This place is hot

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Food - with Ary­lene West­lake-Jen­nings

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.

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