Charlong is a cosy, home-style Thai restaurant. Here, co-owner and chef Alex Kaew (Longsong, Rice Paper Scissors, Hochi Mama) wants you give you a glimpse into dining at her grandmother's house.

Kaew grew up in Chanthaburi in eastern Thailand, and often helped out at her grandmother's food stall. Those recipes, crafted around charcoal and wok cooking, were a major influence when designing the menu for Charlong, which is a portmanteau of “charcoal” and “prolong”. But Kaew has also folded in her love for combining Thai and Western ingredients and techniques.

The menu changes with the seasons, but one dish that epitomises Kaew’s passion for Thai and Western cuisines is the king prawn dumplings, transformed into prawn-filled ravioli and served in a tom yum coconut bisque with squid ink caviar. There are also staples like pad see ew, green papaya salad and green curry. A special family highlight is the massaman lamb shank, braised for 12 hours and rubbed with a secret spice marinade, using an original recipe from Kaew’s grandmother.

Warm green walls and wooden finishings give a relaxing, homey feel. A mural by Melbourne graffiti artist ERA1DOG shows a contemporary take on traditional Thai motifs including an elephant with a raised trunk and a Muay Thai fighter. This laid-back feel is designed to offset the beautiful food.

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Updated: July 10th, 2024

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