This place is hot
YOU’RE quickly aware it’s serious stuff when your food comes with a knowing, heedful warning.
But the staff at Long Chim aren’t mucking around when they tell you the Chiang Mai chicken larp is “very hot”.
The dish of minced chicken, shallots, tiny dried chillies and fresh herbs – served with a basket of raw cabbage leaves to help break from the heat – is undeniably fiery, and chef David Thompson wants it that way.
And is it that sort of judgement that keeps the underground, Bangkok-street vibe going; you’re also shoulder-toshoulder with your fellow diners (much to the chagrin of the middle-aged couple sitting next to us) overhearing conversation and the audible gasps from those brave enough to tackle the larp.
Now, back to that larp. As it hits the palate, the flavours of white and black pepper and mint create a tasty introduction to the dish before the alarm bells start ringing.
Big swigs of Bangkok Painkiller and Or Kor Tor Mule #2, Thai-inspired cocktails by awardwinning mixologist James Connolly and his team, helped extinguish some of the flames.
But having visited Long Chim, which means “come and taste” in Thai, with the full intention to leave with much more than a burning sensation, my eating companions and I soldiered on.
The beef skewer entrée that arrived with our larp refused to be overshadowed, offering up juicy, springy morsels of fatty meat basted in an earthy concoction of spices.
Then came the mains accompanied by a generous serving of fluffy steamed jasmine rice.
The green curry was undeniably moreish. It packs a little heat – which stoked the embers in one of our diner’s mouths – but it was so much more than that, with strips of succulent chicken, Thai eggplant and green chillies drenched in the bright green sauce.
The grilled beef salad was a delightful combination of thick slices of seared marinated beef with string beans and the kingfish was simple but immaculate in its execution.
There was no way we were leaving without a taste of the banana roti and the evening’s special of fresh mango atop a bed of coconutty glutinous rice.
For a couple of minutes that evening, our table fell silent, perhaps to the delight of that middleaged couple.