Longsong opening date, details announced

David Moyle

David Moyle

David Moyle returns to Melbourne to open a bar and eatery atop Longrain.

Longsong, perhaps one of the more aptly named Melbourne openings of late considering its long lead time, will finally open its doors on 3 November in the former horse stable above Longrain, with ex-Franklin chef David Moyle overseeing the more casual sister venue. The Thai influence will be subtle, with Moyle clear that Longrain and Longsong are two very different beasts.

"I didn't want a split-level restaurant," he says. "The concepts sit separately, but always with consideration to each other."

Originally slated to open a year ago, Longsong marks the reunion of Moyle with restaurateurs John and Lisa van Haandel, who he worked for at Circa in St Kilda and Pacific Dining Room in Byron Bay. Wine writer Mike Bennie will oversee the new venue's drinks program, which includes custom distillations and an extensive range of tap wines and house shrubs.

Not quite a restaurant but not your average bar, Longsong has room for 250 and revolves around a single piece of kitchen equipment: a three-metre grill.

The menu is divided into snacks and feasts "and there's no in between", Moyle says. 

Snacks are predominantly skewers "that you can eat when you're leaning up against a wall", and will include everything from organ meats to skin, while the large-format choices include whole ducks and fish, pork belly, or perhaps a whole smoked octopus. Moyle says the meats will be roasted whole and then held over smoke, similar to Chinese barbecue, while whole vegetables will be cooked over coals overnight, seasoned with seaweed or dried herbs and served with pickles, relishes or pastes. Wallaby jerky, pickled eggs and oysters are also part of the equation.

From left: John and Lisa van Haandel, David Moyle

Bennie's drinks offer will highlight the local and bespoke, with custom spirits such as a strawberry and sour-mash creation from Melbourne Moonshine and a Davidson's plum vermouth by Maidenii, which will be used along with house shrubs as the building blocks of Spritzes and punch bowls. The rest of the list pays homage to Victorian producers, with a tap-wine selection that includes bespoke drops from Jamsheed, Arfion and Côtier, and beers from the likes of Stomping Ground and Sailors Grave. More than half the bar's taps will be devoted to wine, while the offer by the bottle runs to imports like Cellers de Can Suriol cava and Bryan MacRoberts blends from Swartland.

"We wanted a mix of exciting wines that are more readily found on high-end restaurant lists, not necessarily in bar settings," Bennie says.

JCB Architects' design divides the enormous space into a smaller full-service section with tables that can be booked, and a much larger area with plenty of standing room, ledges for leaning on and a corner terrace with concertina windows. The original brick floors still bear marks from horse's hooves, while resin tabletops in green, orange and white inject a contemporary feel.

"We're providing a dining experience that we find ourselves using more and more. It's less formal - you'll be able to drop in at any time," Moyle says.

Having waited this long, we think we'll be visiting regularly over summer.

Longsong, upstairs, 40-44 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, Vic, longsong.com.au; Mon-Sun 4pm-late.


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