The February issue

Our clean eating issue is out now, packed with super lunch bowls, gluten-free desserts and more - including our cruising special, covering all luxury on the seas.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller and receive a free Gourmet Menus book - offer ends 26 February 2017.

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

With Long Chim Perth, David Thompson is back in Australia - and he's not happy

David Thompson at Long Chim, Perth

David Thompson at Long Chim, Perth

David Thompson is back. And he's not happy. Yet.

David Thompson is looking for a good root. High-grade turmeric, to be exact. The chillies and limes he has found in Perth, meanwhile, aren't as fragrant as what he's used to back home in Bangkok, while the coconuts in the kitchen smell like "an old man". In short, things are proving interesting for the Sydney-born chef as he prepares to open his first restaurant on Australian soil in 20 years. "Nothing's the same," he laments. "I don't have my ingredients. I'm going to die."

But if anyone can pull it off, it's David Thompson, one of the most respected interpreters of the food of Thailand in the world. At least that's what his partners at Long Chim are hoping, anyway. Opening 1 December at Perth's newly restored State Buildings, Long Chim - the second restaurant under that name following the opening of a Long Chim in Singapore in February - marks the return of one of Australia's favourite food exports. And while Thompson might be dissatisfied with some of the contents of his shopping basket, it's a pleasing sign that compromise won't be on the menu.

What can diners expect from this homecoming? Space, first and foremost. Seating 170, Long Chim isn't what you'd call a small or intimate restaurant - and that's before you factor in the courtyard.

Although Thompson made his name cooking Thai royal cuisine at Sydney's Darley Street Thai in the 1990s, Long Chim's menu is grounded in Thailand's more robust Chinese-influenced street food: smoky stir-fries, luscious roast meats and plenty of things grilled over charcoal, all spiked with no small amount of spice.

The restaurant will be making its own coconut cream, plus the durian ice cream has made the journey across the Gulf of Thailand, too. But perhaps most exciting is the news that Long Chim will be producing its own kanom jeen, Thailand's fermented rice noodles and a cornerstone of the lunch menus at both the Singapore restaurant and Nahm, Thompson's flagship restaurant in Bangkok.

"I want Long Chim to be faithful to the streets, markets and, occasionally, gutters of Bangkok," says Thompson. "It's not going to be gentrified cooking, but food that's as raw, rude and robust as what you'd find in Bangkok."

Although Thompson has a clear vision of the restaurant's direction, it's very much a case of easing into things. When Long Chim opens next month, it will serve a restricted menu before launching the full monty in January. The kitchen will be open from lunch through till late seven days a week and Thompson will be calling Perth home till at least March. He has cancelled commitments in Europe - including speaking at the Madrid Fusion culinary conference - to give his new restaurant his full attention.

"It's a long commitment, but it's important to get it right," he says.

"I don't want to f--k around and not put in the right amount of care and diligence to Perth and Long Chim. In six months' time we'll find our feet. And our roots."

And what of those tantalising rumours that Thompson is looking to open additional Long Chims throughout the country? "I can't tell you," he says, nodding his head.

Long Chim, basement, State Buildings, cnr St Georges Tce & Barrack St, Perth, WA


Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
Toby Wilson, Sean McManus and Jon Kennedy to open Bad Hombres
16.02.2017
What’s happening in South Yarra?
15.02.2017
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival’s chef collaborations
14.02.2017
Hot Plates: Long Chim, Melbourne
14.02.2017
Eleven Bridge’s bar menu returns
13.02.2017
Hot Plates: Vaquero Dining, Albion
09.02.2017
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

You might also like...

Australian chefs to follow on Instagram in 2013

There are a lot of food shots on Instagram: the good, the ba...

Where our chefs want to eat

We asked Australia's leading chefs to name the restaurants t...

Hot 100 2015 - Restaurant news

The world is getting hotter and we’re not talking about glob...

What the hell is Gelinaz anyway, and why is it shuffling?

On the eve of the second outing of one of the world’s strang...

Grant Achatz interview

Pat Nourse talks to the chef of Chicago’s Alinea ahead of hi...

Nahm named best restaurant in Asia

The 2014 50 Best Restaurants in Asia were unveiled this week...

Restaurants cooking with seaweed

With its complexity in flavour and texture, seaweed is the c...

On the pass

Tell us about Tomahawk’s menu, Ali...

S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015

A mighty fine plate of beef short ribs with roast celery vin...

Dan Barber talks sustainable food

Farm-to-table is a neat catchcry but, argues Dan Barber, one...

Alessandro Pavoni, Ormeggio, Sydney

You’ve just released your first cookbook, a tribute to Lomba...

The 2016 GT Restaurant Guide Top 100

Here's the list of our 2016 Restaurant Guide Top 100. How ma...

First look: 108 at Noma, Copenhagen

Rene Redzepi may be headed to Sydney next month, but he's ba...

Party-starting playlists

Music is a key ingredient that can turn your party from good...

Edible seaweed guide

With its complexity in flavour and texture, seaweed is the c...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×