A birthday loomed and what better place to celebrate than at Perth’s premier Thai restaurant – Long Chim? We have been regulars here since it opened in the renovated basement of the State Buildings – and on each occasion have been swayed by the unending brilliance of the food. It has no peer. And so it was again…
Starting off with three favourites – of which there are many – Dried Prawns with ginger and coconut in betel leaves, Crunchy prawns and Fish cakes – we were transported to the streets of Thailand.
The dried prawn dish is outstanding – a brilliant blend of Thai flavours and textures – spicy and aromatic – wrapped in fresh betel leaf – roll them up and pop then in the mouth for an explosion of flavour! Sour, sweet, zesty, salty, but as well so fresh and lively…..
The fish cakes here stand alone among similar dishes in Perth – pleasantly spiced with succulent slivers of fish throughout the crisped cakes – a little cooling cucumber and green leaves – perfect expression of the classic dish.
Then the crunchy prawns – whole prawns deep fried with fragrant herbs, shallots and chilli – crunchy indeed, spicy, aromatic – I could eat these every day.
On to the mains and again hard to go past a couple of favourites –Sour Orange Curry of Fish and Steamed Curry of Barramundi.
The orange curry is a wonderful exemplar of all the flavours of Thai food – heat from chilli and ginger, a contrasting saltiness and sweetness from fermented dried shrimp paste, aromatic shallots, tamarind providing sour notes, the broth built on an acidic tomato base, and the fish flaking, moist, tender, juicy; an outstanding example of a classic Thai sour curry. Love it!
The steamed curry is like no other – the barramundi cooked in red curry paste and steamed to the consistency of a large springy cake – cutting into it you uncover luscious, juicy chunks of fish accompanied by the flavours of the red paste – it is quite exquisite.
With these we also ordered a dish of fried rice with crab meat – glistening oily rice, cooked to an al dente firmness, and interspersed liberally with chopped crab meat – salty, tasting of the ocean – beautiful.
And another dish of course – grilled beef salad – rare beef, tender and juicy, sprinkled with crushed roasted rice and chopped coriander, and pimped up with a good dash of Thai spice flavours. A fresh and exhilarating salad.
Desserts beckoned as they always do here – and who can resist the banana roti – crunchy fried roti filled with warmed mashed banana, doused in condensed milk – oh dear this is special.
Then coffee icecream, another excellent dessert, creamy, velvety, refreshing.
With our meals we enjoyed a couple of bottles of Helen Cabernet Merlot from Margaret River’s Howard Park winery – blackcurrant and mulberries on the nose, a touch of mint, followed by a smooth, medium bodied palate of dark chocolate and plums, the flavour generous enough to hold its own with the spice of the food.
So, another year older, and another birthday at Long Chim – if age is wearying me it certainly isn’t Long Chim – the food remains at stratospheric levels – can’t wait to get back, and it won’t be another year that is for sure!