David Thompson is coming home. The encyclopedic expert in Thai cuisine, and world-renowned non-Thai Thai chef is returning to Sydney to open the third edition of Long Chim. “I'm really looking forward to opening a place in my hometown. It's been quite some time,” says Thompson, whose last local venture was setting up Sailor’s Thai in 1995. Like its counterparts in Perth and Singapore, the new Angel Place Long Chim will serve the same brand of Thai street food and Asian-inspired cocktails.
“What we're trying to do is offer street food as you'd find in Bangkok,” says Thompson. “This is food people eat on the streets, whether they're Thais or Westerners. It's acceptable food. It's food that's meant to be enjoyed.” That means it’ll be markedly different from the old-fashioned, esoteric Thai food from Thompson’s internationally lauded Bangkok restaurant, Nahm.
It’s the same brief for the fit-out. The large, underground restaurant and bar won’t have an industrial or minimal theme (as is the current trend) but graffiti, communal tables and bar stools. Thompson says the design, developed with The Gentry’s Kelly Ross, will be ad hoc. “There will be graffiti on the wall, exposed bricks, a few tiles here and there and Thai art all over the place,” he says.
The menu will be mostly an exact replica of the other restaurants’; mostly recognisable dishes from the Australian-Thai vernacular, but with a distinct lack of shredded carrot, zucchini or any other ingredient not readily available on the Bangkok streets. “All I'm going to do is get really good ingredients and cook as it's cooked on the streets. Having lived in Bangkok for roughly 30 years now, I've got a pretty fair idea of what that'll be,” says Thompson.
In the future the Sydney menu may take on its own identity, but that will depend on the local produce. “We might be taking advantage of some of the seafood on the east coast, and I'll have a look at what vegetables are grown locally. Once I do that, we'll start to explore.”
Long Chim is slated to open in Angel Place in mid-August.