What to order at Long Chim, Perth

David Thompson's new Australian restaurant opens next week in Perth. Here's what's cooking.

The staff at Long Chim aren't kidding when they say the Chiang Mai-style larp is hot. It might just be minced chicken, dried chilli and white and black pepper, but it'll take your breath away. Literally. It's typical of the uncompromising approach David Thompson takes to Thai cookery, and one of the early stand-outs on the opening menu at Long Chim, the Sydney-born chef's first Australian restaurant in 20 years, and one of the most talked about openings of the year.

While we'll have to wait till January for the restaurant to launch its full menu, there's more than enough on offer now for Thai food fanciers to get excited about. Take the sai krok, a fermented pork and rice sausage from the Isaan region in Thailand's north-east. Sour and porky in equal measures, it's the stuff Siamese beer-snacking dreams are made of. Elsewhere on the canapé selection, betel leaf parcels filled with house-dried prawns, ginger and toasted coconut equals Australia's new miang kham to beat, while skewers of beef flavoured with cumin are suggestive of the treats we can expect once the grill due to open in the courtyard before year's end really fires up.

Green chicken curry might seem a pedestrian offering, but Thompson's version is anything but generic. Loaded with galangal, green scud chillies and pea and apple eggplants, it's also anything but subtle: approach with caution. The red prawn curry makes for a less eye-watering introduction to the carte, while a deeply flavoured pork and minced prawn soup proves there's more to Long Chim than just explosive amounts of chilli.

Veteran bar manager James Connolly oversees a menu of refreshing, spice-friendly cocktails like the Sapporat Sazerac and Or Tor Kor Mule #2, a Moscow Mule fragrant with kaffir lime. Wine-wise, Nahm general manager Greg Plowes (a winner of GT's Sommelier of the Year award) has put together a tidy list rich in delicious whites and light-bodied reds. Package all this in a hip, urban basement setting and you're looking at the makings of a very fun, very loud and very good time. Remember, remember the first of December: the fireworks are coming.

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


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