Sunday, 28 October 2007

Birthday dinner at Longrain followed by ice cream from Fritz Gelato

44 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne (map)
9671 3151

Fritz Gelato
334 Bridge Road, Richmond (map)
9427 9898

Longrain interior

Dad and sister Birdie share the same birthday. We went to celebrate it last Tuesday night at Longrain, the mod-Thai restaurant from Sin City whose Melbourne incarnation I've been wanting to try out for ages. Despite some initial teething problems (when I rang two weeks earlier to make a booking for five people a hostess rather frostily informed me that you have to have a minimum of six people to make a booking... so I asked for a booking for six and oh gosh damn, one of our party was sick on the night so there was just five of us... if you ask me, a minimum of six is just SILLY!), we had a superb night.

Cucumber and elderflower martini at LongrainRed Dragon cocktail at Longrain

Having two cocktails each before we sat down to eat (yes, a tad excessive for a Tuesday night, but hey) probably helped. I had a cucumber and elderflower martini (pictured left) - nice, but I still think Philippe at Gin Palace makes the best cucumber martinis in town - and a Red Dragon (pictured right), a brilliant and outrageous mix of (from memory) chilli vodka, coriander, cranberry juice and strawberries.

Our round table had a marble inner circle that revolved yum cha style, so we ordered five dishes and shared them all. And drank a crispy riesling and a lip-smacking pinot noir.

Eggnet at Longrain

Foodwise, first up was the eggnet filled with pork, prawns peanuts and sweet vinegar. This cold salad was beautifully presented in a 'net' of omelette and was very tasty. It was also the mildest dish of the five, so our palates appreciated getting it first.

Wagyu beef jugle curry at Longrain

The peanut curry of braised Wagyu beef with chilli and Thai basil was next - the meat was wonderfully tender as you'd expect, medium-spiced and with a nice zing at the end.

Salt and pepper barramundi at Longrain

Next was the salt and pepper baby barramundi with sweet soy and lemon. I think the barra was my favourite of the five dishes - the pieces had been fried in the salt and pepper batter but were still light and crispy, with the freshness of the fish readily apparent. The two side sauces, I believe, were mirin-based and chillied plum sauce respectively. And the presentation of the pieces of fish tucked inside the curved fried spine of the fish was awesome!

Steamed flounder at Longrain

Less photogenic is the steamed whole flounder with green chilli peanut nahm jim. It was still really tasty - very nutty and spicy. A pity Birdie pinched most of the sauce! :)

Duck salad at Longrain

Last up was the duck and longan salad, with Chinese celery, coriander and cucumber, with a black vinegar/soy/sugar sauce. Also very nice - the sweet n sour sauce went really well with the duck - but we were getting pretty full by this stage, so weren't able to give this dish the attention it deserved, alas!

Icecream at Fritz Gelato

The family generously offered to drive me home to Cremorne. My brother Buster put in a request to stop on the way for an ice cream at the Bridge Road branch of Fritz Gelato, then persuaded me to get a scoop of their award-winning Pistachio Heaven. I'd never tried pistachio ice cream before, not being a particular fan of pistachios... but WOW, what an amazing taste sensation! Where has pistachio ice cream been all my life?!? The Pistachio Heaven chez Fritz is creamy and honeyed and yet it has this... I don't know... OILINESS that I hadn't tasted in an ice cream before, but it was just delicious!


Jon! said...

Oh my! The cocktails and food look amazing; especially the wagyu curry, barramundi and duck. I have been thinking about trying Longrain for a while now, and your review has helped elevate it too my must try soon list. I love Fritz gelato as well. Great review!

thanh7580 said...

I too have been thinking of going to Longrain lately. I walked past it when I went to Horoki a couple of weeks ago and then last week I went past it again when I went to Ishiya Stonegrill.

The food looks fantastic. Can I ask how much the price per person was. This will help to know which friends to ask to go as some don't like spending too much on their meals.

mutemonkey said...

Thanks, Jon! Glad my review helped you make up your mind. Reading your reviews I'm extremely jealous at the amount of dining at top restaurants you're able to afford - are you an investment banker or something?? :)

Thanh, the prices are listed at - it sure ain't cheap, but the dishes are huge and you're supposed to share them (one entree and one main each would be way too much food)...