David Thompson’s masterstroke Long Chim is all about depth. That much has been touted since the acclaimed chef opened this Sydney outpost in 2016, triumphantly returning home after swiftly building up a reputation as one of the world’s leading Thai food chefs.
The shadowy industrial space just off Martin Place is lit like the pulsating and energetic hipster restaurants found in Thonglor, giving Long Chim an effervescent glow that’s as exciting and spicy as most of the dishes on this menu. And it’s this loud, bustling atmosphere that’s perfectly matched with what you’d find on the many plates that speedily switch out in front of you, handled by staff who clearly aren’t here to faff around.
Leave Your Decision Making Hat At Home
Long Chim offers plenty of options, and if you aren’t careful the menu can turn out a bit like a minefield. Some of the stuff on this list is seriously hot, and being the non-Indian-Indian that I am, heat isn’t something I want to run into. Sure, it may have taken away from being truly immersed in the authentic Long Chim experience, but I just cannot handle even the slightest heat. People like me should give ourselves over to the knowledgeable staff, which is exactly what I did.
Ready, Set, Go
Those who are happy hovering around the surface of Long Chim’s dining experience should go straight for the set menu. 9 dishes for $68 per person works out to less than $10 per person, per dish. Which is remarkable value for what you get, starting with moreish spicy (but not too spicy) cashews soaking up the vibrant flavours of tamarind fish sauce, all the way to an unassuming black sticky rice dessert which is has such a big, triumphant profile considering it’s such a small little thing.
Between that is a comprehensive overview of why Thompson enjoys the reputation he does, capturing Thai food’s complexity with share-style dishes like the chicken satay with a chilli sauce that comes at you in waves; a salad of salty, crunchy whitebait with herbs, shallots and chilli; and a set of four exceptional rock oysters elevated by crunchy deep fried shallots and a restrained, but no less delicious sriracha.
The mains haven’t even started rolling out yet and already your palate should be wide-eyed and loving the array of exciting tastes.
The real vision is in the superlative mashed prawn curry with betel leaves, tumeric and coconut cream, which goes down much better than the relatively grounded flavours of a sliced 300g scotch fillet spiced up with tomato relish.
Another highlight is the duck larp with grilled chilli, lime and roasted rice, edging forth as the set’s finest protein-based dish with going particularly well with the side of Siamese watercress and garlic yellow beans.
A bowl of the requisite steamed jasmine rice completes the entire set menu, and should be seen as the backdrop that juxtaposes with the incredible range of flavours sitting on the table.
Overall, Long Chim’s set is a tame ride for Thompson’s otherwise uncompromising version of true grit Thai food. The collection of chef-selection dishes really does seem designed for people like me, those who are adverse to the more piping hot dishes that still sit on the a la carte, dishes like the green chicken curry with Thai eggplant that I can easily spot at almost every surrounding table, smartly placed in the centre of the table so beads of sweat don’t drip down and give the curry a taste of its own sadism.
The set is a great option for those on a budget who still want a good idea of what Long Chim is all about. You’d only be scratching the surface, but you’d still be giving your palate one hell of a workout.
Long Chim’s Set Menu is priced at $68pp, with an additional $30pp if you want to add a drink pairing option. Note that what’s on the set does change, so aforementioned dishes may have been replaced.
Address: Corner of Pitt Street &, Angel Pl, Sydney
Contact: +61 2 9223 7999
The writer dined as a guest of Long Chim. This is not a sponsored post and all opinions are that of the writer’s.
All photos by Jiwon Kim and supplied.