From the archives: This post is from our original site, MyCityLife back on 19 November 2014
For a visual foodie journey into the heat and depths of LONgTIME, check the Snapshot gallery of Asian awesomeness here.
Brisbane’s Asian heritage flows in and out of our town easily, leaving indelible signatures all over Brisbane, from China Town through to Sunnybank, Inala and beyond. Inner-city dwellers have often felt envious of the authentic Chinese eateries lying to the South where the beauty of Szechwan cuisine to genuine Bahn mi doesn’t seem to quite reach the CBD. With the arrival of LONgTIME to The Valley, however, our experiences with late-night Thai dining has just been shaken up.
Showcasing the strengths of dynamic duo Executive Chef Ben Bertei with sidekick Nathan Lastevec, LONgTIME is an epiphany to the palate. Using their substantial knife and culinary skills gained through their days working for 3 Michelin-starred chefs, a variety of techniques are on display in the open LONgTIME kitchen from Sous-Vide through to Australian Fusion and Thai. Trekking just down the road from esteemed Spirit House in Yandina, Ben and Nathan’s teamwork is clear from the moment the Thai aluminium water bowls are lifted to the lips. There’s a calmness to the kitchen, in spite of the thrill and dynamics with this interactive experience. The flare of the flame and click of pots and pans clicking against each other are louder than the orders and banter passed back and forth between the staff. But there’s a clear sense of control under Ben’s authority, as everything is superbly dished up – on gorgeous signature glass and tableware too – from that fairly limited space.
Bar snacks of betel leaf with toasted coconut and mango salad or soft shell crab bao with apple slaw prove taste sensations, as the freshness of the betel leaf teamed with the coconut and mango refresh the palate – all the more stimulated with a Bangkobbler cocktail. It’s much like a san choi bao, with more texture and flavour and less oils. The softness of the bao paired with the crush of the soft shell crab results in a satisfying crunch, the apple slaw also a fresh stroke on the tastebuds.
But it is the smoked rice noodle nachos with coconut cheese sauce that emerges as a true foodie revelation. The creamy cheese matched to the pasta-like texture of the rice noodles leave lasting taste impressions long beyond the dish has been efficiently eaten. This is definitely a dish to return to for seconds, if not thirds, fourths and maybe tenths.
The pomelo salad with caramelised prawns, coconut, fried shallots, lime and chilli jam moves from refreshing and comforting the palate to genuine Thai flavours, where the cluster of ingredients might be expected to come together as a textural mixture of blah. But everything is beautifully balanced, so the tastebuds are taken on a lone journey from sweetness through to a subtle heat all within one mouthful; the pleasing resilience of well-cooked fresh produce a flavoursome delight. Alternating between the red curry of shredded bbq duck with lychee and Thai basil and the coconut and turmeric curry of Moreton bay bug, Asian celery and kaffir lime means this Thai journey continues to heat up. The shredded duck is rich in taste, the lychee and Thai basil balancing the full-bodied flavours marvellously, while the Moreton bay bug is a luxurious sensation lightly complemented by the lime and celery components.
Super wild steamed rice with coriander, white pepper and garlic with smoked chicken is served up alongside slow-cooked rib fillet, char-grilled and served with roasted chilli and lime sauce. This sets the palate onto yet another taste exploration where the rib fillet melts in the mouth as a beautiful steak dish. All the while, the chilli and lime leave a gift of muted heat long after the fillet has been delightedly chewed into oblivion. The spicy green papaya salad with snake beans and Noosa red tomatoes proves to be too much for this non-chilli tested palate, though the head waiter’s amusing encouragement of simply eating more to forget the heat is met with some doubt.
The chilli is happily forgotten after the serve of sweetened sticky rice with fresh mango nigiri, coconut ice cream and sesame brittle. Sticky rice makes everything better, and the visual enchantment of this dessert makes it all the more so.
It’s an exciting time in the Australian culinary journey. When Australia is trumping the rest of the world in the world of whisky, champagne and quality of produce, our chefs are also pushing the mark in terms of innovation too. This no doubt comes as a result of our multicultural heritage where Greek, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Scandinavian, German and so many more cultures form the melting pot that is us. And with LONgTIME, this Thai journey is a pleasing sensation – nourishing to our tastes, eyes, body, mind and soul.
610 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
07 3160 3123