WE are really blessed here in WA.
My good friend Bondy (not related to Alan but James was her dad!) visited from Darwin recently. Wow, a visitor.
First stop was David Thompson’s renowned Long Chim, situated in the State Building on the corner of St Georges Terrace and Barrack Street.
Bondy lived on Phuket for 10 years so it’s safe to say she knows her Thai food.
Visiting her there years ago turned into a three-week moving feast, a revelation.
So much has changed since since then, as Thai seems to have become our national cuisine.
We started our evening with a drink on the deck of Wildflower, the feather in the cap of the magnificent State Building, taking in the sweeping views of our city and river. A great start to the evening.
We kept getting lost in the labyrinthine building but fortunately there seemed to be no shortage of tall, dark, handsome men in expensive looking suits ready to show us the way.
Long Chim is crowded with young, hipster folks enjoying animated conversation.
The room was awash with bearded blokes and women with false eyelashes.
Thai food is usually beautifully presented, but Long Chim takes it to another level.
Our tiny table was a bit of a concern, but by the time our mains had arrived the folks at the next table had gone and the waiter joined it with ours.
As far as comfort, prompt service and arrival of food, they had it covered. Very gracious, very Thai. So, what did we eat? Not a huge choice of entrees so we ordered the vegetarian spring rolls ($14).
They were suitably crisp with a delicious moist filling. We would have tried the prawns but we were helpfully informed they were small prawns.
We even had a senior moment when we asked where our prawn entrée was and had to be reminded (so sweetly) that we hadn’t ordered one.
We went to town on mains, starting with the beautifully displayed half roast duck with choy sum, pickled ginger and Tanongsak’s excellent sauce ($45).
Tanongsak is Thompson’s life and business partner. His sauce was excellent and the duck was sensational: tender, served on a bed of crunchy choy sum. A delight to the eye and the palate; a meal in itself. We also ordered the deep fried-fish with three-flavoured sauce ($40).
I’m not going to say I recognised three flavours in the sauce but I did enjoy its intensity – we’re sure we got tamarind.
But here our opinions diverged slightly. We were expecting a whole fish as experienced in Thailand but Long Chim had cut it into large pieces individually fried.
Probably just as well as their dim lighting might not have leant itself to dissecting a whole fish. Bondy was not as happy about this.
The fish was perfectly cooked though – crunchy on the outside, encasing tender sweet flesh and another complex but restrained sauce.
We could probably have done without a separate vegetable dish but we couldn’t resist the Siamese watercress (S14). It grows so prolifically in Thailand and provides just the right crunch. We were glad we did.
You’d be right in wondering where we put all this food – in a cheerfully provided doggie bag of course.
We just couldn’t leave without sharing a dessert. I’m a sucker for anything pandan flavoured
(pandan pudding $16) but Bondy was keen to try the banana roti ($18) – an old favourite of hers.
These are made with ladies finger bananas in Thailand, but we were served Cavendish bananas.
When Bondy commented on this to our waiter, we were told they’re not easy to get here. I did smile to myself seeing them at my local IGA the next day.
by FELICITY NEWMAN
Corner St Georges Terrace and Barrack Street