What to order at Longrain

Published on 5 November 2020

Photo: Smashed prawn curry (credit: Pete Dillon)

The inside word on the menu at the revamped Longrain, now under the direction of Scott Pickett.

Longrain has been delivering the goods for 15 years when it comes to serious Thai food in Melbourne. This year saw a changing of the guard, as Scott Pickett took over in July from previous owners Lisa and John van Haandel. Loyalists will be glad to hear the Longrain signatures are still on the menu. Any Pickett changes have been subtle: a pop of finger lime here, a tweak to presentation there, a focus on longer and slower cooking times. Here operations manager Natasha Firman, a Longrain alumna since 2005, tells us what to spring for on the current menu.

How about a drink?

You can’t go past a Ping Pong. This cocktail has been on the menu since 2005 and is the essence of Longrain, encapsulating the flavours of Southeast Asia in a glass – lychees, passionfruit and fresh lime, mixed with lemon-infused vodka. It’s refreshing, fun and delicious.  

I’m here for a good time not a long time.

Order a selection of small bites to share: oysters with finger lime and ma kweng pepper; betel leaves stuffed with seared scallop, galangal, finger lime and salmon roe; and chargrilled Sher wagyu skewers. Add a glass of rich, toasty and bright Devaux Champagne followed by a glass of Memento riesling from King Valley and you’re on your way to a great night. 

Got anything light and fresh?

Try our take on the Thai street food snack, yum khao tod. It includes lightly curried rice that’s rolled into balls and fried before being broken apart and mixed lightly with minced pork. A salad of coriander, ginger, mint and chilli brings plenty of lift. Chef Arté Assavakavinvong has tweaked this dish to be a main course that’s light, fresh and spicy. I love the texture – each mouthful has a little crunch from the rice balls plus loads of fresh herbs and tasty pork.

I like tasty food but I don’t eat animals.

There’s a reason our salt-and-pepper tofu has been on the menu for 15 years. We use silken tofu and finish the dish with crisp shallot and sweet soy – it creates a wonderful balance between delicate texture and big flavour. We have lots of other no-meat options, too, including a vegan banquet menu.

Name the dish that’s quintessentially Longrain.

The eggnet filled with prawn, pomelo and bean shoots is Longrain. It’s the most Instagrammed and talked-about dish on the menu. We tallied the total number of eggnets we sold at our Sydney location and it was 218,400 over 20 years.

And to close?

The duck-egg caramel custard with rhubarb and frozen citrus. This is a Longrain classic that’s been given a little Scott Pickett touch: citrus segments that have been frozen with liquid nitrogen. The rest of the dish is a brulée made with duck egg for extra richness, finished with palm-sugar caramel and topped with the citrus. We haven’t used liquid nitrogen in our kitchen before.

Let’s go big, let’s go crazy. What have you got for me?

The Royal Banquet is our deluxe menu for those that want to settle in for a good time. We’ve added a few exciting new dishes but my favourite is the spanner crab lon with lemongrass and sea blite. It’s a take on Scott’s signature dish at Matilda, the Flinders Island spanner crab with prawn butter and flatbread, but executed here with Thai flavours and a fried bun. Lon is a delicate relish that’s usually served with raw vegetables. For this dish, we make ours with spanner crab, chilli and herbs in a gently simmering coconut milk. Another highlight on the banquet menu is the black rice, mango and coconut layer cake. There are layers and layers of wafer-thin crêpes made with black sticky rice flour; in between are coconut mousse and mango cream. It’s a real show-stopper.

Longrain, 40-44 Lt Bourke St, Melbourne. Tues-Thurs 5pm-10pm, Fri & Sat 5pm-11pm. longrainmelbourne.com.au

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