric) are absolutely delicious and you can imagine eating them on the street in Bangkok
But I find the next dish, crunchy prawn with herbs, shallots & chillies a bit on the bland side, for me its missing something.
The Chiang Mai chicken larp more than delivers on the promised kick and I’m a fan, but find that cabbage leaves are too thick for it and it gets lost inside
The glass noodle salad with minced pork, prawns and squid is beautifully done, fresh and light.
The banquet curry that night is the red curry of roast duck with coconut, thai basil, and kaffir lime leaves. It is fragrant and flavoursome, but I almost wonder if they forgot to put the duck in, so small is the amount of meat.
Tasty sun dried king fish follows, and I love the accompanying lemongrass fish sauce
One of the cheesiest sayings of all time has got to be “the simplest things in life are often the best”, but I have to rip it out for the next dish. It’s a simple Siamese stir fried watercress and turns out to be one of the best plates of the night
The prawn and pork soup is pungent and full bodied.
We finish with a generous individual dessert, some delicious coffee ice cream with crispy sesame seed wafers. I’m a sucker for good ice cream.
Five days in and overall it’s a pretty impressive line up, I’m sure a few tweaks and improvements will happen along the way. David, Sydney CBD awaits.
Long Chim Perth, Basement, Barrack St & St Georges Terrace, Perth Ph (08) 6168 7780