Prep your chilli tolerance for a visit to David Thompson's Thai fine dining restaurant.
So you love Thai food, do you? Well, if you're counting those creamy curries or sugar-laden stir-fries as fine examples of the cuisine, chances are you probably haven't even tried it. That's where Long Chim comes in. Sydney's latest fine dining Thai joint prides itself on serving authentic Thai street food which hasn't been watered down or sweetened up. It is hot. You will cry. But we'll be damned if this isn't the closest we've come to getting the real deal in Sydney.
As to be expected from someone like David Thompson (ex-Sailors Thai and Michelin-starred Nahm) the Long Chim menu bears little resemblance to the paper flyer of Thai lunch specials you would usually find in Newtown. Gone are the spring rolls and moneybags with sweet chilli sauce and in their place is a selection of exciting, explosive and powerfully pungent plates, unlike anything you've ever tasted. Unless you've been to Thailand and eaten their native foods. Then they taste like that.
We start with the spicy pork with rice cakes in betel leaves ($18) and are immediately struck done by the sour lime, salty fish sauce and the excruciatingly hot smoked black chillies. Tears are shed — both of joy and pain. But mostly pain (I repeat, do not rub your eyes!). Whether or not this dish has been used for torture by the Thai military is still yet to be confirmed.
However, the advantage of burning the lining of your throat early is that the rest of the menu becomes a bit more manageable. Highlights include the stir-fried mussels with chilli jam and Thai basil ($30), a tasty aromatic swamp of galangal, lemongrass and tamarind, and the rice noodles with charred hunks of beef, caramelised onions and Thai basil ($33) which has the intense smokiness of a fiery pan.
Standout desserts include the Thai coffee ice cream with corn, coconut, sesame seeds and peanuts ($14) and the grilled sticky rice with banana, wrapped and baked in banana leaf to produce a wonderfully caramelised natural pudding ($8).
Another point that sets Long Chim apart is its extensive selection of beers, wines and cocktails that go well beyond Singha and Tiger. There's a magnificent Thai Basil Smash ($19) made with lime and red chilli (what can I say, I'm a sadist), however the Bangkok Painkiller ($20) made with mandarin sherbet, coconut, pineapple and rum makes a delicious cold compress, perfect for lingering mouth wounds.
So there you have it — it may not be quite what you expected, but Long Chim is definitely the hottest place in town. And as well as being open every night for dinner, they've also started weekday lunch service, just in case you need a kick in the butt by way of chilli around midday.