The lowdown on the new bardiner upstairs from Longrain
FINALLY, THE MEAT- ON
STICKS- LOVIN’ folk of Melbourne have been rewarded. Longsong was one of the most anticipated openings of 2016. And of 2017. Which makes it lucky indeed that it snuck in under the chime of midnight to open just before 2018. So was it worth the wait? That’s an emphatic yes from us, although it may have a way to go yet in divorcing itself from anchor tenant Longrain downstairs. The menu proper is something that is not so much Thai or even Thai-ish but a document that might have once been waved in the direction of the kingdom of Siam. Prize recruit David Moyle, late of Hobart’s all-conquering Franklin, leaves the coconut milk and tamarind to the downstairs gaff. Here things are driven by the kitchen’s custom-built stainless-steel brazier, which imparts a smoky heft across everything it encounters. Things on sticks are an unimpeachable part of proceedings. Bouncy duck hearts with a shiver of fresh horseradish are grounded in a Japanese-inflected sauce of mirin and soy. Nublets of lamb similarly boast the spring of the not-overcooked and an earthy dusting of cumin; and squid ink-stained calamari sing of sea and smoke. Chase them with an order of the golden-topped spongy flatbread, glossy and rich with duck fat. Something bigger? How about two split Moreton Bay bugs doused in butter, a whisper of fish sauce, a squeeze of lemon, and a bed of sour sorrel? Or the breast of the whole duck that gave its heart to the skewer cause? The Chinese-style bird is baptised in masterstock over coals, wood grilled to order and served with plum sauce. Both drive home the point that Longsong is about taking good ingredients and not fucking them up. As attests the sole dessert (we’re told the list is growing) of a cheek of mango, its sugars caramelised after an encounter with direct heat, with nothing but a dob of thick yoghurt and a modesty leaf of shiso.