If a long queue is the sign of a great restaurant, then Longtime was going to be phenomenal! Tucked away in a little alleyway off of Ann Street, Longtime could easily be missed. But thankfully due to that ever increasing line of hungry diners, we knew we were at the right place.
Online bookings are only available up until 6:30pm, and as we preferred to eat later, had little choice but to join the queue. Surprisingly the line moved pretty fast, and as luck would have it, there was a “no show” table for two available. Once inside you really need a moment to take it all in. From the exposed brick walls to the plantation shutters and long communal tables, it’s this degree of attention to detail that adds to the authenticity of the place.
Warmly greeted by our server Maggie, she proceeds to pour us water as she offers us something stronger. I’ve read that Longtime’s wine list is designed for food pairing and is based on the three Rs – rosé, rhone and riesling. I choose a delightful riesling from the Clare Valley, while David decides the Horny Elephant Ale is more his thing. Interesting fact – that 10 per cent of the sale price of the Ale goes towards rehabilitation and conservation of elephants in Asia.
The open kitchen provides both excitement and entertainment as the chefs ,with their sizzling woks ablaze, perform magic right in front of our eyes. And what an impressive line up of stars! The kitchen is headed up by Ben Betai, former chef at Longrain Melbourne and Head Chef at Spirit House, Yandina. Longtime also boasts kitchen staff who have worked under Michelin-starred chefs an cooked for both the British and Thai royal families. Quite a reputation to live up to!
The contemporary Thai menu is designed for sharing and Maggie is on hand with recommendations. I’m torn between the soft shell crab bao and puffed rice crisp of salmon, and this is only entree! The latter is the is the winner on this occasion and doesn’t disappoint. The different textures work well together and although bite-sized, they are packed full of flavour.
With Longtime’s bar snacks/entrees starting at $5 you could easily sample a few delicacies such as betal leaf of papaya, mandarines, peppercorns and tamarind. Or the Hervey Bay scallops with satay, pickled cucumber and chilli shallots.
We order another drink and Maggie is back with helpful suggestions for our mains. I’m craving a pad see ew and ask about Longtime’s version. I’m told the dish is made with Korean rice cake noodles instead of the traditional flat style noodles that i’m used to. Intrigued, I have to try them for myself. We also choose the red curry of Angus Beef cheek ($34),and are told we have made the right choice. We are also informed that the dish is spicy, but if we need extra coconut cream we need only ask.
The red curry arrives first and while delicious, am grateful for Maggie’s offer of extra coconut cream. It has a great balance of flavours and while a bit on the pricey side, I’m grateful for every tender mouthful. I’m told that the secret to this incredible tenderness lies in the beef cheeks being lovingly cooked overnight for 15 hours. They are accompanied by crispy shallots, lime leaf with sweet potato and pork dumplings. It’s a fragrant and well balanced dish and the fluffy steamed rice is a great addition.
The pad see ew ($21) features crispy pork belly, choy sum, pickled chilli and crispy garlic. The flavours work well, and I can’t get enough of that mustardy choy sum. Although still fond of the traditional pad see ew, I rather like this version with its Korean rice cake noodles, which incidentally are totally moreish.
We forgo on desserts, but not before taking a sneak peek for next time. I’ve already made a mental note of the chilli chocolate tart with coconut snow, chocolate soil, caramelised chocolate mousse and passionfruit($17). I mean how good does that sound!!! A great excuse for a return visit!
We leave happy and head back to reality via the alleyway portal where a new line has emerged. This line considerably longer than the last. Glad we chose to eat early and yes a true indication of a great restaurant!
610 Ann Street
Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
Tel : (07) 3160 3123