By Sarah Crago
One of Sydney and Melbourne’s favourite Asian-fusion restaurants, Longrain, opened its first overseas venture in Tokyo this August. Located in the newly refurbished Yebisu Garden Place Tower, the restaurant occupies the 39th floor and offers stunning views of Tokyo’s skyline from Shibuya right out to the bay.
The spacious interior is the work of Sydney architect Luchetti Krelle: bold brass lights overhang the marble bar with moss green bar stools, making for an inviting space to enjoy a cocktail or two. The pick of the seating is flush against the floor-to-ceiling windows which run the length of the room and take in the amazing vistas.
The food at Longrain covers four essential flavour profiles: hot, sour, salty and sweet. Each dish seeks a delicate balance between these elements and transports you to the vibrant streets of Bangkok or a beach lounger in Ko Samui. It's all designed for sharing, so the more friends you can gather the better.
Signature dishes include an appetiser called Miang Kham, topped with prawn, peanut, watermelon and mint – a perfect mouthful of Thai flavours to prepare your palate for what’s to come. The filled eggnet is not only visually pleasing but an aromatic flavour bomb too, packed with fresh herbs, chilli, lime, pork, prawns and peanuts. It’s got all the flavour and textural bases covered.
It's also hard to go past the green curry of prawns, eggplant and basil. A creamy coconut curry with the beautiful aromatics of basil and kaffir lime, it has just enough chilli to warm you and a perfect balance of fresh lime and salty nam pla (Thai fish sauce). Heaped on top of fragrant jasmine rice to soak up the curry sauce, it’s 100 percent comfort food.
Longrain is known for its cocktails which are the perfect accompaniment to all that fire. With nine to choose from, making your way through the list is a good excuse for repeat visits. Start from the top with the Ping-Pong – vodka, fresh lychee, passionfruit and lime equal dangerously good.
Owner Sam Christie and executive chef Griff Pamment are well aware of the challenge involved in bringing these bold new flavours to the Japanese palate. When asked if they have altered the dishes at all to suit a milder taste preference, both suggested that doing so would be disingenuous.
‘The heat, the intense fresh flavours, the salty sweet balance is what makes each dish so special, we would never want to compromise that,’ says Pemment. ‘It’s those flavours that diners expect, it’s what they crave and what keeps them coming back.’