David Thompson is back, Sydney. Or at least he will be when the country’s second Long Chim opens mid-August in the CBD (Australia’s first Long Chim opened last November in Perth’s new State Buildings precinct).
On paper, the Sydney expansion closely follows the lead of both the Perth restaurant as well as the Singapore mothership at Marina Bay Sands. Seating in the bunker of a restaurant will be spread across a variety of spaces from restaurant through to bar; Siamese-themed cocktails will form a major part of the appeal and an open kitchen will provide plenty of theatre.
The menu, meanwhile, will focus on the country’s dazzling array of street food rather than the more refined Thai royal cuisine dishes served at Thompson’s Bangkok flagship, Nahm. While Long Chim classics like benchmark-worthy red and green curries, house-made sai krok (the famous fermented pork and rice sausage from Thailand’s Issan region) and that infamous larp Chiang Mai – an incendiary jumble of chicken mince, pepper and chilli – will feature on the Sydney menu, Thompson plans on adding a few exclusives to the carte.
“My initial intention for Long Chim’s menu was to have an iron clad replication, but as the project has evolved, I’ve loosened up,” Thompson tells SBS. “Each new venture develops a different aspect of the menu and then it is sown back into the existing places.”
Perth, for instance, was where Thompson developed crab noodles and explored the ideas of the tuck shop as well as office and home delivery services (the Long Chim Perth team are working on a tiffin system, where customers buy a tiffin and drop it into the restaurant in the morning; by lunchtime, they’ll fill it and get it to you. It’s still a work in progress that they hope to roll out by the end of the year; if all goes well, we’ll see that in Sydney, too.)
For Sydney, Thompson says he wants to add more desserts and Thai-style oven-cooked dishes, such as roast duck and roast pork, to the menu, as well as open up the noodle soup section. Like Perth, however, he’ll be starting small and slowly easing the kitchen and diners into the full 50-dish menu. Although Thompson will be importing many of his own Thai ingredients for use in Sydney (he sources his own palm sugar and tamarind), there’ll be a distinct Antipodean twang to project Sydney. Perth-born Annita Potter (executive sous chef for Thompson) and veteran Perth bar manager James Connolly are among the locals helping bring Thompson’s vision for fun, Thai street food (back) to Sydney.
Long Chim opens at Angel Place, Sydney, in mid-August.