Powerful, fresh flavour combinations fill the small yet slick menu at Martin Boetz's Longrain. The restaurant’s modern take on Thai food ensures there's a constant full house at this 110-year-old converted warehouse in the heart of Surry Hills. It's been that way since 1999.
On entering, you're presented with two options. To the right, a frenetic room is packed with people seated around three enormous communal wooden dining tables. To the left, an elegant room with pod-like booths and individual round tables offers a more sophisticated experience. There's also a private dining room hidden behind a slatted wooden wall, which comfortably sits up to 18.
Dishing up a modern Asian menu characterised by a blend of Thai and Chinese influences, food is designed to be shared and eaten with jasmine rice, combining sweet, spicy and sour flavours. Staples include an aromatic green curry with brisket, Thai eggplant and Thai basil; a spicy papaya salad with dried shrimp and peanut; and sambal prawns stir-fried with chilli, coriander and corn.
Sommelier Sam Christie oversees a considered drinks list to complement the fiery flavours. Go simple with a 4 Pines Kolsch or other local beer; or mix it up with a Bloody Longrain (vodka, nahm jim, coriander root, chilli, lime and tomato juice).
The wine selection focuses on light, drinkable styles such as riesling, pinot noir and gamay, with nods to small, upstart makers such as South Australia's Ochota Barrels. On Sunday and Monday nights you can do your own booze matching, with BYO for $10.